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Art: Books

This guide provides search tips and information on finding topics such as art, art history, technique, illustration, and more. Learn about where you can look for recommended materials within and outside of the library.

Finding Books and E-Books

Books are great resources for overviews on a topic, step-by-step instruction for developing your technique, biographies of artists or detailed histories of a style. You can find great books and e-books by searching the library catalogue, the various e-book databases listed below, or taking a look at the recommended titles highlighted on this page.

Search Seneca Libraries

Search Seneca Libraries

Add topic keywords into the search box and press enter.

Try out some of these searches below!

Art history

Art, appreciation

Drawing technique

Art movements

Advanced Search

  • Looking for a specific resource or have a suggestion? Submit a recommendation for library purchase using this form.
  • For additional support book a one-on-one Research Appointment

Recently Acquired E-Books

Library Books on Artworks

Finding Books in the Library

Finding Books on Artists

Using the library's search box, try a search with your artist's name and the word biography. For example, the search 'Paul Klee biography' is demonstrated in the image below:


Your results will be a multitude of formats, ebooks, print books, journal articles, book reviews, etc. Your most useful results should be at the top of the page. And you can use the filters to get more specific.

book results from library catalogue

If you only want print books, you'll need to set a limit. Select 'Available in the Library' under the 'Refine Your Results' to filter for print books. You may also limit to specific Content or Material type and select 'Reviews' or 'Newspaper articles' if you are looking for commentary on your artists works.

Library catalog filters

Finding Books About Artworks

Try first locating your artwork using the library search with your artist's last name and the name of the work. If you only want books you will need to add the 'Books' limit as well.

limit to books

E.g. the search below is an attempt to locate information about Tom Thomson's painting The West Wind. The keywords are his last name, Thomson, and "west wind" with quotes around it so the two words stay together.

library search results for Thomson "west wind"

Few books are written entirely about artworks, so you will have more luck seeking out books that feature your artist. When you do locate a book, typically only the best known works of an artist are featured. Be prepared to do additional searching for your artwork in the index of other books on the shelf.

Library Books on Art History

E-Book Databases

Search through the recommended e-book databases below for titles on various topics and research areas, including art, history, and leisure.

Library Books on Artists

Art Reference Databases

Why Encyclopedias and Reference Material?

Reference refers to brief, factual information that can be used as a quick lookup; e.g. encyclopedias, dictionaries, and the like. These types of materials are best used as a starting point. Encyclopedia entries are often longer than most dictionary entries and may provide more in depth information about a person's life and work.

Try the sources below to help you locate reference materials relating to artworks. Some article databases house encyclopedia and other reference works as well. If you don't find what you need here, other databases may still yield results.

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