"German Sales" in Getty Provenance Index®

As part of the two cooperation projects 2010-2013 and 2013-2019 to digitize the auction catalogs for the years 1901-1945, the two project components created in Berlin and Heidelberg – bibliographic metadata and digital copies – are brought together in the Getty Provenance Index® and thus made searchable at the property level. Targeted searches are possible in two ways:

  • in the Sale Descriptions database, which contains bibliographic information on ca. 8,878 catalogues including the physical locations of copies with handwritten annotations. Search results link the user automatically to records in the Sale Contents database that describe the individual artworks in each auction.
  • in the Sales Contents database, which contains more than 831,738 records for paintings, drawings, and sculptures listed in about 5,000 catalogues from Germany, Austria, and Switzerland. Search results link to the bibliographic information on the corresponding catalogue in the Sales Descriptions database. From there you can return to the digitized auction catalogs from German Sales.

To support targeted searching of the contents of each catalogue, the OCR texts produced in Heidelberg have been parsed automatically into specific data fields for artist’s name, title, dimensions, medium, etc. and then manually edited by Getty Research Institute staff. To ensure better search results, artist names appearing in the auction catalogues were validated against an authority record, and each artwork was classified according to general genre and subject categories. Many of the records include additional information such as the estimated, starting, and selling prices, which have been taken from contemporaneous periodicals such as the Internationale Sammler-Zeitung, Der Kunstmarkt, Weltkunst, Der Kunstwanderer, and Pantheon. Seller and buyer names were transcribed from handwritten annotations in various catalogue copies and relevant archival materials. Of particular value to users is that each record in the Provenance Index is permanently linked to the corresponding digital copy of the Heidelberg offering.