Do You Know About These Free Art Books Online?

Looking for an out-of-print exhibition catalog or just need some instant inspiration? The Getty Museum and The Metropolitan Museum of Art have got you covered with more than 2,000 free online books, catalogs, and research materials.

Getty Publications has their own virtual library where you can check out over 250 art books from their archives. The library not only includes exhibition catalogs from the Getty museum, but conservation texts and scholarly writings from the Getty Conservation and Getty Research Institutes.

The art books are available to read online using Google Books or download as a PDF, but if you still love the feeling of a physical book in hand, there’s an option to search WorldCat, a website that tells you what libraries nearby have the book you are searching for.

watercolor art book

I’ve got Cézanne in the Studio: Still Life in Watercolors from the Getty loaded onto my laptop right now. Up next in my reading queue? American Drawings and Watercolors in The Metropolitan Museum of Art: John Singer Sargent — a catalog of the museum’s collection of Sargent’s paintings and every page from four of his sketchbooks, plus a look at the artist’s technique and working methods.

watercolor art book

I found the latter gem on the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s website, which offers an extensive and eclectic selection of free online art books. With an art historical focus, this comprehensive collection of over 1,600 full-text titles features a wide range of subjects. A bonus you won’t find in traditional print publications, these online books and catalogs include helpful links to related reads available on the Met website and in print. Additionally, most books can be both read online or downloaded as a PDF to your device.

You can choose from several different types of literature, like exhibition catalogs and educational resources. For the selection of free, full-length art books, simply click on “Books with Full-Text Online.”

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