EBSCO products provide many options for very controlled searching. You can search witin 24 different fields. You can also simply type an artist or subject into the search box and press return.
Cornell, a major painter from the 20th Century returns 3,768 results. While this is a far cry from the 11.8 million that Google turns up, it is still a big numer to work with.
Built into these search results are a variety of tools, or limiters, to help you sift through the results. You can limit the resutls by publication date, source type, subject, publication, and more. Beliow is a detail of the limiter options for the above search:
I often start under subject and see if the artist or subject I am researching has a controlled subject heading that was assigned by a librarian. As you can see, Joseph Cornell has one and checking it will reduce our results by a multiple of 10 (to 358). Essentially, this is reducing the results to articles that are at least mostly about Cornell, as opposed to perhaps just making a passing reference to him. If you want more choices to limit the resutls by you can click on the Show More below each category. Sometimes these can lead you in interesting directions. For instance, Surrealsim and Marcel Duchamp are both options, which may be perhaps two subjects you may want to explore in tandem.
Another way to limit is to restrict the results to Full Text only. Full Text means that there is a link to a PDF or HTML version of the article, rather than just a citation that leads you to the actual print publication. You may find time restraints or location will dictate if you want to limit your results to Full Text only, but be aware that there are many major publications that do not offer their content digitally (Full Text), such as Artforum, and some of them which place what is called an embargo on their content, only allowing certain years to be Full Text.
You can also search within your initial results and combine multiple terms both as keywords or in a variety of different fields. Try varying combinatinos and synomyms if you aren't coming up with much, and always remember that you can consult with a librarian at any point: