Skip to Main Content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.

ARH 380 Kulpa: Primary Sources

Course guide to support student research projects for ARH 380

Primary Sources - Art History

About Primary Sources

  • Primary sources are first-hand information
  • They are sources as close as possible to the information you are studying

Examples of Primary Sources

  • A work of art, itself, is a primary source
  • Items written by the artist, such as journals, a diary, an autobiography and letters  
  • Government documents
  • Memoirs
  • Oral histories
  • Newspaper or magazine articles, written by someone who attended an opening, exhibition or talk by the artist are primary sources

Finding Primary Sources

  • In the library catalog, try an author search for the artist - Ex: Jenny Holzer - 
  • NY Times Historical Database - New York Times, Historical  Tip: Try filtering by Document type - Review in the facets on the left margin
  • Other newspapers
  • Artist's web presence
  • Alma mater archives
  • Clues/Bibliographies in Encyclopedia articles 
  • Web search - artist's name +archives +sources 
  • Interviews can be primary sources if they have not been edited.