Art Collections

Many museums have African art objects in their collections and have exhibited African art. One recent example is the Kongo: Power and Majesty exhibit at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Exhibition catalogs can be found at the Library or requested from another library via interlibrary loan.
The collections listed here generally include high-quality and, in some cases, high-definition digital images for educational use.

Africa Museum (Tervuren, Belgium)
Formerly known as the Royal Museum of the Belgian Congo, the museum houses a large collection of ethnographic, botanical, and zoological specimens alongside a smaller number of art objects. Digitized objects can be viewed in 3D format. Accompanying records list materials, place of origin, previous owners, and dimensions.

Artstor (ITHAKA)  Tutorial  Access Instructions
Provides access to a large library of high-resolution digital images from museums and archives. The multi-disciplinary collection includes digital copies of fashion plates, cartoons, posters, post cards, book illustrations, botanical and wildlife illustrations, technical illustrations, museum objects, and photo journalism, besides the expected artwork.

Arts & Culture (Google)
Features online access to the world’s art and culture in collaboration with cultural institutions and artist from around the world. Explores individual artists, art movements, and much more.

British Museum
Founded in 1753 as a free, national, public museum for all fields of human knowledge. It houses art objects from all corners of the former British empire. Many objects have been looted or are of obscure provenance. Selected objects have been digitized. Each digital object is accompanied by a record that describes its purpose, provenance, materials, and dimensions.

Fowler Museum at UCLA (Los Angeles)
Presents art, ethnographic, and archaeological objects from Africa, Native and Latin America, Asia, and the Pacific. Selected objects can be viewed online. Each digital representation comes with a record that describes provenance, material, place of origin, and dimensions.

Getty Open Content Program
Features over 100,000 digital images from the J. Paul Getty Museum and the Getty Research Institute.

Metropolitan Museum of Art (The Met)
Digital reproductions of many artworks in the Met’s collections are open access and free to download. The provenance and bibliographic information accompanying a work offer valuable starting points for further research about art objects and artists.

Musée du Quai Branly - Jacques Chirac (Paris)
Features art from Africa, the Near East, Asia, Oceania, and the Americas from all time periods. The collections include objects, graphic art, sculptures, paintings, textiles, photos, film, and audio recordings. It unites the collections of the former Musée de l’Homme (Museum of Mankind) and the Musée National des Art d’Afrique et d’Océanie (National Museum of African and Oceanian Art).

Museum Rietberg (Zürich, Switzerland)
Features Asian, African, American, and Oceanian art. Digital replicas of art objects are mostly limited to objects from previous and current exhibits. Selected objects from the museum’s exhibits are part of the exhibition archive. For more images and critical assessment request the museum's exhibition catalogs through interlibrary loan. Start with WorldCat and search for “Rietberg Museum” as author. Use additional keywords as appropriate.

National Museum of African Art (Smithsonian, Washington, D.C.)
Features modern and contemporary artworks from sub-Saharan Africa alongside traditional art. Stroll through the online exhibits or browse the digital collections. Digital replicas of art objects are accompanied by detailed records including artist, medium, provenance, and dimensions.

University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology (Penn Museum)
Selected objects can be viewed online. Object descriptions include detailed descriptions and a bibliography of relevant literature.

Background Research

Companion to Modern African Art
Offers "perspectives on African modern and Modernist art from the mid-nineteenth century to the present (...) features essays by African, European, and North American authors who assess the work of individual artists as well as exploring broader themes such as discoveries of new technologies and globalization."

Routledge Encyclopedia of Modernism  Tutorial
Offers global interdisciplinary coverage of Modernism, which was an art movement of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Covers visual arts, architecture, film, literature, dance, theater, music, and intellectual history of the movement.

WikiArt: A Visual Art Encyclopedia
Features artworks by 3,000 artists grouped by movement, school, genre, medium, time period, nationality, and more. Includes related Wikipedia articles.

Oxford Bibliographies (Oxford University Press)  Tutorial
Presents peer-reviewed, annotated bibliographies and expert commentary on current scholarship in selected disciplines.

Scholarly Analysis and Criticism

Much of the scholarly literature in the field is published in books which are often referred to as monographs. Find books in the Library’s collection with a Books & Media search. For a more comprehensive review of the literature consult WorldCat and use the integrated Borrow from other libraries feature to request books which are not locally available.
The Library subscribes to a wide range of academic journals including African Arts and NKA Journal of Contemporary African Art. Use the Journal & Article Finder or the Articles & more search options on the Library’s website to look up known references. Request articles from journals that are not part of the Library's collections through interlibrary loan. The journal databases listed below index the contents of most relevant journals and are first-class discovery tools.

Books & Media
Keyword and subject searches in the Library's catalog are good starting points when first exploring a topic. Search results can be narrowed with facets such as topic, era, language or region. Facets are located on the right hand side of the results screen.

WorldCat (FirstSearch)
Presents a combined catalog of the catalogs of more than 10,000 libraries worldwide. WorldCat highlights publications available at Villanova University. Other items can be requested via an inter-library loan request form.

Provides a full text archive of academic journals and books in the humanities, social sciences, and mathematics. The most recent three to five years of a journal are usually not included.

Articles & More Search
This page enables you to search millions of full text articles and other electronic resources available through the Falvey Library. While it doesn't provide access to everything the library has to offer, it is an excellent starting point for your searches.

Art Full Text (EBSCO)
Indexes the contents of academic journals and magazines in the fields of fine and decorative arts, architecture, and photography. Includes citations for dissertations, book reviews, and art reproductions published in indexed journals. Abstracts are available back to 1984 with selective full text available back to 1995.

African Arts
Journal published by the James S. Coleman African Studies Center at UCLA.

NKA Journal of Contemporary African Art
Journal published by Duke University Press.