About the Artcyclopedia Our mission is to become the definitive and most effective guide to museum-quality fine art on the Internet: definitive: We have compiled a comprehensive index of every artist represented at hundreds of museum sites, image archives, and other online resources. We have started out by covering the biggest and best sites around, and have links for most well-known artists to keep you surfing for hours. Update February/2002: We have now indexed 1200 arts sites, and offer more than 32,000 links to an estimated 100,000 works by 7,500 renowned artists.
most effective: The Artcyclopedia's custom search engine is already the fastest way to search the Net for information about fine artists. Period.
museum-quality: There are scads of artists with home pages on the Web, many of whom are extremely talented. But we can't list every site, and we really don't want to set ourselves up as arbiters of who produces "quality" art and who doesn't - making such a judgment is impossible over the Internet in any case. We feel that fairest approach is to rely on the worldwide network of museum professionals to make that call. So our general policy is, if an artist is in an arts museum collection, then he or she is qualified to be listed in our database. See our Information for Artists page for more specific information.
What is and is not in the Artcyclopedia's database?
We only provide references to sites on the World Wide Web where artists' works can be viewed online. For calendars of real-world museum exhibits, try a resource such as Gallery Guide Online, or Traditional Fine Arts Online, or the Art Museum Network's ExCalendar, all of which seem to do an excellent job.
The vast majority of the fine artists in our database specialize in painting and sculpture. We do include other artistic media where possible. Examples of these types of media are: photography (e.g. Ansel Adams, Berenice Abbott, Man Ray, Henri Cartier-Bresson, Dorothea Lange, Alfred Stieglitz, and Cindy Sherman) decorative arts (e.g. Carl Fabergé, René Lalique, and Louis Comfort Tiffany) installation art (e.g. Dan Flavin and Ed Kienholz) video, digital and web-based art (e.g. Jenny Holzer, Bill Viola, and Nam June Paik) naïve art/folk art/outsider art (e.g. Edward Hicks and Grandma Moses) architecture (e.g. Frank Lloyd Wright and Andrea Palladio) Note that we are primarily oriented to searching by artist name, although we intend to add more and more access by artistic movement, nation, timeline and medium. At the moment we do not have entries for artworks by unknown artists. This includes works with such attributions as "follower of", "workshop of", or "school of" given artists. We do have entries for certain notable individual artists whose names have been lost (for example, the Master of the Saint Bartholomew Altarpiece).
Who is behind this project?
The Artcyclopedia was created by John Malyon, an IT professional, web developer, and entrepreneur currently living in Calgary, Canada. Here is a brief overview of John's background:
17 years in the software industry 10 years project leader roles 9 years data modeling and online interface design first exposed to the Internet through the WELL, the legendary online community, of which he was a member for several years in the early nineties fine arts webmaster for 3 years sometime writer (one professional credit to date: At the Robot Olympics, published in the Whole Earth Review, Spring 1992) John's current project is to develop a system for commercializing the Artcyclopedia in such a way as to add value for visitors (by providing them with additional useful and relevant information), rather than subtracting value (e.g. through indiscriminate use of banners).
You can contact John at this address:
John Malyon Artcyclopedia 51 Tuscany Hills Terrace N.W. Calgary, Alberta Canada T3L 2G7
Phone: (403) 547-9692 Fax: (403) 547-1506 Email: email@example.com
Frequently Asked Questions
Why isn't artist X listed on your site? Can you tell me everything about artist X? How much is this etching/edition by artist X worth? How much is this painting by artist X worth? I think I own a valuable painting. What should I do?
Why isn't artist X listed on your site?
Keep in mind that our site is an Internet search tool, not a forum for assessing which artists are "museum-quality" and which aren't. If an artist's work doesn't happen to be viewable online at one of the sites we have indexed, then they won't be in our database.
If you want to suggest an artist for inclusion, please look over our guidelines. Note that we already have a backlog of suggestions, and adding links in this way is a rather time-consuming process.
Can you tell me everything about artist X?
Pretty much everything we can tell you about an artist we put on the artist pages. If you need more than is available at any of the sites the Artcyclopedia links to, I suggest heading to Alta Vista and Google, which I find to be the largest and most effective search engines.
Another excellent place to research fine artists is the Grove Dictionary of Art site. It's a pay site, but as of this writing you can still register for a 24-hour free trial.
You can also find the print edition of the Grove in better libraries. For better-known artists, you'll probably find entire books about them there, or within the inter-library loan system.
How much is this etching/edition by artist X worth?
Valuation of prints and etchings is very complicated, and I don't have any resources in this area whatsoever. I recommend finding a gallery who has some knowledge of the field and paying them for an appraisal - the cost is usually reasonable. For collectible artists, a site like Ebay may also give you some insight into the real-world value of your work.
How much is this painting by artist X worth?
Here are some tools to help you come up with some idea of what your original work of art might be worth.
Prices for works by a given artist vary widely and wildly for many reasons, including: auction prices are usually lower than gallery "list" prices size: larger is better, within reason medium: oil paintings are almost invariably the most valuable, followed distantly by watercolors, pastels, drawings, etc. period: is it from the artist's best period? subject matter: is it characteristic of the artist's most sought-after work? if a realistic work: does it have a girl or a horse in it? if an abstract work: do the dominant colors match common shades of sofas and drapes? provenance: has it been in the Rothschild family collection since they bought it from the artist 200 years ago (good), or does it have no traceable lineage before, say, 1946 (very very bad)? certainty of authentication: even if the work is signed by the artist it could be a forgery, or it could be a genuine work from the period on which the signature has been forged where the auction took place, geographically: is there a natural market for the artist's work? uncontrollable factors: rain, full moon, sunspot activity, etc. lastly, (and sometimes least) the actual artistic merit of the work Keeping the above in mind, it is possible to look up auction records in the reference section of your local library, to get a general idea of what an artist's works fetch. There are several annual publications which list hundreds of thousands of sales results. The public library I use, which is good but by no means world class, has three sets by different publishers.
One good online resource is Artcult, which has a freely accessible database of price ranges for many artists. And if you are willing to pay, you can get full auction results online at several sites, including artnet.com and artprice.com.
I think I own a valuable artwork. What should I do?
First, what not to do: do NOT clean it, or reframe it, or restore it, by yourself. If it's on paper, do not give it too much light and never let it receive direct sunlight. And resist the temptation to remove layers of paint to see if the artist painted the women naked under their clothes.
(I have recently discovered a nice page at the North Carolina Museum of Art site which discusses conservation issues related to the display, storage, and transport of fine art.)
Now, if you think you have a valuable work of art, here's what to do: Take a trip to the library to familiarize yourself with the artist's oeuvre and find out how much his works are typically worth (see above for more on this). This will help you determine how much is would be sensible to spend on the next few steps. Have the work authenticated and appraised. Insure the work as soon as possible. Get advice from a professional conservator. Sell the work, if you wish. Now, if you have reason to believe you own a valuable work of art, you should probably have it appraised. Sothebys and Christie's offer this service, as do many galleries. You can also find professional fine art appraisers in the Yellow Pages (under "appraisers" where I live). They should also be able to advise about authentication of your work.
Reviews We launched in February, 1999 with no publicity, and have been just overwhelmed with the response we have received. Thanks to everyone who has emailed us and entered comments into our guestbook, and thanks to all of the hundreds of sites which now link to us.
And especially, thanks to the following professional surfers and searchers who have reviewed us in the last few months:
The New York Times Learning Network July 26, 2000 Site of the Day http://www.nytimes.com/learning/parents/siteofday/20000726.html
The Calgary Herald June 22, 2000 The Art of Being Online: "A Calgary entrepreneur finds success bringing the world of fine art to the masses through the Web" http://www.calgaryherald.com/business/technology/stories/000622/4323092.html
The Washington Post May 7, 1999 www.worth it: "If you're trying to soak up some culture on the Web, going about it by plugging a name into a search engine is bound to be frustrating. Artcyclopedia offers another option: Enter an artist's name and it will plumb its own database of art-oriented Web-dom for relevant sites. It couldn't have been much fun assembling this database, but it works well and doesn't make you wait." http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/tech/ffwd/0599/wit0507.htm
The San Jose Mercury News March 12, 1999 Minister Of Information: "Ever since one of my favorite sites, Greatest Painters on the Web, closed down a few weeks back because of copyright issues, I've been keeping an eye out for a replacement, and now I think I have one." http://www.mercurycenter.com/svtech/columns/minister/docs/march.shtml
The Guardian Newspaper (Great Britain) August 13, 1999 "If you are still getting your Manets confused with your Monets, or your Carpaccios with your Caravaggios, then this site will help clear your fog. Over 5,000 artists are listed but, most usefully, it guides you to the online collections that house a given work. Type in "Rossetti", for example, and you will soon be flitting about the world's major museums viewing all the Pre-Raphaelite master's works."
The British Library Subject Resources on the Internet: One of 4 (as of this writing) Art & Design websites recommended as "the most valuable subject specific resources available." http://www.britishlibrary.net/subject_guides.html
USA Today March 13, 1999 (web site), March 21, 1999 (print edition) Hot Site of the Day http://www.usatoday.com/life/cyber/chc0413.htm
Florida Times-Union April 16, 1999 Best Bets on the Net http://www.jacksonville.com/tu-online/webwatch/archives/041699.html
The Bangkok Post April 2, 1999 Netscope: "By now, the sheer abundance of art on the Internet is such that a guide is needed to explore even a small part of it. Search engines and image finders are some help, as are the Art sections of the big metapages like Yahoo! and Netcenter. But for a more efficient and entertaining way to find what you want, take a look at Artcyclopedia... this is a site to marvel at in its comprehensiveness and usefulness."
Infoseek/Go Network 3 stars (highest rating) http://infoseek.go.com/WebDir/Entertainment/The_arts
MSNBC March 13-15, 1999 Featured "Web Pick"
The Kim Komando Radio Show April 23, 1999 "They cover the biggest and best sites around, and have enough links for most well-known artists to keep you surfing for hours." http://www.komando.com/other/kool_sites/art/19990423_2209.shtml
California State Library/Librarians' Index to the Internet Best of...: "Claims to be a work in progress, and an impressive one it is." http://lii.org/search?query=Artists&subsearch=Artists&searchtype=subject
ResearchBuzz March 23, 1999 "This thing is neat. There's a featured artist (this month: Van Gogh!) an attempt at listing the most popular artists on the Internet, a browsable and searchable list of artists, links to museums and archives, etc. Recommended." http://www.researchbuzz.com/news/FebMar99arx.html
The Scout Report April 2, 1999 "If you are just getting started searching for fine art on the Web and you are looking for works by a particular artist, Artcyclopedia is a great jumping off place... While the hit list does not give you any idea of how much material a given Website might have on your artist, this does not detract from Artcyclopedia's value as a good place to start." http://wwwscout.cs.wisc.edu/scout/report/1999/scout-990402.html#15