In recent years art museums have increasingly made available to anyone, free of fees, high-resolution images of copyright-clear images in their collections. The usual stipulations apply: The artworks themselves have to be in the public domain, which is generally counted as 70 years out from the artist’s death. Increasingly art museums view this as consistent with their missions, which typically involve sharing art in their collections as widely as possible, education and so on. Museums that launch new web presences, such as the Yale University Art Gallery did last week, are increasingly building this functionality into their new sites.
So many art museums have made the move toward placing their high-resolution images of art in their collections in the public domain that museums that fail to do so should now explain why they don’t.
(I wrote about this then-emerging issue in my Modern Painters column back in 2011.)
Here’s my (alphabetical) list of art museums and relevant, related institutions that make art in their collections available, or that are in the process of doing so. I’m likely missing a few, so please help me out.
- Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library at Yale University
- Calisphere (the online repository for California state collections including the California State Library and University of California system libraries, including the Bancroft)
- J. Paul Getty Museum
- Los Angeles County Museum of Art
- National Gallery of Art
- Victoria & Albert Museum
- Walters Art Museum
- Yale Center for British Art
- Yale University Art Gallery
- Morgan Library (drawings only so far)
- Dallas Museum of Art (non-commercial use)
- Metropolitan Museum of Art (for “scholarly” use, which the Met attempts to define here)