ART 1003: Two Dimensional Foundations

Resources for background information on artists and movements.

Recorded Library Session: Finding Background Information for Art Projects

This video demonstrates how to use the various resources listed on this guide to find background information on art movements, artists, and their works for art projects you may be working on. Click "Watch in Panopto" for the best video quality.


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Shari Salisbury
UTSA Libraries
One UTSA Circle
San Antonio, TX 78249

Finding Background Information About Artists and Art Movements / Styles / Periods

Background information can provide:

  • A definition of specific terminology
  • An overview of a topic (the important who's, what's, when's, etc.)
  • An introduction to key issues
  • Biographical information
  • A list or link to additional authoritative resources 

Background information can be found in print or online encyclopedias, textbooks, biographical dictionaries or directories, and basic introductory texts.

Key Resources

Find Books on Your Topic

Sample Searches for Library Quick Search

The name of a movement. If the name is two or more words, put it in quotes:
"digital art"

The name of an artist in quotes:
"lee krasner"

The name of a work of art. It is better to look under the name of the artist, unless the work is extremely well known like:
"mona lisa"

Search by the name of a reputable book series and/or publisher. Here are some we recommend:
"world of art" "thames and hudson"
"movements in modern art" cambridge
"movements in modern art" tate
"oxford history of art"
"themes and movements" phaidon

Art Survey Books

Contemporary Artists

To find authoritative and credible information about contemporary artists, visit:

  • The artist's personal website 
  • The website for the galleries that represent them
  • The museum websites that own some of their work.