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Art History: Art Monographs

El Greco
Madonna and Child
oil on canvas
c. 1590

All ideas are art if they are concerned with art and fall within the conventions of art --  Sol LeWitt


With well over 100,000 items in the collection, it is impossible to highlight specific titles of interest. The library has particular strengths in 19th century art & architecture, including French painting; early modern Europe; fashion, and photography. However, there are distinct types of works that deserve mention, special collections of note, and tips for maximizing your search results.

Monograph Searching

A search for print tiles begins with NUSearch. You can search by title, author, or keyword, or by any combination using the advanced search feature. Results can be focused by using limiters found on the left of the results screen, e.g. format, year, or location.

  • When searching by keywords, it helps to use a controlled vocabulary that matches the subject terms assigned to item records. Like most libraries, Northwestern uses subject headings established by the Library of Congress, commonly known as LCSH (Library of Congress Subject Headings) These are standardized terms that describe particular subjects, and help ensure that search results accurately reflect a user's intention. If you have any doubt as to how to phrase your search terms, the LC Authorities file can be consulted for the definitive answer. The authorities file can also provided officially recognized spellings of names and locations. This is fully implemented when using. . .
  • . . .the Browse Feature
    At the very top of the library's Advanced Search page is one of the catalog's least-known features, the Browse option. Each book in the catalog has several subject terms assigned to it, which help delineate that book's coverage. Using the Browse option lets you search the catalog by those subject terms, using different controlled vocabularies. This allows you, in effect, to search by what a book is actually about, rather than hoping to find that term in a general search result.  The advantage is focus: Browse results are books associated specifically with those subject terms, while the same basic search from the library home page will simply return every result with those terms in it, requiring you to weed out extraneous items. You'll still have to consider your Browse results carefully, but it will be much, much easier.
  • Monograph titles are located in the Eloise W. Martin Reading Room and the Architecture Reading Room. Please refer to the section Locating Titles in the Art Library for full details.

The texts, journals, and other sources listed on the following pages should not be thought of as comprehensive; it would be impossible to list all of the library's relevant resources on this or any topic. Rather, they should be considered as examples of scholarship that can help you find your own way and guide your own research.

Monographic Series

Broadly speaking, monographic series are multi-volume series of books on a single topic.  Soem with a more specific topic may  have one title with volume numbers.  These are represented in the library catalog by a single record for the title showing all volumes.  Others, usually on a broad topic are infinite in length, and each volume has its own more specific Studies in Medieval and early Renaissance art history from Harvey Miller publishers.  Each title in this series is cataloged individually, and most, though not all records, include the series title as well.

Catalogues Raisonné

These are usually multi-volume sets that chronicle the entire output of an artist's career. Extensively researched, they are often considered definitive pieces of scholarship. While not every artist merits a catalogue raisonné, the library has examples for most major Western artists. Catalogues Raisonnés are also often broaken down by media, for instance "the comeplete paintings" or "the complete drawings."  To find catalogues raisonné, search "catalogues raisonne" AND the artists name as a keyword search.  Catalogues raisonné do not circulate.

  • Artifex Press is a publisher of online catalogues raisonnes of late 20th century and contemporary artists.  Each catalogue raisonne has an individual record our library catalog, but you can find all the Artifex publications at this site, provided your internet connection is through NU>
  • IFAR Catalogues Raisonnés is a database of both published and in progress catalogues raisonnes.

Charles Deering Library of Special Collections and University Archives

Melville J. Herskovits Library of African Studies


Please visit each collection's page for more information