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Artists' Signatures Research Guide

How to research and identify artists' signatures, initials, and symbols.

Created 2006
Author: Research Services

Publications

The Internet is not the best source for information about artist's signatures or initials. Signature research can be done by checking the following books to match a signature with a name, initials, or symbol. The volumes may be arranged by last name, alphabetically by first initial, or by shape of a symbol. 

All of the following sources are available at the Getty Library. If you are interested in using this material onsite, read about Access Policy and Reader Privileges

 
Bénézit, E. Dictionnaire Critique et Documentaire des Peintres, Sculpteurs, Dessinateurs et Graveurs de Tous les Temps et de Tous les Pays. 14 vols. Paris: Gründ, 1999. 

Castagno, John. American Artists: Signatures and Monograms, 1800–1989. Metuchen, NJ: Scarecrow Press, 1990. 

Castagno, John. Artists as Illustrators: An International Directory with Signatures and Monograms, 1800–Present. Metuchen, NJ: Scarecrow Press, 1989. 

Castagno, John. Artists' Monograms and Indiscernible Signatures: An International Directory, 1800–1991. Metuchen, NJ: Scarecrow Press, 1991. 

Castagno, John. European Artists: Signatures and Monograms, 1800–1990, Including Selected Artists from Other Parts of the World. Metuchen, NJ: Scarecrow Press, 1990. 

Castagno, John. Latin American Artists' Signatures and Monograms: Colonial Era to 1996. Lanham, MD: Scarecrow Press, 1997. 

Castagno, John. Old Masters: Signatures and Monograms, 1400–Born 1800. Lanham, MD: Scarecrow Press, 1996. 

Caplan, H. H. and Bob Creps. Encyclopedia of Artists' Signatures, Symbols & Monograms: Old Masters to Modern, North American & European plus More; 25,000 Examples. Land O'Lakes, FL: Dealer's Choice Books, 1999. 

Falk, Peter Hastings. Dictionary of Signatures & Monograms of American Artists: From the Colonial Period to the Mid 20th Century. Madison, CT: Sound View Press, 1988. 

Goldstein, Franz. Monogrammlexikon 1: Internationales Verzeichnis der Monogramme bildender Künstler seit 1850 = Dictionary of Monograms 1: International List of Monograms in the Visual Arts since 1850, 2nd ed. Berlin: Walter de Gruyter, 1999. 

Pfisterer, Paul, ed. Monogrammlexikon 2: Internationales Verziechnis der Monogramme bildender Künstler des 19. und 20. Jahrhunderts = Dictionary of Monograms 2: International List of Monograms in the Visual Arts of the 19th and 20th Centuries. Berlin: Walter de Gruyter, 1995. 

Pfisterer, Paul. Signaturenlexikon = Dictionary of Signatures. Berlin: Walter de Gruyter, 1999. 

Banner: Monogram of Léonard Gaultier (detail), Léonard Gaultier (French, ca. 1561–ca. 1630 or 1641), 1586, engraving. From Jacques Guillemeau, Tables anatomiques, avec les pourtraicts et declaration d'iceulx: Ensemble un denombrement de cinq cens maladies diverses, title page. The Getty Research Institute, 84-B28033