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.

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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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