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Art Library Research Guide: Art Sales & Auction Info

Visit this research guide for books, articles, images, websites, and other resources for your art and art history classes.

Sales Information

Major Sources in Print


Mayer, Enrique International Auction Records.

New York: Editions Publisol, 1967 +.

ART REF N8640.I5
Annual listing of international sales by artist name. Divided by medium, and includes artist dates, title of work, size, and price in the currency of the country of sale as well as in dollars.


Fredericksen, Burton B.

The Index of Paintings Sold in the British Isles During the Nineteenth Century.

Santa Barbara: ABC-CLIO, 1988+

ART REF ND47.I5 1988

An ongoing project from the Provenance Index of the Getty Art History Information Project. Includes place, auctioneer, title/subject, seller, buyer, and indicates the presence of annotations in the sales catalogues.


Index of Art Sales Catalogs 1981-1985: A Union List from the SCIPIO Database.

Boston: G.K.Hall, 1987.

ART N7525.I52 1987

Arranged chronologically with a broad subject index. Entries contain date and place of sale, auction house, title, collectors, sellers, and libraries holding the catalogue.


Lancour, Harold. American Art Auction Catalogues 1785-1942: A Union List.

New York: New York Public Library, 1962.

ART Z5939.L252A

Arranged by date of sale, and contains title, auction house/auctioneer, collector/collection, and location of catalogues. No access by artists' names. Numbers from the index are often referred to in provenance lists as "Lancour number."


Lugt, Frits Repertoire des catalogues de ventes publiques interessant d'art ou la curiosite....
The Hague: Nijhoff, 1938-1988.
ART Folio N8650.L8
Catalogues listed chronologically; indexed by date of sale, subdivided by place of sale. No access by individual artists or works of art. Index numbers often referred to in provenance lists as "Lugt number."


New York Public Library Research Guide : Auction Sales Indexes
A guide to auction sale indexes, price guides and catalogs, compiled by the New York Public Library. This guide describes available indexes to auction sales and also lists the Sotheby's and Christie's catalogs available the New York Public Library.


Library Catalogs of Sale Catalogues


Harvard University Fine Arts Library. Catalog of Auction Sales Catalogues.
Boston: G.K.Hall, 1971.
ART REF Z5939.H35
Volume 15 is the auction record. Arranged by auction house, subdivided by date.


Metropolitan Museum of Art. Sales Catalogues.
Boston: G.K.Hall, 1960, vol. 24-25, and Supp. 1962-1977.
ART REF Z881.N6622
Arranged by auction house, subdivided by date of sale. Annotations are indicated. International in scope and dates from the mid-19th century.


Bibliotheque Forney. Catalogues de ventes d'art.
Boston: G.K.Hall, 1972.
ART REF Z5939.P224
Arranged by collectors, place of sale, or date of sale. International in scope with emphasis on 20th-century French titles. Annotations indicated.


Other Sales Information


Benezit, Emmanuel. Dictionnaire critique et documentaire de peintres, sculpteurs, dessinateurs, et graveurs.
Paris; Librairie Grund, 1976.
ART REF N40.B47 1976
Included, within the biographical dictionary, is a partial list of important sales of many artist' work under the heading prix. Includes date and place of sale, title of work and price paid in the monetary unit of the country in which sold. Volume 1 contains an adjustment table for the franc from 1901-1973.


Davenport, R.J. Davenport's Art Reference & Price Guide.
Ventura, CA: Davenport's Art Reference, 2003/4-.
ART REF N8670.D384
Davenport's annual compilation collects auction records from outside of the main auction houses (such as Sotheby's and Christie's) and may therefore include results for lesser-known artists whose work is sold through lesser known auction houses.


Graves, Algernon. Art Sales From Early in the Eighteenth Century to Early in the Twentieth Century.
Reprint ed., New York: Burt Franklin, 1970.
ART N8675.G72
English auction sales arranged by artist.


Guide Mayer: The Art Auctions Dictionary. Paris: Guide Mayer, 1981-1998, 2004-.
ART REF N8640.I5 2005
Mayer's annual guide includes results for thousands of artists whose work is sold through auction houses worldwide. The text includes auction results for multiple media, including paintings, sculptures, photographs, prints, drawings, and watercolors.


Guide to Resources that Identify Artists' Signatures


Caplan, H. H. Classified Directory of Artists Signatures Symbols and Monograms.
Detroit: Gale, 1976.
ART Folio N45.C36 1976b


Castagno, John European Artists: Signatures and Monograpms, 1800- 1990.
Metuchen: Scarecrow, 1990.
ART N45.C38 1990


Castagno, John American Artists: Signatures and Monograms, 1800-1989.
Metuchen: Scarecrow, 1990.
ART N45.C37 1990


Castagno, John Artists' Monograms and Indiscernible Signatures: An International Directory 1800-1991.
Metuchen: Scarecrow, 1991.
ART REF N45.C374 1991


Nagler, G.K. Die Monogrammisten.
Holland: DeGraaf, 1966.
ART N45.N22


Collectors' Marks


Lugt, Frits Les marques de collections de dessins et d'estampes....
Amsterdam: LaHeye, 1956.
ART N8380.L81

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