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I often write about works of art and am unsure if I'm doing it correctly. What I am trying to express is that if you go to this exhibition you will see artworks by certain artists. Is this correct:

  • The exhibition features works by VALIE EXPORT, Frieda Kahlo and Georgia O'Keeffe.

or

  • The exhibition features works of VALIE EXPORT, Frieda Kahlo and Georgia O'Keeffe. (?)

Does it change anything if I put a "the" in?

  • The exhibition features the works of VALIE EXPORT, Frieda Kahlo and Georgia O'Keeffe.

Does it change if I use "work" instead of "works" or is it the same?

Are both correct or just one? And if so, why?

Really thankful for answers!

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The first version using "by" is correct, but I think the second version using "of" should be

The exhibition features the work of VALIE EXPORT, Frieda Kahlo and Georgia O'Keeffe.

This has work in the singular, because the noun work is being used in a different way. In your first version, the works are the works of art. In the second version, work is used in its more general sense: the output of those artists.

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  • A book is written by an author
  • A painting is painted by a painter.
  • A meal is cooked by a cook or person.

However, there is at least one case, if not more, where one might use OF:

The exhibition showed works of A, B and C.

If you want to emphasize who they "come from", you can use "of". And if there are several artists.

The paintings of Rembrandt, van Eyck and Bosch were not part of the exhibition.

If you want to emphasize the action used to create them, use "by".

  • There is no doubt that this painting was [painted] by Degas.

But please bear this in mind: Often, and "of" will be replaced by a possessive:

  • Picasso's works or Picasso's work were not part of the exhibition in San Diego.
  • Rembrandt's self-portrait is very well known in art circles.

As for work or works, generally, work refers to the action of painting by an artist***or*** a single painting. A work by x means a painting by x [or sculpture].

  • Much work on the painting was done outside.
  • A work of art is a glorious thing.
  • A work by Picasso hung in the hall.
  • Works by Picasso were scattered throughout the mansion.

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