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FLEET LIBRARY | Research Guides

Rhode Island School of Design

Object Research

A guide to researching art and design objects, utilizing museum and library resources

It’s a good idea to start your research with broad topics, rather than looking only for object-specific information. Think about the maker, culture, geographic origin, time period, materials, techniques, and provenance. Look for books, articles, databases, or online resources on these topics.

A catalogue raisonné is a comprehensive, annotated listing of all the known works of an artist either in a particular medium or all media. When searching for an artist's catalogue raisonne in RISD/ATH or Brown's online catalogs, use the artist's name along with keywords like raisonne, oeuvre or complet* (truncate complet* to search in multiple languages = complete works, obra completa, opera completa, oeuvre complete) to locate comprehensive treatments of an artist's creative work. Search beyond RISD/ATH/Brown using worldcat or artlibraries to determine if a catalogue raisonne has been published.

example: matisse raisonne (RISD)

matisse raisonne (Brown)

matisse raisonne (worldcat)

Catalogues raisonné may be housed in Special Collections on the library's 2nd floor. A digital scan from catalogues raisonné may be possible, depending upon the condition of the catalogue. Scanning is done by Special Collections staff. The first floor of the library has a public face-up book scanner located in the copy/scan room

Other sources related to specific artists might include contemporary artists’ personal and gallery websites, journal articles, and catalogues from exhibitions at other museums. 

Article Databases

Art & Architecture Source

Design & Applied Arts Index


Project Muse