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Art Markets & Art Sales: Auction Information

Course guide for ARTHST 231, ECON 344, VMS242

Auction databases (Aggregate or compiled databases)

CONTEMPORARY - auction price information going back to the late 20th century.\

Blouin Art Sales Index  Over 3.5 million auction records for paintings, prints, photographs, sculpture, works on paper, and miniatures dating back to the 1920s. Over 200,000 artists from more than 500 auction houses worldwide are represented.

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Getty Provenance Index - Collection of digitally transcribed art sales records. Best for historic research. Includes: 

  • Archival Inventories from private collections in the Netherlands, Italy, Spain, and France from 1550 to 1840;
  • Sales Catalogs, from major cities in Belgium, France, Germany, Great Britain, the Netherlands, and Scandinavia from 1650 to 1945 and German Sales Catalogs from 1930 to 1945;
  •  Goupil & Cie Stock Books, 43,700 records transcribed from the 15 stock books of Goupil & Cie/Boussod, Valadon & Cie;
  • Payments to Artists, 1,000 recorded payments to artists made in Rome between 1576 and 1711;
  • Public Collections, descriptions and provenances of paintings created by artists born before 1900 held by public institutions in Great Britain and the United States  1500 to 1990.

Dictionnaire des ventes d'art faites en France et à l'étranger pendant les XVIIIme & XIXme siècles  HathiTrust and in print (see below) 

Scipio - library catalog record for (essentially) every auction catalog in the world.  No enduser data, however.  Useful for tracking down sales and provenance from records not digitized.  Most catalogs could be obtained through Document Delivery.


Fee-based (though some info is free)

Auction Printed Sources - at Duke

International auction records. Vol. [1] (1967-1996). [Paris] Editions Mayer.  Lilly N8640 .I5 -  all media.  Each volume is a single year of auctions.

World collectors annuary (WCA). Vol. 1 (1946/49)- 1995.  Delft, Brouwer.  Lilly ND47 .W6 - best retrospective data for 20th century.  Paintings only.

“The Mireur Dictionary(Dictionnaire des ventes d'art faites en France et à l'étranger pendant les XVIIIme & XIXme siècles) Library Service Center N8675 .M6 1911   and full-text HathiTrust.  Series containing Art Sales from the 18th and 19th century (focus on France). Sorted by artist, it provides both the prices and names of buyers.

Davenport’s art reference & price guide.  8th ed., 1996/97   Folsom, Calif. : Davenport’s Art Reference, c1994.  Lilly Reference N8675 .D38 1994 - wide variety of media and geographical auctions.  Unfortunately, Duke only holds a few years, most complete run is at UNC Chapel Hill.

Subject Guide

Lee Sorensen's picture
Lee Sorensen
Box 90727
Lilly Library