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The Art Sales Catalogues Project
Based on Frits Lugt's Répertoire des Catalogues de Ventes Publiques intéressant l'Art ou la Curiosité.

A rich source for art historians
Art sales and auction catalogues of previous centuries offer one of the most important resources for the study of the history of collecting, as well as a primary means of establishing a work of art's history and provenance. There are some sale catalogues which have survived intact since the early seventeenth century, but the practice of issuing such catalogues really began to come into its own from around the end of the same century. Since then, the number of catalogues issued has grown steadily year by year. Many sales catalogues, especially the older ones from the seventeenth, eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, have become extremely rare and for some of these only one or two copies have survived. Because these sometimes contain marginal notes concerning the lots, prices and purchasers, researchers are often forced to go in search of information in libraries spread all over the world.

The systematic filming of original catalogues offers researchers optimal access to the catalogues, while also making a significant contribution to their conservation.

Since 1987, IDC Publishers (an imprint of BRILL since 2006) has been filming art sales catalogues in many different libraries and published them on microfiche. Of certain catalogues more than one copy has been filmed due to different annotations or translated editions.

In 2004 the microfiches of the Art Sales Catalogues collection have been scanned. The collection is since then available as an online publication. New additions are scanned from the original catalogues.

It is BRILL's intention that the Art Sales Catalogues collection will eventually comprise all catalogues from the period between 1600 and 1900. BRILL will continue to supplement the collection by scanning catalogues from this period in libraries all over the world.

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