Sales/Auction Catalogs & Provenance Indexes

Resources marked with this symbol are restricted to Columbia affiliates.

Avery Library generally does not collect auction house catalogs, nor do we have a strong collection of price indexes. Such catalogs are collected extensively by several libraries within New York area museums, most notably the Watson Library of the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Frick Art Reference Library. These two libraries also subscribe to a substantial collection of sales catalog indexes online.  Both libraries are open to graduate students with student identification. Undergraduates need an introductory letter from a faculty member. Call ahead to make an appointment, and confirm their hours.


Yelde, Nancy H. The AAM guide to provenance research (2001)
Avery-Fine Arts N7436 Y36


Graves, A. Art Sales. 3 vols. (1918)
Avery-Fine Arts Reference N8680 G78
English paintings, 18th to early 20th cent.

H. Lancour. American Art Auction Catalogues 1785-1942. (1944)
Avery-Fine Arts N3000 AL22

Lugt, F. Les Marques de Collections de Dessins et d'Estampes. (1921) (Online)
Avery-Fine Arts N8380 L96
Classic dictionary of collectors' marks. Good for provenance studies.

Lugt's Répertoire online. (Online)
Provides access to two different databases: the Répertoire online database and the Libraries database. The Répertoire online is the online edition of the Répetoire des catalogues de ventes publiques, by Frits Lugt. Recently discovered catalogues have been added, and corrections to the original work have been made. The database can be consulted both in French and in English. Corrections and additions to the database will be constantly added. The Libraries database provides the opportunity to search through libraries with holdings of art sales catalogues. We also have in paper: Répertoire des Catalogues de Ventes Publiques:1600-1925. 3 vols. (1938 to date). Avery-Fine Arts N3000 AL96

Provenance Research. (Online)
Website at the J. Paul Getty Center for the History of Art and the Humanities, Santa Monica includes: Getty Provenance Index Database, Provenance Research Resources, Guide to Holocaust-era Research Resources, Project for the Study of Collecting and Provenance.  These databases contain indexed transcriptions of materials from auction catalogs and archival inventories of western European works of art, and contain nearly 1,000,000 records that cover the periods from late 16th century to the early 20th century.
Search in CLIO as a phrase keyword: Provenence Index to retrieve a list of books we own produced by the Getty Provenence Index.  One example: Index of Paintings Sold in the During the 19th Century. (1989 to date) Avery-Fine Arts Reference N8680 In2

SCIPIO art and rare books sales/auction catalogs.  (Online)
"Art auction and rare book catalogs for sales from the late sixteenth century to scheduled auctions not yet held. Records include the dates and places of sales, the auction houses, sellers, institutional holdings, and titles of works." Coverage back to 1599.


Art Sales Index
Back to the 1920s.
Online version held at the Frick Museum Art Reference Library

Back to the 1980s.
Available online in the libraries of the Frick Museum, Museum of Modern Art, Metropolitan Museum of Art (Watson Library), and on CD-ROM at the New York Public Library

Available online in the libraries of the Frick Museum, Museum of Modern Art, Metropolitan Museum of Art (Watson Library) and the New York Public Library.

Artsy.  (Online)
Artsy features the world's leading galleries, museum collections, foundations, artist estates, art fairs, and benefit auctions, all in one place. Our growing database of 200,000 images of art, architecture, and design by 25,000 artists spans historical, modern, and contemporary works, and includes the largest online database of contemporary art. Artsy is used by art lovers, museum-goers, patrons, collectors, students, and educators to discover, learn about, and collect art.

AskArt academic. (Online)
A database of information about American artists, including names, birth and death dates, state or local affiliation, fields in which artist worked, book and periodical references to artist, dealers and museums where works may be viewed, auction prices of works, some biographical details, etc. Aims at being an unbiased source of information about the commercial value of each artist's work through a comprehensive system of comparables.

Gordon's Print Price Annual.
Prints back to 1985, photographs back to 1970.
Online version held at the Frick Museum Art Reference Library and the New York Public Library