America's Distinguished Artists

a national registry of historic artists


(above: Frank Weston Benson, Portrait of Gertrude Russell, 1915, oil on canvas, 54.2 x 42 inches, Christie's. Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons*)


Reviewing existing listings

Besides recommending new listings, TFAO welcomes volunteers to review existing listings. Volunteers should check with TFAO before choosing a portion of the alphabetical index to work on to make sure no one else is working on the same portion of the catalogue.


First step

TFAO recommends, as the first step in the review of existing listings for a letter of the alphabet, that the volunteer open three browser windows. The first browser window shows the America's Distinguished Artists page under study. The second window is for Resource Library advanced search. The third window is for Google's search page set for 30 results per page.


Second step

Artist names on a page for a chosen letter of the alphabet are then checked.

If there is a link to a Resource Library page for an artist, the volunteer reviews the artist entry as follows:

-- If the Resource Library link's tag indicates that the link is to an article or essay dedicated solely to the artist by a named author or to an article dedicated solely to an artist, the volunteer need not access the Resource Library link or search the Web for more information. If, in addition to the Resource Library link, an outside website link is already listed, the volunteer checks the outside link for linkrot (Wikipedia links are stable and need not be re-checked). If the outside source link is invalid the volunteer recommends removal of the link and need not search further. If the outside source link is valid the volunteer need not search for a more informative biography.
-- If the Resource Library link's tag indicates that the link is to an article or essay not solely dedicated to the artist by a named author or to an article not dedicated solely to an artist and there is no outside link yet listed, the volunteer searches the Web via Google for a source with further information. If, in addition to the Resource Library link, an outside source link is already listed, the volunteer checks for linkrot and, if found, searches the Web for an outside source with an informative biography. Only the first 20 Google search results need be studied.
If there is an outside source link in addition to the Resource Library link, and the outside link is broken, and no replacement biographical information is found in the Web, the volunteer advises TFAO that there is no replacement listing. The broken link is then removed but the artist name is retained in the catalogue with the following citation: [Access unavailable as of 2015 audit. There is currently no other acceptable online reference for this artist. TFAO is saving the citation for use by researchers.]
TFAO adds only one outside source link if there is already a link to a Resource Library page. A link to a Resource Library page is never removed if a link is placed to an outside source.

Third step

The use of an online link checker for single pages can be useful after a page is manually checked to make sure that no disabled links were missed.


Fourth step

The volunteer reviews the information retrieved by the online search for each artist to determine the best Web page (URL) for recommendation to TFAO and then sends recommendations including URLs by email to TFAO at


Using search engines

When using a search engine to locate non-Resource Library pages, TFAO recommends putting the word "artist" after the artist's name in the search box to help narrow down the search results. There is no need to review more than 30 search results for an artist.


Google searches commonly display pages from several auction sites and poster sites on the first page of search results. When this occurs it is necessary to view search results beyond these listings. Auction site, poster site and gallery site pages with prices for art objects on the same pages as biographies are not used since the information is likely to be temporary or restricted to subscribers. Search results leading to,,,,,,,,,,,,, and poster sites are not used. All links to artist biographies must contain 100% free information. TFAO avoids Web pages that require a fee to view complete biographies.


Judgment by volunteers

Volunteers use subjective criteria in determining the best non-Resource Library Web page with biographical information for recommendation including
-- quality of the source
-- credentials of the author
-- likely permanence of the information on the source's website
Preference is given to
-- biographical information by recognized scholars for an artist
-- university and museum sources
-- principal art dealers for the estate of an artist
-- descendants of an artist
To learn more about judgment made by volunteers see accuracy and trustworthiness. Also see TFAO's page Acquisition and deselection of content regarding the quality of Wikipedia's information.
TFAO receives no compensation for providing links to biographical information in other websites and does not pay owners of websites to place links to their pages.


Recognition to volunteers

TFAO greatly appreciates the efforts made by volunteers to improve the America's Distinguished Artists catalogue. TFAO will acknowledge volunteers who contribute new listings on the appropriate page.


Return to America's Distinguished Artists site guide


Links to sources of information outside of our web site are provided only as referrals for your further consideration. Please use due diligence in judging the quality of information contained in these and all other web sites. Information from linked sources may be inaccurate or out of date. TFAO neither recommends or endorses these referenced organizations. Although TFAO includes links to other web sites, it takes no responsibility for the content or information contained on those other sites, nor exerts any editorial or other control over them. For more information on evaluating web pages see TFAO's General Resources section in Online Resources for Collectors and Students of Art History.

*Tag for expired US copyright of object image:


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