The Getty Provenance Index®

The Getty Provenance Index ® databases unite and expand the two project components created in Berlin and Heidelberg, i.e. bibliography and digitized catalogues. Users are able to perform targeted searches 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.

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 the link provided in each Sales Content record to the exact page where the artwork appears in the PDF version of the catalogue on the Heidelberg University Library's website.