I remember when I used to comb through new and used art bookstores looking for anything I could find on 19th century painters or Golden Age illustrators.
Before computers and the internet, finding a good art book was like uncovering a vein of gold. In those days, you couldn't find much on Bouguereau, Meissonier, Gerome, or Waterhouse. Sargent was just beginning to come into the light. It seemed worth spending $50 for a book, even if it had only two or three good color reproductions. I would stick yellow tags on the best pages, with the name of the artist written in small letters so I could find them again.
The casual availability of images now is both a blessing and a curse. It makes me treasure each image a little less, perhaps because I haven't spent so much effort on the hunt. Still, I'm grateful to be able to find so many digital images in cyberspace. But I have faith that there's much more to be discovered. The internet may be a million miles wide, but it's only an inch deep when it comes to some artists who have yet to arrive from obscurity.