Art Historical Resources :

Arcade and The New York Art Resources Consortium (NYARC)

The New York Art Resources Consortium (NYARC) 


What is ‘Arcade’?


The New York Art Resources Consortium, or NYARC, is a consortium formed from the research libraries of four leading art museums in New York City.


·        The Brooklyn Museum Libraries and Archive

·        The Frick Art Reference Library

·        The Museum of Modern Art Library

·        The Metropolitan Museum of Art Library


NYARC was founded in 2006 to facilitate collaboration between these collections. The four libraries collectively hold over one million items, including books, exhibition and auction catalogues, and other research documents from the ancient to the contemporary.[1] For more information on NYARC, visit their website:


‘Arcade’ is the name given to the joint online catalogue for three of the four NYARC members:


·        The Brooklyn Museum

·        The Frick Art Reference Library

·        The Museum of Modern Art


The Metropolitan Museum of Art Library catalogue is not integrated into ‘Arcade’, but is available to search online here:


From the Arcade website it is possible to search online through each of the Brooklyn, Frick or MOMA collections, either limiting your search to a particular collection, or searching across all three simultaneously.


At the same time, each of the three libraries have maintained their own individual online catalogue search pages, as set out below.


What kinds of resources can be searched via Arcade that may be of use to us?


Brooklyn Museum Library


·        The Library’s individual catalogue is called ‘Brookmuse’ and can be accessed here:

·        The main library’s particular strengths lie in the arts of the Americas, Africa, Asia and Islam; these biases are reflected in the special collections. However the following may be of particular interest:

o   The collection of artists books: which have been collected by the museum since the early 20th Century

o   The collection of artists’ files relating to Brooklyn-based artists: this collection may represent a potential source of information on artists who came to Brooklyn in exile.

o   The museum’s own archives: containing institutional records, curatorial correspondence, expedition reports and other related textual and visual records dating from the founding of the institution in 1823.  


Frick Art Reference Library


·        The Library’s individual catalogue is called ‘Fresco’ and can be accessed here:

·        Founded in 1920, the Library’s book and photograph research collections relate chiefly to paintings, drawings, sculpture and prints from the fourth to the mid twentieth centuries by European and American artists. It has a particularly rich holding of auction and exhibition catalogues and as such is a leading site for provenance research. It also contains over 285,000 books, including a strong collection of catalogue raisonnés. Resources of particular value to provenance research which are searchable via Arcade include the following:

o   Artists Photo Files: These are searchable by artist’s name and contain over 1 million photographs in total

o   80,000 auction catalogues: the library is one of the largest repositories of auction catalogues and provenance information in North America, acquiring 1500 catalogues every year from more than 1000 auction houses in Europe, Australia and the Americas, ranging in date from the early 17th century to the present.

o   Catalogues of public and private collections dating back to the 18th century.

o   Exhibition catalogues: these have been acquired since the library’s foundation in 1920, no matter how small the exhibition; this has resulted in an extensive and rare collection of exhibition pamphlets, checklists, broadsides and other ephemera dating from  the beginning of the 19th century.

o   The library holds collections of 2,250 periodicals, of which 750 are active subscriptions.

o   Manuscript collections: the library holds a series of manuscript collections consisting of art research files, gallery records, artists’ correspondence and personal papers. Particularly relevant collections include the American Art Association Records (1877-1924), College Art Association of America Records (1919-1938, documents relating to the research for the CAAA’s publication The Index of Twentieth Century Artists), Anna Kleinman Research Files on Rosabla Carriera (copies of the translations made by Kleinman of the correspondence and diary of prominent Venetian Rococo portraitist Rosabla Carriera 1675-1757), and the Richard P Wunder Research Files (1948-1987, relating in particular to his research on Italian painter and architect Giovanni Paolo Panini 1691-1765). The full list of manuscript collections can be viewed here:


The Museum of Modern Art Library


·        The library’s individual catalogue is called ‘Dadabase’ and can be accessed here:

·        The library’s holdings are devoted to modern and contemporary art from 1880 to the present. Holdings include approximately 300,000 books and exhibition catalogues, 300 period subscriptions, and a large collection of announcements and ephemera relating to individual artists. Particularly relevant holdings include:

o   The Franklin Furnace collection of 20th century artists books

o   The Library’s Artists Files: relating to artists active from 1880, including exhibition announcements, press releases, clippings, brochures and catalogues, etc.

o   Archival holdings including the Alfred H Barr Jr Papers (1918-1975), records of the Department of Circulating Exhibitions (1931-1991), Early Museum History (1930-1963), JB Neumann Papers (1914-1960, art dealer working from New York and in contact with many ‘degenerate’ artists), Curt Valentin Papers (1937-1955), Paul Klee inventory compiled by Will Grohmann. A full list of archival holdings can be viewed here:


Aside from these collections, what other services does the Arcade website provide that may be of use to us?


·        The Arcade WWII Provenance Bibliography (available here)

o   A list of c.200 resources which may be of use for provenance research. Includes beneath each item their location in the Arcade member libraries

·        Art News RSS Feeds (available here)

o   This page provides constantly updated news feeds from, amongst others, the Art Newspaper, Artnet, Art Info and The New York Times, a valuable resource for news of the latest planned exhibitions, publications and other resources.

·        The Arcade website also provides a list of electronic resources, and information about where these can be accessed (i.e. free online, in the Frick, etc.) (available here)


The Metropolitan Museum of Art Library is a member of NYARC but their catalogue is not integrated into ‘Arcade’.  What resources do they hold that may be of value?


A major resource is the Metropolitan Museum’s online collection database, available here: This includes all art works and objects held by the Museum, as well as items from the Museum’s Photographic Study Collection.


The main library collections are house in the Thomas J Watson library. This is a collection of books and periodicals relating to the entire history of art which is one of the most comprehensive in the world. The library’s catalogue is called ‘Watsonline’ and can be accessed here: . As well as the main collection, this catalogue includes items from the following specialist libraries:


·        The Irene Lewisohn Costume Reference Library

·        The Study Rooms for Drawings and Prints

·        The Joyce F Menschel Photography Library, containing more than 10,000 volumes relating to the history of photography and the museum’s collection of photographs.


Within the Metropolitan Museum there are a number of other specialist libraries, not searchable via Watsonline, the most relevant for our purposes as follows:


·        The Cloisters Library and Archives: contains material specifically for the study of medieval art and related topics. (

·        The Robert Lehman Collection Library: contains approximately 23,000 books with an emphasis on the arts if the Italian Renaissance, the history and culture of Sienna Italy, the history of frames, and illuminated manuscripts. (

·        The archives of the museum itself, founded in 1870 (

[1] For more detail about NYARC see Deidre Lawrence, New York Art Resources Consortium: A Model for Collaboration, available online here: