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Modern Art (N. America & W. Europe): Overviews

Overviews / Encyclopedias

Fact Checking

Specialized encyclopedias

There are many specialized encyclopedias and dictionaries covering specific aspects of modern art.  Some are stand-alone publications while others are briefer and found in monographs or catalogs.  Use the following search strategy to quickly check for any related to your topic: [your keyword] and (encyclopedia* or dictionar*).  

For example:     keyword = surrealis* and (encyclopedia* or dictionar*)

Generate additional keywords by browsing Related Subjects under subject headings like Art Modern 20th century.   Subjects headings are controlled vocabulary and used consistently throughout many databases including OBIS.  Once identified they can be recombined for customized results.   

OBIS Subjects

Broad subject headings

Art, Modern
Modernism (Art)
Art, Modern -- 20th century
[or 21st century]

Specific movements, styles, genre:
Impressionism (Art)
Neo-impressionism (Art)

Additional subjects for 49 movements, styles and concepts related to modern art

Librarian / Research Help

Photograph of Barbara Prior, the Art Librarian

Barb Prior (she/her)  Head, Clarence Ward Art Library
Top Floor, Venturi Art Building
Email us at

Supports classes across the College and Conservatory and those using the Allen Memorial Art Museum

Subject expert for: 
Art & architecture of East Asia, Africa, Latin America, Islam, the Ancient Mediterranean, the Western Middle Ages, the Renaissance & Baroque periods, and Global Art of the 20th c & 21st c.
Complete list of Barb's Research Guides

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