Where to Find Free Art Images & Books from Great Museums, and Free Books from University Presses

klee cover

In recent years, many great art muse­ums have decid­ed to open up their col­lec­tions, putting online huge troves of images that show­case the mas­ter­pieces hang­ing on their walls. They’ve also made avail­able free art cat­a­logues and books, let­ting you learn all about impor­tant artists and styles of paint­ing. Now, uni­ver­si­ty press­es and libraries are start­ing to fol­low suit, giv­ing read­ers free access to books from their archives. We’ve tried to keep you post­ed on these cul­tur­al devel­op­ments here on Open Cul­ture. But you’ve like­ly missed a great resource or two. To make sure you stay up to speed, we offer a roundup below:

Art Books

Art Images

Uni­ver­si­ty Press­es

If we’re miss­ing any great col­lec­tion, please let us know in the com­ments sec­tion below. We’re always love to dis­cov­er a new store­house of free knowl­edge. And we’ll make sure that read­ers learn about them.

Relat­ed Con­tent:

825 Free Online Cours­es from Top Uni­ver­si­ties

500 Free eBooks: Down­load to Kin­dle, iPad/iPhone & Nook

550 Free Audio Books: Down­load Great Books for Free

Learn 46 Lan­guages Online for Free: Span­ish, Chi­nese, Eng­lish & More

625 Free Movies Online: Great Clas­sics, Indies, Noir, West­erns, etc.

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Comments (8)
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  • Joris Pekel says:

    On our web­site OpenGLAM (GLAM=Galleries, Libraries, Archives & Muse­ums) we keep track of Open Col­lec­tions. Here you can find the above and quite few more. Thanks for rais­ing aware­ness! http://openglam.org/open-collections/

  • Lauren Markewicz says:

    Regard­ing Uni­ver­si­ty Press­es: don’t for­get the Cana­di­an con­tent! The Athabas­ca Uni­ver­si­ty Press offers all of their pub­li­ca­tions as free PDFs online. There is a lot of amaz­ing work on the his­to­ry of First Nations peo­ples and the Cana­di­an West as a whole, includ­ing some transna­tion­al work with the Amer­i­can West: http://www.aupress.ca/

    My per­son­al favourite is Sarah Carter’s The Impor­tance of Being Monog­a­mous: Mar­riage and Nation-Build­ing in West­ern Cana­da to 1915: http://www.aupress.ca/index.php/books/120144

  • Adam Green says:

    Thanks for the post, did­n’t know about those art cat­a­logues, won­der­ful!

    You can also find a whole host of free (and open­ly licensed!) mate­r­i­al through the Sources sec­tion of The Pub­lic Domain Review: http://publicdomainreview.org/sources/

  • Studio Art Centers International Florence says:

    Thank you for this valu­able infor­ma­tion for any­one who wants to research art images and see muse­um col­lec­tions. It is a dig­i­tal library. SACI is glad to share your post with our stu­dents who will find it very use­ful.

  • Kathy R. says:

    Wow, what a great way to keep the mind active! Espe­cial­ly this win­ter. I am off to explore the links.

  • dciro greco-novelo says:


  • Geopast says:

    Hi folks,

    We pro­vide an easy to use por­tal of over 5M images from GLAM (gal­leries, muse­ums, archives and muse­ums) at http://www.pastpin.com.

    Feel free to check us out!


  • Donald Rawls says:

    I am look­ing for a book Texas Con­fed­er­ate Cal­vary Vol­ume 1 and 2 by Arthur Wyl­lie. I need to know if you have these books, how much and if ya’ll don’t have these book, were can I find them?

    Thank you
    Mr. Rawls

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