Auctioneer's copies of the catalogues of the auction house Hugo Helbing

The Munich gallery Hugo Helbing, with branches in Berlin and Frankfurt, was one of the most important auction houses in Germany. From 1887 to 1937, art dealer and auctioneer Hugo Helbing (1863-1938) organized over 800 auctions of collections and art objects of the highest quality. Lavishly illustrated scholarly catalogues were published to accompany the auctions.

Via "German Sales", more than 1,000 hand copies or protocol catalogues of the Helbing Gallery catalogs are now made available. These are copies of the auction catalogues that were enriched with handwritten notes for the internal use of Galerie Helbing before, during, or after an auction. Information on the consignors and buyers of the objects - and thus provenances - can be found in them, as well as the limit, estimated, and hammer prices of the auctioned objects. In addition, information on objects offered or traded "outside the catalogue" is handwritten in the catalogues or enclosed in lists. As a rule, the hand copies thus provide complete and reliable information on all persons involved, the course of events and the results of an auction.

This unique source material on the history of the German art trade is of exceptional importance for many research questions and is currently being digitized and scientifically indexed in the DFG joint project "Unikales Quellenmaterial zum deutschen Kunsthandel: Digitalisierung und Erschließung der Handexemplare der Kataloge des Münchner Auktionshauses Hugo Helbing (1887 bis 1937)" (Unique Source Material on the German Art Trade: Digitization and Indexing of the Hand Copies of the Catalogues of the Munich Auction House Hugo Helbing (1887 to 1937)) of the Zentralinstitut für Kunstgeschichte in Munich (ZI) and the UB Heidelberg in cooperation with the TU Berlin.

The aim is, on the one hand, to digitize and make available online on a sustainable basis the previously known and not yet digitized hand copies of the catalogues of the Munich auction house Hugo Helbing (1895 to 1937) on the servers of Heidelberg University Library. On the other hand, the scientific description of the annotated catalogue copies, a typification and systematization of the auction annotations as well as the development and evaluation of a model for their structured recording based on the Heidelberg annotation tool heiANNO will be carried out within the framework of the project at the ZI in Munich (project duration: January 1, 2021 to February 28, 2022).