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Art: Catalogue Raisonnés


What is a catalogue raisonné?

A catalogue raisonné is a scholarly compilation of an artist's body of work which will include annotated listings of all known artworks by an artist, or all works they have created in a particular media (i.e, prints or photographs). They are essential research tools for provenance and attribution of artwork and are thoroughly comprehensive and can take years to publish. In addition to the complete list of works, the catalogue may include the following information about the works listed:

  • Title and title variations
  • Dimension size
  • Date of the work
  • Medium
  • Current owner/location at the time pf publication
  • Exhibition history of the work
  • Provenance (ownership history)
  • Condition of the work
  • Bibliography/literature that discusses the work
  • Essays on the artist
  • Critical assessments and remarks
  • Full description of the work
  • Signatures, inscriptions, and monograms of the artist
  • Reproduction of each work
  • List of works attributed, lost, destroyed and fakes

Information Source: New York Public Library


Organizations & Helpful Resources

Other Terms to consider:

Other terms that may be used in place of catalogue raisonné are:

  • Oeuvre
  • Catalogo Razonado
  • Catalogo Ragionato
  • Catalogo Generale
  • Opera Completa
  • Werkverzeichnis
  • Leben und Werk
  • Oeuvrekatalog
  • Complete Works
  • Critical Catalogue
  • Life and Work

How can I search for catalogue raisonnés?


1. Start by searching the artist's name as a keyword AND catalogues raisonnés in the Subject field in the advanced search using Library Search (limit results to the Library Catalog). For example: 

If the library has a raisonné on the artist, it should show up in the results.

Note the record to see where your search terms appear:

Other helpful resources

Additionally, consult the A.C.I. art catalogue index - catalogues raisonnés & critical catalogues of artists 1780-2008: