Made available through the Smithsonian Institution Research Information system

What are the Art Inventories?

The Smithsonian American Art Museum has established two comprehensive databases --the Inventory of American Paintings and the Inventory of American Sculpture. Together, these Art Inventories provide information on over 400,000 artworks in public and private collections worldwide. The Inventory of American Paintings includes works by artists active in America by 1914. The Inventory of American Sculpture has no cut-off date and includes works from the colonial era up through contemporary times. In-depth information on nearly 32,000 outdoor sculptures collected from a nationwide survey known as Save Outdoor Sculpture! (SOS!), is a key component of the sculpture database.

How do the Art Inventories get information?

Records are compiled from a variety of published and unpublished sources, including catalogues, collection checklists, reports from collectors, journals and magazines, and preservation inventories. Over the years, numerous service and volunteer organizations, like the National Society of Colonial Dames, the American Association of University Women, and the National Retired Teachers Association, have undertaken local surveys and reported works to the Inventories.

Can I see an image of an artwork listed in the Art Inventories?

Images in our study files are in the process of being digitized for on online viewing. If we have an image in our study files, the record will include an "Illustration" field containing the phrase "Image on file." If the image has been scanned, the digital image will appear in the database record. To search for records with digital images, select the "Search Images" tab at the top of the database search screen. To see images that are not yet scanned, you can visit our office in Washington or you can request that a photocopy be mailed to you. (We can provide up to 20 photocopied images via the mail). If you wish to obtain a photograph for publication purposes, you need to contact the owner of the artwork. Every museum has its own "rights and reproduction" policies and charges for obtaining photographs.

How do I report works to the Art Inventories?

You may know of an artwork that is not yet listed in the Art Inventories database. Report forms and guidelines for reporting these works can be found on our museum's website at the address listed below or contact us by phone at (202) 633-8380 or e-mail at

Contact us. We'll be happy to answer any questions you may have about our national Art Inventories program.

Inventories of American Painting and Sculpture
Smithsonian American Art Museum
Research & Scholars Center

Location address:
750 Ninth Street, N.W., Suite 3100
Washington D.C. 20001-4505

Mailing address:
P.O. Box 37012, MRC 970
Washington, D.C. 20013-7012

E-mail us at:
Telephone: 202-633-8380 (M-F, 10-5 pm)
Fax: 202-633-8373
Museum's website:

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