The new Art Authority for iPad 4.10 is one of Apple’s selections this week for “Best New Apps.” Right up there with the likes of, Hulu and eBay. Thanks, Apple.


A major new release of Art Authority for iPad is now available in the App Store, in conjunction with availability of Apple’s new iOS 9. Art Authority 4.10 takes advantage of iOS 9’s greatly enhanced Spotlight search capabilities to let you use Spotlight search to find artists, locations and periods within the app, and to jump directly into the app at the associated show.

This new Spotlight capability will also make it easier to take advantage of the other major new feature in Art Authority 4.10: the addition of over 200 new artists, bringing the total to well over 1300. And these are not just any old artists. We’ve been engaged for almost a year now in an Internet-based scientific study to rate and rank the western world’s most important painters. The study is ongoing, but the 200+ new artists are the first results.

Spotlight search

Spotlight searching has been part of iOS for a long time, but in iOS 9 it can do a whole lot more, including searching within apps that provide the needed support. Just swipe to the right on the home screen (or down from any icon, as in iOS 8) to get to the Spotlight search screen.

SpotlightBlankThen start typing in your search, and results will appear. Art Authority indexes all of its 1300+ artists and 800+ locations through Spotlight, along with its eight major period rooms.


Tapping on any Art Authority result automatically switches to the app and takes you right to the show on that result.


Art Authority for iPad 4.10 also supports another iOS 9 search-related feature called Universal Links. If you have the app installed, and tap on various links to our community web site (such as one to van Gogh, or the Louvre, or the Baroque period), instead of going to the site, you’ll go to the appropriate place in the app instead, just as with Spotlight search.

New artists (and more!)

Since the first day of the App Store in 2008, Art Authority has endeavored to help users explore the western art world through a carefully curated set of period highlights, artists, and works of art. We have based that curation on various types of Internet analysis, in concert with more traditional art history sources. The procedure for choosing which artists to include, however, has always been somewhat ad hoc and not documented or repeatable. In other words we really couldn’t be sure we were including the most important artists. We probably missed some, and some “less important” artists probably snuck in. (We of course do realize that the term “important” is quite a weighted one, since what is important to some may not be so to others. That is in fact one of the main reasons for our study, to come up with as objective a definition of “important” as we could.)

Since the beginning of the year, we have been engaged in a study to objectively rate and rank the western world’s top painters. And if you think by “top” we mean some sort of elitist club, think again: our study has identified over 20,000 museum-quality western painters for potential inclusion. The study is still underway, and you’ll certainly be hearing more about it in the future (both here and hopefully in an appropriate journal somewhere). For now, we’ve taken over 200 of the top artists from that study who were missing from the app and added them.

And of course when we add artists we include a number of artworks from each of those artists, resulting in an increase of 20,000 works of art which can be accessed by the app (for a total well over 90,000). Much of the credit for adding these additional works goes to the participants in year 5 of our summer intern program.


Art Authority for iPad 4.10 is in the App Store now, and is of course a free upgrade for all current users. Art Authority K-12 for iPad and Art Authority for iPhone 4.10 should be available there shortly, and are also free upgrades. Our free community site includes all the new artists and works.

And in case you’re curious about the new artists, here’s the whole list:

Allston, Washington Cosway, Richard Glackens, William James Madrazo y Garreta, Raimundo de Roussel, Ker-Xavier
Aman-Jean, Edmond Coypel, Antoine Goodall, Frederick Mancini, Antonio Ruskin, John
Amigoni, Jacopo Coypel, Charles-Antoine Grigor’yev, Boris Marcoussis, Louis Russell, John
Anquetin, Louis Crane, Walter Guérin, Pierre Maris, Jacob Henricus Ruszczyc, Ferdynand
Asselyn, Jan Creswick, Thomas Guys, Constantin Marmion, Simon Saint-Aubin, Gabriel de
Assereto, Gioacchino Creti, Donato Hammershøi, Vilhelm Martin, John Sánchez Coello, Alonso
Balke, Peder Crome, John Harlow, George Henry Matejko, Jan Savoldo, Giovanni Girolamo
Barker, Thomas Cruikshank, George Harpignies, Henri-Joseph Maufra, Maxime Schalcken, Godfried
Barry, James Dance-Holland, Nathaniel Haydon, Benjamin Robert Mauve, Anton Schedoni, Bartolomeo
Beardsley, Aubrey Vincent Daniele da Volterra Hayman, Francis McCubbin, Frederick Schiavone, Andrea
Benson, Ambrosius Daniell, Thomas Hayter, George Miereveld, Michiel Jansz. van Seghers, Gerard
Bergognone, Ambrogio Daubigny, Charles François Hébert, Antoine Auguste Ernest Montagna, Bartolomeo Séraphine
Besnard, Albert Davies, Arthur Bowen Henner, Jean Jacques Monticelli, Adolphe Shannon, Charles Haslewood
Biagio d’Antonio De Wint, Peter Hicks, Edward Moore, Albert Joseph Shannon, James Jebusa
Bicci di Lorenzo Decamps, Alexandre-Gabriel Holl, Frank Morland, George Siberechts, Jan
Blanchard, Jacques Dedreux, Alfred Hondecoeter, Melchior de Morris, William Solomon, Simeon
Blanche, Jacques-Emile Delaunay, Robert Horsley, John Callcott Morse, Samuel Finley Breese Stanfield, Clarkson
Boccaccino, Boccaccio Denis, Simon Joseph Alexander Clément Hovenden, Thomas Moser, Kolo Stella, Jacques
Bonnat, Léon Detaille, Jean Baptiste Edouard Huet, Paul Müller, William James Sustris, Lambert
Both, Jan Devéria, Eugène Hunt, William Morris Mulready, William Thaulow, Fritz
Brabazon, Hercules Brabazon Diaz de la Peña, Narcisse Virgile Isabey, Eugène Nasmyth, Patrick Thoma, Hans
Bracquemond, Félix Dietrich, Christian Wilhelm Ernst Israëls, Jozef Natoire, Charles-Joseph Thulden, Theodor van
Breenbergh, Bartholomeus Doesburg, Theo van Jacopo da Empoli Neroccio di Bartolommeo de’ Landi Tiffany, Louis Comfort
Bruce, Patrick Henry Drost, Willem Jacque, Charles Émile Nittis, Giuseppe de Tocqué, Louis
Buck, Adam Drouais, François Hubert Jarvis, John Wesley Northcote, James Tonks, Henry
Calame, Alexandre Duck, Jacob Jawlensky, Alexei Ochtervelt, Jacob Troyon, Constant
Caldecott, Randolph Ducreux, Joseph John, Gwen Opie, John Valadon, Suzanne
Cappelle, Jan van de Dupré, Jules Khnopff, Fernand Orpen, William Valenciennes, Pierre Henri de
Cappiello, Leonetto Duyster, Willem Cornelisz. Købke, Christen Palmezzano, Marco Vanderlyn, John
Carducho, Vicente Earl, Ralph La Fresnaye, Roger de Pascin, Jules Vedder, Elihu
Carracci, Agostino Eastlake, Charles Lock Labille-Guiard, Adélaïde Pasini, Alberto Verspronck, Jan
Carrière, Eugène Eckersberg, C. W. Lacombe, Georges Pasternak, Leonid Victors, Jan
Carus, Carl Gustav Edelfelt, Albert Laer, Pieter van Pellegrini, Giovanni Antonio Vien, Joseph-Marie, the elder
Casilear, John William Eilshemius, Louis Michel Lance, George Pennell, Joseph Vignon, Claude
Castiglione, Giuseppe Everdingen, Allart van Lane, Fitz Hugh Perino del Vaga Vincent, François André
Catena, Vincenzo di Biagio Field, Erastus Salisbury Lavery, John Pesellino Vollon, Antoine
Catlin, George Filippo Napoletano Lely, Peter Petitjean, Hippolyte Ward, James
Cazes, Pierre Jacques Flandrin, Hippolyte-Jean Leslie, Charles Robert Phillips, Ammi Watson, John Dawson
Charlet, Nicolas-Toussaint Forain, Jean Louis Levy, Emile Picot, François-Edouard Westall, Richard
Chinnery, George Fortuny y Carbó, Mariano José María Bernardo Lhermitte, Léon-Augustin Pierre, Jean Baptiste Marie Wijnants, Jan
Cogniet, Léon Fragonard, Alexandre-Evariste Ligozzi, Jacopo Pitati, Bonifazio de’ Wilson, Richard
Collier, Edwaert Frost, William Edward Linnell, John Polidoro da Caravaggio Wood, Christopher
Colman, Samuel Gandolfi, Gaetano Lippo Memmi Pot, Hendrik Yakovlev, Aleksandr
Constant, Jean Joseph Benjamin Garofalo Lissitzky, El Potter, Beatrix Yeames, William Frederick
Cooke, Edward William Gérard, Marguerite Loo, Carle van Regnault, Jean-Baptiste Zoppo, Marco
Cooper, Thomas Sidney Gifford, Robert Swain Loo, Jean-Baptiste van Ribot, Théodule Zuloaga, Ignacio
Coorte, Adriaen Gillot, Claude Loo, Louis Michel van Roslin, Alexander
Cope, Charles West Gilpin, Sawrey Mackintosh, Charles Rennie Rotari, Pietro
Coques, Gonzales Giroux, André Maclise, Daniel Rousseau, Théodore


For the fourth year in a row, Apple is featuring Art Authority in a Back to School Promotion. This year both Art Authority for iPad and Art Authority for iPhone are featured in the App Store’s new “Kickstart Your School Year” campaign:

Whether you’re starting grade school, finishing your last year of high school, or even teaching a course, this comprehensive collection covers a wide variety of subjects and grade levels to help you start the year on the right foot.

Art Authority is featured near the start of the “Art & Creativity” sections. The apps are particularly useful when combined with the “Lesson Ideas” Apple introduced as part of their “Real World Learning” area (where Art Authority K-12 for iPad is highlighted).

One of the many, many reasons we’re happy to see Art Authority in the new promotion is that it shows that Apple and we are on the same page when it comes to the importance of art education. It was Steve Jobs himself who first talked about the importance of the intersection of technology and liberal arts. Although we were already in complete agreement at the time, we’ve taken what he said to heart and have concentrated even more on that area. Art Authority K-12 and our now wrapping-up fifth year of the Art Authority Summer Internship program are two great examples.

Thanks Steve, thanks Apple, thanks interns, and thanks everyone here at Art Authority.

Today Apple is introducing a new collection in the Education section of the App Store entitled “Real-World Learning.” We’re honored that our Art Authority K-12 for iPad app is one of the five titles they’re featuring. For each app in the collection, Apple has created a free set of lesson plans tailored towards real-world learning with that app. In our case, their multimedia iBook “Art Authority Lesson Ideas” provides specialized plans for ages 5-12, 12-14 and 14-18. And the lessons are not just about art. Art Authority is used as the jumping off point for lessons about Literacy, Social Studies, and History too.


The plans include both app-based and real-world activities, such as museum visits, poem writing, and drawing. One activity is specifically based on Picasso’s The Old Guitarist, and another is about the impact of the Byzantine Empire. Objectives, overviews and even rubrics are provided for each activity, along with the activity details.

Apple feels that the benefits of the plans include:

  • Enriching the classroom with works of world-famous artists
  • Enabling comparison of works within the app, and to real life
  • Engaging students and building anticipation by exploring artists before visiting real art museums
  • Inspiring work in other subjects.

This is not the first time that Apple has featured our app in a high visibility education event. It was also called out by Phil Schiller as one of seven “amazing” iPad educational apps in a Special Educational Event at the Guggenheim Museum, and has been featured in a number of Apple’s Back to School programs.

We love it that Apple loves our app. As Apple continues changing the world in incredibly meaningful ways, it’s nice to know that we’re helping out too.

Year 5 of the Art Authority Summer Intern Program kicked off earlier this week. For the first time, orientation was held through a couple of multi-person Google Hangouts. Over a dozen interns participated, with the sessions led by Art Authority’s intern manager Celia. Art Authority’s president, Alan, also dropped in. We expect close to 20 interns by the time they all get started.


The kickoff was very successful. Interns could see each other and Art Authority staff, as they shared a bit about themselves, learned details of what they would be doing over the summer, and asked questions. Google Hangout was particularly appropriate, not just because it enhances the way interns can learn and interact, but also because it serves as a great example of one of the main goals of the program: helping modern-day art majors become familiar with Internet-based tools that will be essential to many of their jobs in “the real world.”

The Art Authority Summer Intern Program is in fact structured around this goal of getting ready for the current-day Internet-enhanced real world. Interns work from their dorm rooms, home offices, or other location of choice, with the principal requirement being a good Internet connection. They use, and thus become intimately familiar with important Internet tools like Google drive, Google docs, and Skype as key parts of their day-to-day activities. Not to mention using and becoming familiar with apps in general and our industry-leading Art Authority app line in particular. And they learn how to structure and allocate their time in a “non-traditional” office environment.

Of course being art majors, we also want them to learn about art, while helping to enhance our art apps at the same time. This year the Intern Program is focusing on less well-known, but still significant, western artists, none of whom are currently in the Art Authority collection. Using mainly Internet-based information sources, each intern will be become familiar with a different set of these artists, and help us in adding a number of works by each artist to the app. In the process, we hope they will gain invaluable insights into the artists involved, but more importantly into the Internet-era processes that go into creating a leading-edge modern-day art resource like Art Authority.

Stay tuned for more about the program throughout the summer.

Today, on the heels of our app’s and the iPad’s 5th anniversary, we are announcing year 5 of our very successful summer intern program. As we discussed two years ago in this blog, the Art Authority Summer Intern Program offers art and art history majors a 21st century alternative to traditional art docent internships. By working on our cutting-edge app and database, technology-focused students gain experience with and exposure to a set of tools they’ll need as “art goes digital.”

We here at Art Authority have learned a lot over the past five years, both as far as how to run the intern program and as far as what’s needed to keep the app line on top. And it’s been working, as exemplified by this recent review.

Students have learned a lot too, gained credit towards their major, and even found jobs as a result of the program (one of them works here!). And of course it’s not just the Art Authority app now, but also Art Authority K-12Art Alert and Even an iBook. So we’re really looking forward to another great and meaningful summer for all concerned.

If you or anyone you know is curious about the program, please check out the Summer Intern Program Web site for more information and an application form. The number of spaces are limited, so anyone interested should apply as soon as possible.


Five years ago today Apple shipped the iPad, and Open Door Networks shipped Art Authority for iPad. And the rest is history. And art.

The New York Times called the iPad “a completely new experience — and a deeply satisfying one.” And it called Art Authority “an experience unlike any other.” In our day-one announcement we said the two were clearly made for each other, and we were right. Within the first few days, the app was in the top 100 grossing app list, just below Angry Birds!


Over the past five years, Apple has made numerous enhancements to the iPad, and created a family of devices. Likewise we have evolved Art Authority, and created a product line. Here’s some of what we’ve done:

  • The app (and the iPad) proved an immediate hit in schools. Seton Hill University, among many others, has been using the app since 2010.
  • Our age appropriate K-12 version, specifically requested by teachers, has been popular as well. We also have a free iBook, “Exploring Art with Art Authority.”
  • We have nearly doubled the number of works the app provides access to, from 40,000 five years ago to over 75,000 now.
  • When Apple introduced the retina display, we not only added a number of high-resolution images to take advantage of it, but also introduced our new SmArt Resolution technology so the larger images wouldn’t slow things down.
  • We’ve added link to articles on thousands of individual works, and videos for hundreds more.
  • We’ve added major new technologies and features such as Art Like This, Art Real Size, and Art Near Me.
  • We’ve sponsored a summer intern program for art majors, year five of which will be starting shortly.
  • The app was twice named best iPad reference app of the year by Apple. It has often been in the top 10 on the App Store, and was number one in Japan at one point for a whole week.

Not bad. So what will the next five years bring? Well, to start with, how’s this: today only, Art Authority for iPad is FREE!

Today is the 20th anniversary of the founding of Open Door Networks, the parent company of Art Authority. We are very proud of our 20 years creating great app(lication)s for Apple devices.

Open Door Networks is an Internet company, and always has been. As such we have had to grow and change with the Net, as well as with Apple (the company that gave our founder his start and us our focus). It has been an interesting evolution:

  • We started as a Macintosh dial-up Internet Service Provider, then helped our home town of Ashland Oregon build and run the ahead-of-its-time Ashland Fiber Network.
  • We have been a server application provider, helping the Apple community out with utilities for many early Mac-based Web and other servers.
  • We have been a Macintosh-based web hosting service.
  • We have been a developer of Internet security software, for Apple, Symantec and ourselves.
  • We have created over 100 iPhone and iPad apps, including day-one apps for both devices.
  • We are now the developer of the number one classic art app out there.

Quite the ride! What’s next?

We are pleased to announce the immediate availability of an iPhone version of our award-winning Art Authority for iPad app. Of course, some of you may be wondering: isn’t there already a version of Art Authority for iPhone? Well there was, but that version was not based on Art Authority for iPad (an experience unlike any other, according to the New York Times).

The original version of Art Authority for iPhone did use the same database of over 70,000 paintings and sculptures as the iPad version, but other than that it was quite a different animal. Long-time Art Authority fans may remember that the previous iPhone version was derived directly from our original day-one iPhone app, iEnvision. The iPad app, on the other hand, was a from-scratch re-design, specifically targeted for Apple’s new, magic iPad, and also available on day one of that device.

We have been quite busy since the iPad’s introduction over four years ago now. With help from our summer intern program, we’ve nearly doubled the number of works in the database, and added thousands of article links. We’ve pioneered many ground-breaking features, such as Art Real Size and Art Near Me. At teachers’ requests, we’ve come out with an iPad version specifically for the K-12 environment. Not to mention a Macintosh version and our related Art Alert app. And we’ve received many awards :-)

We have not, over that time, devoted much effort to the original iPhone version, beyond minor updates for iOS 4, 5, 6 and 7. The iPad just seemed so much the better platform for looking at great works of art. Things changed significantly, however, with Apple’s recent introduction of the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus. Although not quite a retina display iPad, these two phones are getting close to the iPad mini in terms of display and capabilities. And they clearly surpass the iPad in terms of mobility (one of the main focuses of the new Art Authority for iPhone).

To bring the iPhone app up to snuff, and to enable the addition of new mobility and iOS 8 features, a complete re-write was needed. The new Art Authority for iPhone app is based on Art Authority for iPad, with added mobility features mainly from our Art Alert app.

AAiPhone     AAiPhone2

     Art Authority for iPhone screenshotArt Authority for iPhone screenshot

Here is an overview of what to expect:

  • Access to the same 70,000+ works from 1000+ artists
  • The same 8 periods, period highlights and shuffle by period
  • The same access to in-depth information on each artist
  • An improved gallery-like, scrolling thumbnail view
  • NEW: Access by location (museum) as well as by period and artist
  • NEW: Detailed location maps, address and other info on over 800 locations
  • NEW: Art Near Me: find art wherever you find yourself
  • NEW: Art Real Size: instantly see and understand the actual size of works
  • NEW: Thousands of articles on specific pieces, and on all locations
  • NEW: Search by title
  • NEW: Save works to Favorites
  • NEW: Keep track of works you’ve seen in real life
  • NEW: Share works through AirDrop, mail and social networks
  • Major speed improvements. including caching

Of course Art Authority for iPhone 4.0, which requires iOS 7.1 or later, is a free upgrade from the previous version, and is available immediately in the App Store (80%-off for the introduction this Thanksgiving weekend!). And we’re certainly not done yet. The new code base gives us plenty of room to grow. Art Authority for iPad fans may notice a few features still missing from the iPhone version. Look for these and other additional items in the months ahead.


One of our big goals with Art Authority for iPad is to provide you with a great museum-like art viewing experience. One of our major innovations in this area is Art Real Size, which lets you quickly and intuitively understand the size of a work of art, just as you do in a museum. We designed and implemented Art Real Size, like many of our other Art Authority features, by imitating life:


Works well, right?

Just as Art Authority imitates life, Paul Collins, principal developer for the Art Authority app line, had the opportunity to have life imitate Art Authority. While visiting the Philadelphia Museum of Art, he had this picture taken:


Yes, that’s him standing in front of the real-life version of A Reading from Homer by Sir Lawrence Alma-Tadema. Looks familiar?