Bibliophile’s Book Find: Art – Live It, Love It, Learn It

Hello again FSC community and beyond! This week’s Bibliophile’s Book Find is dedicated to two art encyclopedias suggested by our Reference Librarian extraordinaire, Marion Slack.

The first encyclopedia is actually named The Dictionary of Art , also known as the “Grove Dictionary of Art”, published by Grove (New York) in 1996 and edited by Jane Turner. The 34 volumes of this encyclopedia offer basic information on a wide variety of topics relating to the visual arts, including fine art, decorative art, performance art and more. Descriptions and the history of various art forms as well as biographies of famous artists are some of the types of information you can find in this resource. Some entries are as short as a few sentences, while others are one hundred pages or more. A key feature of the “Grove Dictionary of Art” is that the topics and biographies are not merely limited to those of the United States and European countries. The Grove Dictionary of Art also includes artists and topics from throughout the world. For example, in volume 1, the entry on “Africa” is over 200 pages long, and includes subtopics such as, “History”, “Commercial production”, “Imagery”, “Materials”, “Art forms” and much more. Each entry includes the name of the author who wrote it, as well as a bibliography of sources that can be used for further research. There are photographs, images, and maps included under many topics to expand and elaborate the textual information presented in the encyclopedia. Interested in the art of Afghanistan? See volume 1, page 185. Need an authoritative bibliography to do further research on the history of knitting? You’ll find such a bibliography in volume 18, page 158. The Grove Dictionary of Art is located in the Reference Room at REF N31 .D5 1996.

The next encyclopedia is the Dictionary of Artists, also known as the “Benezit Dictionary of Artists”, published in 2006 by Gründ (Paris). This 14 volume dictionary offers often short biographies of the lives of painters, sculptors, designers and engravers. An exciting feature about this dictionary is that it offers a wide coverage of artists, those who are both well-known and those who are more obscure. Each entry includes the artist’s nationality, the type of art that the artist created, and a short description of the artist’s life. Many entries also include information on museums and galleries where the works of the artist are on display, auction records of the artist’s work, and a bibliography of books written about the artist that can be used for further research. Some entries also include graphics of the artist’s signature, monogram or stamp of sale as well. Are you interested in seeing various forms of Pablo Picasso’s signature? Check out volume 10, pages 1363-1364. Who on earth was Johann Nepomuk Nusbiegel? You can find out in volume 10, page 477. The “Benezit Dictionary of Artists” can be found in the Reference Room at Ref N40 .D5213 2006.

The Reference Room is located in room 118 on the first floor of the Whittemore Library. If you have any questions about this or any other resource, contact a Reference Librarian in person, by phone at 508-626-4654, by email at or IM at fscrefdesk. If you would like to suggest a treasure in the library’s Reference Room, please email me at


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