Artist Signature Identification Database
Directory & Reference Books
Trying to identify an artist's signature? John Castagno's published twelve comprehensive signature dictionary-style directories over the past twenty years, all of which are currently available from Scarecrow Press. These include directories of signatures and monograms for American and European artists active from 1800 to the present, illustrators, Old Masters, Latin American artists, abstract artists, and even two directories of monograms and indiscernible artist signatures (for use in identifying signatures you either can't read or ones on art that's signed with monograms, symbols, in certain foreign languages, or with other illegible markings). In short, if you need help either deciphering, identifying, or confirming artist signatures, you need John Castagno's reference book help.
If an online artist signature database is more your cup of tea, you can also access Castagno's life work via the Internet at Artists Signatures. The database contains 55,000 signature examples by 50,000 artists-- one stop shopping for all your artist signature identification needs. Signature catagories include monograms, "illegibles" (signatures you can't read), symbols, alternative names that artists sometimes sign, cyrillic (Russian) signatures, and prakrit (Indian) signatures. Artist categories, searchable separately or together, include African-American, American, Canadian, Indian, Irish/British, Latin American, Old Masters, and Russian. Artists' birth and death years are often noted (helpful when the art you're researching is dated), and if that's not enough, you'll find thousands of signature examples of artists who are not listed in standard references like Who's Who in American Art, Who Was Who in American Art, Benezit, Mantle Fielding's Dictionary of American Artists, Thieme-Becker, H. Vollmer, and similar art reference publications.
You can use Artists Signatures as a research tool in several ways. For instance, if you know the name of the artist and either want to verify the signature or view available signature examples, you can check the database at no charge to see whether that artist's name is listed. If you locate the name, you can view the signature examples in exchange for a certain number of credits (credits range in price from about 10 to 60 cents each depending on which purchase plan you choose).
If, on the other hand, you are trying to identify a monogram, symbol, or illegible signature, you can view all relevant database examples at no charge to see whether any match the one you're researching. If you find a match, then as above, you can view the artist's name for a certain number of credits. Either way preliminary database access is free; you only pay for the specific artist names or signature examples you need.
To access the John Castagno online signature database, go to Artists Signatures
To purchase any or all of John Castagno's signature directories in hard copy, go to the Scarecrow Press website and type "Castagno" into the search box to learn about or order any or all of his twelve titles. Scarecrow Press, 4501 Forbes Blvd., Suite 200, Lanham, MD 20706. Or call (800) 462-6420.
Here are four of Castagno's most recent publications:
Abstract Artists, Signatures and Monograms, An International Directory. Scarecrow Press, Lanham, MD, 2007. Hardbound, 469 pages, 8 3/4 by 11 1/4 inches. Approximately 2,300 artists with more than 3,900 signature examples. $225.
Artists' Monograms and Indiscernible Signatures II, An International Directory, From 1800 . Scarecrow Press, Lanham, MD, 2007. Hardbound, 240 pages, 8 3/4 by 11 1/4 inches. Approximately 2,100 artists and 3,000 signature examples. $150.
American Artists II, Signatures and Monograms, A Comprehensive Directory from 1800. Scarecrow Press, Lanham, MD, 2007. Hardbound, 528 pages, 8 3/4 by 11 1/4 inches. Approximately 3,500 artists and 4,600 signature examples. $225.
European Artists II, Signatures and Monograms, A Comprehensive Directory from 1800. Scarecrow Press, Lanham, MD, 2007. Hardbound, 416 pages, 8 3/4 by 11 1/4 inches. Approximately 2,100 artists and 3,000 signature examples. $200.
Still stumped? Many people are. So try Artist Signature Identification from Artbusiness.com. You only pay when the name is positively identified.
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