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Finding out about your work of art: A bibliography of sources in the Clark library: Europe

Rembrandt van Rijn, Self-portrait

Charles Errard the Younger, after Rembrandt Harmensz, van Rijn. Self-portrait Leaning on a Stone Sill, 1616-1689. Etching on laid paper.  Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute, Dept. of Prints, Drawings and Photographs.


Edvard Munch, Self-portrait

Edvard Munch. Self Portrait, 1895.  Lithograph on paper.  Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute, Dept. of Prints, Drawings, and Photographs.

August Renoir, Self Portrait

August Renoir.  Self Portrait, ca 1897.  Oil on canvas.  Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute.

Biographical information on European artists


Hartmann, Sys, editor.  Weilbach: Dansk Kunstnerleksikon.    Copenhagen:  Munksgaard, 1994–2000.

Standard biographical dictionary of Danish artists covers painters, sculptors, graphic artists, architects, decorative artists, and artists working in contemporary genres.  Entries include schooling, prizes and grants won, travels, teaching experience, works in collections, bibliographies.  Important figures get long articles.  Volume 9 includes supplement of additional artist entries and a geographical index of architects.

Reference  N7011 A1 W4 1994



Bellier de La Chavignerie, Emile, and Louis Auvray.  Dictionnaire Général des Artistes de l’École Française Depuis l’Origine des Arts du Dessin Jusqu’à nos Jours.  Architectes, peintres, sculpteurs, graveurs et lithographes.    New York:  Garland, 1979.

Facsimile reprint of the original 1882-1887 edition published by Renouard, Paris.  Includes all artists whose work, given to a jury, were admitted three times to the Salon.  Lists pictures and tells in which Salons they were exhibited.  In many cases subsequent sales are listed.  Basic source for research in French art from 1673 to 1882; especially valuable for tracing the provenance of individual works of art.  Entries include basic biographical information: dates of birth and death, schooling, prizes won.

Reference  N6841 A1 B4 Repr.  (5 volumes)


Dugnat, Gaïte, and Pierre Sanchez.  Dictionnaire des Graveurs, Illustrateurs et Affichistes Français et Etrangers (1673–1950).    Dijon:  L’Echelle de Jacob, 2001.

Dictionary of French and foreign artists who exhibited work in painting, sculpture, architecture, and the decorative arts in French salons from 1673 to 1950.  Preface includes a list of the salons and the years they held exhibitions.  Each entry includes the artist’s name, date and place of birth and death (where known), people with whom the artist studied, and a chronological list of works exhibited, giving for each work the title and medium, the salon, and the entry number in the exhibition catalogue.  Can function as a kind of index to the exhibition catalogues, many of which may be found in our library stacks.

Reference  N6841 A1 D84  (4 volumes)



Allgemeine Deutsche Biographie.  Leipzig:  Duncker, 1875–1912.

Outstanding German biographical dictionary.  Long, signed articles with lengthy bibliographies on persons from early times to the end of the 19th century.  Supplementary sections make it necessary in some cases to use the index to search the whole record.  See also the Neue Deutsche Biographie (below).

Reference  N55 G4 A4  (56 volumes)


Neue Deutsche Biographie.  Berlin:  Duncker and Humblot, 1953–82.

Not intended to supercede the Allgemeine Deutsche Bibliographie, but many articles are for the same persons or for persons who have died since the original work was published.  Signed articles with bibliographies.  References to portraits sometimes noted.  Index in each volume covers all parts of the alphabet covered therein and include references to the ADB, calling attention to articles omitted from the newer work.  In progress; currently up to the letter R.

Reference  N55 G4 N4  (21 volumes; in progress)



Dizionario Enciclopedia Bolaffi dei Pittori e degli Incisori Italiani: dall’XI al XX secolo.  Torino:  Bolaffi, 1972–76.

Biographical dictionary of Italian painters and engravers from the 11th through the 20th centuries.  Brief articles include basic biographical information and career overview, bibliographical references, and in some cases a reproduction of the artist’s signature.  Well illustrated with black-and-white photographs and color plates of works.

Reference  N6911 A1 D58  (10 volumes)



Scheen, Pieter A.   Lexicon Nederlandse Beeldende Kunstenaars 1750–1950.   Gravenhage:  Kunsthandel Pieter A. Scheen, 1969–70.

Authoritative dictionary of Dutch artists born after 1750 and before 1950.  Supplements Wurzbach (see below).  Includes painters, sculptors, draftsmen, engravers, potters, furniture makers, etc.  Entries include places and dates of birth and death, brief career overview; longer articles include education, exhibitions, locations of works, and bibliographical references.  Excellent illustrations.

Reference  N6941 A1 S3  (2 volumes)


Wurzbach, Alfred von.  Niederländisches Künstler Lexikon, auf Grund Archivalischer Forschungen.    Amsterdam:  B. M. Israel, 1963 (reprint).

Standard dictionary of Dutch and Flemish artists, published 1906–11.  Contains biographical information, lists of important works, and bibliographies, with many facsimiles of signatures.  Volume 3 is a supplement and includes anonymous masters and monogrammists.  Somewhat antiquated; see also Scheen (above).

Reference  N6931 A1 W9 Repr.  (3 volumes)



Spanish Artists from the Fourth to the Twentieth Century: A Critical Dictionary.  Frick Art Reference Library.  New York:  G. K. Hall, 1993.

More a bibliography than a biographical dictionary, with data drawn from the Frick’s Authority File of Artists.  Alphabetical and a chronological list of painters, sculptors, and draftsmen; some architects, printmakers, and applied artists.  Each entry includes authority name, alternate names, dates of birth and death or documented activity, national school, fields of artistic endeavor, clarifying notes, and abbreviated bibliographic citations; full citations are provided in bibliographies in volumes 1,2, and 4.

Reference  N7101 F78 



Svenskt Konstnarslexikon.  Malmo:  Allhem, 1952–67.

Biographical information on living and deceased Swedish artists, native-born and foreign artists who worked in Sweden, and artists who worked outside the country but with commissions from Sweden.  Most articles are signed and include bibliographies.  Lavishly illustrated; many portraits.  Corrections and supplement at end of volume 5.

Reference  N7081 A1 S9  (5 vols.)