The Guggenheim has digitized 65 art catalogs and made them available online, free of charge. These texts include introductions to artists such as Kandinsky, Calder, and Munch as well as thematic introductions to modern art. Many of them contain full-color images.
If you have trouble using the online reader format (which includes an interactive page-turning feature), you can download PDFs and other versions at Archive.org.
Via Open Culture.
The Amsterdam Rijksmuseum has made images from its “basic collection” – a little over 103,000 objects – available under a Creative Commons BY 3.0 license which allows you to:
- Share — to copy, distribute and transmit the work
- Remix — to adapt the work
- Make commercial use of the work
These images may be used not only for classroom study and research but also for publishing, as long as the museum receives proper attribution. The collections database, in Dutch, is available here. Over 70,000 objects are also cataloged using ICONCLASS subject headings in English; this interface is available here. Click here for an example of the scan quality.
The Digital Images Collections Wiki hosted at Wellesley College contains links to image collections that are available for free online for educational or personal use. Links are organized by subject, and image quality varies by site (no images are actually hosted on the wiki). The images may not be approved for use in publication but could be used in the classroom.
For more information about fair use vs. copyright-free images, or if you have any questions, please contact the VRC.
Are you hungry for high quality, publishable images to use in your dissertation or manuscript? Trying to avoid expensive licensing fees? Not sure what images are in the public domain?
If so, consider the following resources for copyright-free or copyright-lenient images. Most image sites include both high and low resolution images, with high quality TIFFs available upon request. Please note that each resource/institution may have specific requirements for attribution or limits on print runs. When in doubt, contact the institution before using the images in your publication.
Do you know of additional resources that we should add? Contact us!
General Resources and Guides
Museum Image Resources
Image Resources by Subject
Royalty-Free Images (One-time Fee)