The Broad is a contemporary art museum that named after their founders, philanthropists Eli and Edythe Broad. It is home to 2,000 works of art collected over 50 years by Eli and Edythe. The collection is one of the world’s most prominent collections of post-war and contemporary works of art. They include in-depth representations by influential contemporary artists, which include Jeff Koons, Ed Ruscha, Kara Walker and Alexander Calder. You can browse the collection by artist last name.
Established in 1900, the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston (MFAH) is one of the largest museums in the United States. The museum collection houses more than 65,000 works of art from antiquity to present day. Users can search by keywords or browse by collecting areas, artist/maker, culture, classification and artist nationality.
The LIFE Photo Archive is a comprehensive archive of photographs and etchings that are produced or owned by the defunct LIFE Magazine, dating back to the 1750s. Captured by LIFE photographers and photo journalists like Alfred Eisenstaedt and Margaret Bourke-White, the photographs documented important events in the world, evolution of fashion and lifestyles and the lives of celebrities and everyday people. According to Google, most of the photographs have never been published. Started in 2008, users can search for millions of images from the LIFE archive, which contains about 10 million photographs. Users can do a keyword search by adding “source:life” to any Google image search. For example, “vietnam war source:life”. Alternatively, users may browse by different categories.
Since mid 1700s, the Princeton University has been collecting art. To date, there are more than “92,000 works of art spanning the world of art from antiquity to the present”, as mentioned by James Christen Steward, the Director of the Princeton University Art Museum. Users can search or browse by different collections.
The Mauritshuis is home to the Royal Cabinet of Paintings, which consists some of the world’s famous paintings by the Dutch and Flemish masters from the Golden Age. Popular examples include Vermeer’s Girl with a Pearl Earring and The Goldfinch by Fabritius. Most of their works of art can be discovered online with close to 900 images in their online collection. Users can search or filter by artist, date, object type, material and inventory number.
The Montreal Museum of Fine Arts (MMFA) is among the largest museums in Canada. To date, there are about 41,000 works in their holdings. Their collections are distributed across six sections: Archaeology and World Cultures, Early to Modern International Art, Quebec and Canadian Art, International Contemporary Art, Decorative Arts and Design, and Graphic Arts and Photography. Users can search or browse images by the different sections.
The Wallace Collection is a national museum in London that houses works of art collected in the 18th and 19th centuries by the first four Marquesses of Hertford and Sir Richard Wallace, the son of the 4th Marquess. Through Wallace Live, users can search for images of the works of art.
This collection was started as part of the “All Of Us Or None” (AOUON) archive project by Free Speech Movement activist Michael Rossman in 1977. The objective was “to gather and document posters of modern progressive movements in the United States”. The collection contains more than 20,000 political posters with a focus on “the domestic political poster renaissance that began in 1965 and continues to this day”. Users can search or browse the images.
Herman Miller is an American furniture design firm and among the first to produce modern furniture. Working together with designers George Nelson and Charles and Ray Eames, the company produced some of the classics in industrial design. Their website provides a library of images, which contains Herman Miller’s white sweep environments, and detailed product photography and renderings. Users can search or browse by different categories. The website also provides other design resources, such as materials, 3D renderings and product downloads.
The Tret’yakov Gallery (or the State Tretyakov Gallery) houses a comprehensive collection of Russian fine art from the 12th century onwards. Their digital collection allows user to search or browse more than 2,000 artworks by categories, periods and artists.
Callisphere is “the University of California’s free public gateway to a world of primary sources”. Powered by the California Digital Library (CDL), the platform currently have more than 230,000 images, contributed by 139 archives, libraries, museums, and historical societies in California. Users may search or explore the images across different themes or topics.
The Whitney Museum of American Art houses a comprehensive range of “twentieth-century and contemporary American art, with a special focus on works by living artists”. Their digital collection provides access to more than 21,000 artworks from more than 3,000 artists. Users can search or browse by artist.
VADS is an “online resource for visual arts”. Over 12 years, VADS built a portfolio of visual art collections, which comprise of “over 100,000 images that are freely available and copyright cleared for use in learning, teaching and research in the UK”. These collections were contributed by various institutions in the UK. Through the site, users can search or browse by collections and themes. VADS also provides a series of resources that were built around the image collections by “specialist authors and lecturers”.
Since its founding in 1940, the Walker Art Center has collected the visual, performing, and media arts of our time. Their digital collection contains more than 4,000 images. Users can search or browse by period and type. Walker Art Center also has a Living Collection Catalogue that is an online serial dedicated to scholarly research of their multidisciplinary collections. The catalogue contains media-rich essays on broader themes as well as in-depth investigations of specific works of art.
The Art Institute of Chicago was founded as both a museum and school for fine arts around 1879. Today, it houses more than 300,000 works of art in their permanent collections, ranging from “Chinese bronzes to contemporary design and from textiles to installation art”. The digital collection contains more than 80,000 images, where you can search or browse by categories. The website also allows you to sign up for an account and make your own art collections by selecting artworks and adding notes about them. You can save your “collections” to revisit in the future or share them with your friends.
The NYPL Digital Gallery provides access to over 800,000 images digitized from the library’s collections, which spans across different mediums, subjects and time periods. The collections include illuminated manuscripts, historical maps, vintage posters, rare prints and photographs. The collections can also be browse through different categories – Arts & Literature, Cities & Buildings, Culture & Society, History & Geography, Industry & Technology, Nature & Science, and Printing & Graphics.
Through the Open Content Program, the J. Paul Getty Museum and the Getty Research Institute provide access to more than 87,000 images from their collections. The images include more than 72,000 from the Research Institute’s Foto Arte Minore archive, which features photographs of the art and architecture of Italy over 30 years by German photographer and scholar Max Hutzel (1913–1988). Other images include paintings, drawings, manuscripts, photographs, antiquities, sculpture, decorative arts, artists’ sketchbooks, watercolors, rare prints from the 16th through the 18th century, and 19th-century architectural drawings of cultural landmarks. Over time, images from the Getty Conservation Institute will be added, as well as more images from the J. Paul Getty Museum and the Getty Research Institute.
Based in Saint Petersburg, Russia, the State Hermitage Museum is one of the world’s largest and oldest museums. From Paleolithic to contemporary, the museum has more than 3 million items in its holding. The museum also has the world’s largest collection of paintings, which includes famous paintings from the great masters, such as Michelangelo, Raphael, Leonardo da Vinci, Rembrandt, etc.
The Minneapolis Institute of Arts is continually making their collections accessible online. To date, their collections span from paintings, prints, drawings, photography to more specific works like African art, Asian art, decorative arts and new media.
The Museum of Fine Arts Boston is one of the most comprehensive museums in the world. From Ancient Egypt to contemporary art, the museum has nearly 450,000 works of art in its holdings. Its digital collection allows users to search and refine the results by collection type and classification.