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Provenance Research Resources

A guide to Getty Library archives at related to provenance, the art market, and the history of collecting.

Selected Collections

Agnew stockbooks, 1879-1939, sale books, 1872-1938; received books 1887-1938; picture stockbooks, 1853-1879; drawing stockbooks 1852-1938, microfiche only.

Altounian-Lorbet Antiquaires, study photographs of sculpture and decorative arts, 1910-1950

Arntz, Wilhelm F., papers, 1918-1983
German lawyer and art writer. Comprehensive collection covering a broad range of subjects on 20th-century German art, especially German expressionism. Of particular interest are research files on "degenerate art" including correspondence, copies of official documents, campaign for the recovery of confiscated art, publications, miscellaneous notes and photographs, and galley proofs.

Böhler, Julius, index card file, 1904-1940, photocopy only.

Brame et Lorenceau, entrybook and stockbooks, 1887-1936, microfilm only.
Paris art dealers closely associated in their early years with the Manet family. The firm continued to specialize in French 19th-century works.

Brummer, Ernest, study photographs of medieval and Renaissance art from the Ernest Brummer Collection at the Duke University Museum of Art
These photographs document the 270 works of medieval and Renaissance art that remained in the collection of the New York art dealer Ernest Brummer at his death. The collection was acquired by the Duke University Musem of Art in 1966.

Bünemann, Hermann, letters received, 1928-1968
German art historian and critic. Collection of letters from artists, art historians, and dealers.

Carlhian, 1867-1975
Records of Paris-based decorator firm including ledgers, stock-books, building blueprints, furniture designs, correspondence, 14,000 photographs, fabric samples, and records of operations.

Colnaghi, photographs of European drawings, 1952-1976
Study photographs reproduce European master drawings, chiefly from the 17th-19th centuries, that sold through the dealer P. & D. Colnaghi & Co., London, during the period 1952-1976.

Colnaghi, private journals, 1894-1908; various ledgers, ca.1894-1959; various picture stockbooks and cards, 1894-1950; drawing stockbooks, 1911-1950; waste books, 1911-1951, microfiche only.

Cooper, Douglas, papers, ca. 1933-1985
Douglas Cooper pursued a long career as art critic, curator, and collector, producing numerous books, catalogs, articles, and reviews. He also amassed a distinguished collection of early cubist paintings. The collection embraces all papers relating to Cooper's career that remained with his estate at the time of his death, including material documenting Cooper's tenure at the Mayor Gallery and his investigation of Nazi art collections.

Dieterle family records of French art galleries, 1846-1986 (Goupil; Boussod, Valadon & Co.; Tedesco Frères; Arnold et Tripp; Allard et Noel; Galerie Georges Petit)
This collection comprises various portions of archives acquired by the Dieterle family as they built their business and developed expertise on Corot. Included are account ledgers, photographs and glass negatives of paintings, and exhibition and auction catalogs, most of which are annotated and accompanied by newspaper clippings and other ephemera giving the results of sales.

Duits Ltd. records
London art gallery dealing in Old Master paintings, with a special interest in Dutch and Flemish works, many originally handled in association with their Amsterdam gallery, which closed in 1938. The London gallery closed in 1985.

Durlacher Bros. records, 1919-1973
These are the records of the Durlacher Brothers' New York branch, which was managed, then later owned, by R. Kirk Askew, ca. 1923-ca. 1969. Included are stockbooks, correspondence, financial records, photographs, exhibition records, Askew's appointment books, an index card file, and newspaper clippings about the gallery.

Duveen Bros. records 1876-1981, bulk 1909-1964, microfilm only.
The records, which include cables and letters, invoices, and ledger and stock books, provide a detailed view of the Duveen Brothers business activities in London, Paris, and New York. The bulk of the material dates from Joseph Duveen's tenure as president of the firm, 1909-1939, and the period 1939-1964 when Edward Fowles directed the firm (with Armand Lowengard until 1943).

Felbermeyer photos for the allied Central Collecting Point, Munich, ca. 1945-ca. 1949
Photographs taken by Johannes Felbermeyer for the allied Central Collecting Point (CCP) in Munich. These images document the process of repatriation of works of art after World War II, depicting both the people involved and approximately 500 European paintings and sculptures of known and unknown provenance.

Fine Arts (Special Services): Dutch Restitution Committee Detailed Interrogation Report No. 1 : Kajetan Mühlmann and the Dienststelle Mühlmann (typescript), 1945 Dec. 25
A detailed report (marked "Confidential") prepared by Jean Vlug of the Royal Netherlands Army, on the activities of the Dienststelle Mühlmann, the group led by Kajetan Mühlmann, which was responsible for obtaining works of art for Hitler, Göring, and other Nazi officials. The report includes inventories of art objects purchased (with prices), stolen, or confiscated in areas under German occupation. Includes complete photocopy.

French & Company photographic archive of fine and decorative arts, 1920-1968
Mitchell Samuels founded the firm of French and Company in New York in 1907. Over the next fifty years his company became the chief purchasing agent for William Randolph Hearst and J. Paul Getty. They were also agents and decorators for the Huntingtons, Fricks, Mellons, and Astors, among other prominent collectors. The collection includes photographs of paintings, drawings, tapestries, decorative arts, sculpture, and furniture from the eastern and western worlds. Of particular interest to decorative arts scholars, this archive is one of the few sources of primary documentation for collections assembled in the United States in the early 20th century.

French & Company photographs, 1915-1998 (bulk 1950-1969)
The collection contains the assorted photographs and negatives of French & Company that were still in the possession of Spencer A. Samuels & Company in 1999. The collection comprises photographs of works of art-primarily paintings and drawings-that were sold by or passed through French & Company, for the most part between 1950 and 1969.

French & Company records, 1915-1998 (bulk 1950-1969)
The collection contains the assorted business records of French & Company that were still in the possession of Spencer A. Samuels & Company in 1999. Records include investment reports and other financial papers; business correspondence, including board minutes; and correspondence regarding professional appraisals and sales, with some photographs of art objects. Several of the sales files relate to tapestries. Reports and publicity photographs document the firm's reorganization in the context of a changing clientele and art market.

French & Company stocksheets and ledgers, 1909-1968
Stock sheets, stock books, ledgers, and assorted papers document the objects, primarily decorative arts pieces, bought and sold by this New York dealer. Photographs and negatives formerly part of these papers can be found in the repository's Photo Study Collection.

Galleria dell'Ariete records, ca.1955-1980
The complete collection of business records of the Galleria dell'Ariete, Milan. It includes business correspondence; photographic documentation of the individual works of art exhibited, business diaries and financial records, registration records, press clippings, exhibition catalogs, and a card index of stock sales.

Galerie Bonnier/Svensk-Franska Konstgalleriet, 1918-1997
Complete business records of the Galerie Bonnier, Geneva, Switzerland (1961-1997), and the Svensk-Franska Konstgalleriet, Stockholm, Sweden (1918-1974). The combined galleries dealt impressionism, postimpressionism, cubism, German expressionism, and early abstract art.

Galerie Paul Maenz records, 1956-1991 (bulk 1970-90)
Papers and photographs collected in conjunction with the exhibition and publishing activities of Galerie Paul Maenz, Cologne, Germany, the bulk of which spans from its opening in 1970 to 1990, the year it closed. The collection documents the gallery's extensive involvement with artists working in conceptualism, the trans-avantgarde, and German neo-expressionism.

Hall, Ardelia, records (microform of National Archives and Records Administration, NARA holdings)
Fine Arts Officer, United States State Department, following World War II. Microfilm copy of the front face of over 50,000 property cards created for the allied Central Collecting Point, Munich, to document the restitution of works of art stolen during World War II. Each card records data for an individual art object, such as medium, subject, size, condition, identifying marks, description, and presumed owner; some cards are illustrated with a small photograph.

Heim Gallery records, 1965-1990
The archive contains the records of the Heim Gallery and the research files of Andrew S. Ciechanowiecki. Between 1987 and1990, a portion of the Heim Gallery business was conducted under the name Old Masters (Painting and Sculptures) Ltd., and these records are included. The archive includes photographs, card index, correspondence with private collectors, art historians, and major museums, research files, financial ledgers, clippings, and publicity files.

Held, Julius S., papers, ca.1928-1998
Julius Samuel Held, born in 1905, was an art historian who was best known for his work on Peter Paul Rubens. The archive includes photographic documentation of Northern European art and artists such as Peter Paul Rubens, Anthony van Dyck, Jacob Jordaens, and Rembrandt; lectures on connoisseurship, artistic practices, collecting, and patronage; travel notebooks; professional and scholarly correspondence with scholars, dealers, and artists; unpublished public lectures; research notes; occasional papers; papers relating to the Museo de Arte de Ponce, Puerto Rico, where Held was a consultant; photographs and x-rays (published and unpublished) with accompanying research notes.

Interviews with art historians
Useful for Holocaust-era research, particulary oral history interviews with Crag Hugh Smyth and Otto Wittmann, for historical background regarding recuperation and restitution of looted art.

Kasmin Limited records, ca.1960-1977
Complete records of the gallery Kasmin Limited including correspondence, business records (invoices, stockbooks, ledgers, artists' contracts, and office diaries), scrapbooks of press clippings, visitors' books, printed matter (catalogs, invitations, and ephemera), and photographic documentation (black and white prints, slides, and transparencies of work handled by the gallery or on exhibit).

Kirchner, Ernst Ludwig, 1880-1938
German artist. Collection includes twelve letters and postcards from Kirchner, 1916-1932, discussing professional and personal matters, two sketchbooks, manuscript writings, a copybook with an exhibition outline, photographs of his work, press clippings and an inventory of his library. The archive includes materials about the Third Reich's sale of works of art.

Knoedler, M., & Co. records, ca. 1848–1971
Illuminating the operations of one of America's oldest and most preeminent art galleries, this archive adds remarkable unpublished resources to the Research Institute's collections related to the history of taste, the art market, collecting, and patronage. Learn more.

Komor, Mathias, photographic archive, ca. 1940-1984
The collection contains materials assembled by Mathias Komor, an art dealer in New York City from the 1930s until his death in 1984, providing a record of objects that passed through one of the first New York dealers to handle ancient and primitive art.

Laemmle, Siegfried and Walter, Photographs documenting the Laemmle art business, 1894-1990s.
Collection of glass negatives, photographs, and tearsheets assembled by prominent art dealers Siegfried and Walter Laemmle in the course of pursuing business in Munich and Los Angeles. Almost all of the glass negatives and many of the prints record objects that passed through Siegfried Laemmle's Munich shops over a 40-year period. Most of the works depicted are late medieval and early Renaissance sculptures, including several by Tilman Riemenschneider.

Liège (Belgium), Musée des beaux-arts papers relating to "entartete Kunst," 1939-1948
Papers relating to the purchase of "degenerate art" by Jules Bosmant at the auction in Lucerne organized by the German government.

Nystad Oude Kunst records, 1958-1994
A four-generation family business dealing in art and antiques for the past 128 years. From its early specialization in antique furniture and decorative arts, the firm went on to become one of the foremost dealers in Holland for European paintings, primarily Dutch 17th-century paintings and drawings. Correspondence, financial records, and photographs representing an exhaustive record of all the firm's dealings with collectors, museums, exhibitions, and trade associations, 1958-1994.

Oude Kunst Gallery records ca. 1930-1995
Gallery owned and operated by the Cramer family. Contains comprehensive correspondence with museums, dealers, clients, and art historians, as well as financial records covering the acquisition, shipment, conservation, and sale of paintings.

Pope-Hennessy, John Wyndham, Sir, papers, ca. 1900-1994
Sir John Wyndham Pope-Hennessy (1913-1994), art historian of Italian Renaissance painting and sculpture, was educated at Oxford and became director of the Victoria and Albert Museum (1967-1973) and the British Museum (1974-1976). He moved to the United States in 1977 to become consulting chairman of European painting for the Metropolitan Museum in New York (1977-1986) and was concurrently a professor at the Institute of Fine Arts at New York University. The papers of Sir John Wyndham Pope-Hennessy include black-and-white and color study photographs of Italian Renaissance paintings, drawings, and sculpture; correspondence and photographs from dealers and collectors and other professional correspondence; personal correspondence; pocket agendas (calendars); notebooks; press clippings; reprints, articles, manuscripts of published and unpublished works; research notes; notes and drafts of lectures; and business files.

Project for the Study of Collecting and Provenance Collectors' files, 16th-21st century
An archive of 25,000 paper files containing information on collectors of art from the 16th to the 20th century. The files include art dealers' records, book manuscripts, journal articles, archival documents, handwritten travel diaries, notes of art historians, and other materials.

Roh, Franz, correspondence and miscellaneous papers, ca. 1911-1965
German art historian and pioneering critic of the 20th-century avant-garde, who took an interest in the study and development of photography as an art form. In addition, he served as faculty at a number of institutions, including the University of Munich. Collection consists primarily of letters received from more than 1,000 correspondents, ca. 1911-1965. There is extensive discussion of "de-Nazification" and of the personal history of correspondents during the Holocaust era.

Roland and Delbanco stockbooks, 1930-1944; Roland, Browse and Delbanco, 1944-1977.

Seligmann, François-Gérard, photographs of fine and decorative arts
Jacques Seligmann founded the firm of Jacques Seligmann & fils in Paris at the end of the 19th century. With the split into two independent galleries in 1912, a second office, Jacques Seligmann & Co., Inc., was opened in New York. The business was reunited after World War II. The photographic archive contains materials and information from both Paris and New York offices.

Schaeffer Galleries records, 1925-1980
Records cover portions of the Berlin gallery operation,1925-1939, and the New York gallery, 1939-1980, and include correspondence (bulk 1950s-1980); client files (from the 1930s); inventory sheets and indices; photographs of art with records of sale, expertise, and provenance; photograph albums and catalogs documenting gallery exhibitions and the Le Roy M. Backus collection of drawings.

Schardt, Alois Jakob, papers, 1917-1983
German art historian and museum director. Former director of the Moritzburg Museum in Halle, Schardt was appointed director of the National Gallery in Berlin in 1933, replacing Ludwig Justic, who was forced from his job by the Nazis. Schardt was dismissed within months, and his newly-hung galleries, like those of Justi before him, were not opened to the public. Later he was forbidden to teach at the University of Halle, to speak in public, or to publish. He left for the United States in 1940, bringing some installation photographs with him. Schardt's Nachlass documents part of the Nazis' Kulturkampf against expressionist art in the 1930s.

Schweitzer, Mac R., late 1960s-1970s

Smith, John, stock books, 1822-1850; account books, 1863-1876 and 1884-1895; day books, 1812-1821 and 1839-1848.

Stora Art Galleries stock sheets, ledger and auction catalog, 1937-1963
Raphael Stora was an art dealer in Paris and New York, primarily handling sculpture and decorative arts. Contents of two clip binders containing ca. 529 stock sheets from the fine art dealer Stora Art Galleries, Inc., and dated 1937-1963. The stock sheets are typescript and handwritten inventories or transaction records arranged alphabetically by purchaser and show date, price of sale, and provenance of acquisitions.

Tooth, Arthur & Sons, stock inventories and accounts, 1871-1959
The Tooth archive furnishes extensive documentation over a 90-year period on the workings of a major London-based art dealership in the 19th and 20th centuries.

Vose Gallery, account books, 1871-1887; invoice books, 1896-1954; exhibitions records, 1911-1982; sale books, 1876-1894, microfiche.

Waterhouse, Ellis K., notebooks and research files (bulk 1924-1979)
British art historian and writer, museum director, editor, teacher, and connoisseur. Director, National Galleries of Scotland, 1947-1952; the Barber Institute, Birmingham, 1952-1970. Collection documents Waterhouse's scholarly career. A major part of the archive consists of 67 notebooks, maintained from 1924 until his death in 1985, in which he recorded in detail every work of art seen in his travels in Europe, the United Kingdom, and the United States.

Wittmann, Otto, collection of papers relating to the Art Looting Investigation unit of the U.S. War Department's Office of Strategic Services, 1945-1946
Director of the Toledo (Ohio) Museum of Art during World War II. The Art Looting Investigation unit was authorized as a project of the OSS, November 21, 1944, to investigate the confiscation of art works by the Nazis during World War II and assist in their repatriation. Collection contains 33 reports, memos, transcriptions issued by or collected by the Art Looting Investigation unit of the OSS, 1945-1946. Detailed Interrogation Reports of German personnel involved in the theft and sale of confiscated art; a detailed report of the activity of the Einsatzstab Rosenberg in France, responsible for confiscating Jewish-owned collections in France.

In addition to these resources, Collecting and Provenance Research provides access several electronic databases and extensive archival material on the history of ownership of works of art gathered from sales catalogs, archival records, and museum files. The Getty Library houses many more resources than are listed here, including an extensive collection of dealer and auction catalogs. All library resources are listed in the Library Catalog.