Arkhênum is pleased to announce the launch of a new online art history platform: the digital records of the Wildenstein Plattner Institute (WPI). The launch is the culmination of a four-year project led by institute’s teams in France, Germany and the United States. Arkhênum provided its expertise to support the WPI.
With this ambitious project, the Wildenstein Plattner Institute aims to make art history accessible to the “digital” generation: academics, artists, art collectors, art market professionals, art historians and enthusiasts around the world.
The platform offers visitors more than a century of archives collected and preserved by the Wildenstein Plattner Institute. These rich resources include a wide variety of documents: photographs, gallery stock books, artists’ correspondence, artwork, art historians’ research files, sales and exhibition catalogues and more. They document the work of art dealers, collectors and great French artists from the 18th to the beginning of the 20th century in an unprecedented way.
This project forms part of an ongoing exchange with other cultural research institutes with similar mandates, such as the Getty Research Institute in Los Angeles, the Netherlands Institute of Art History in The Hague and the Institut National d’Histoire de l’Art in France.
Arkhênum partnered with the Wildenstein Plattner Institute, providing its expertise at every stage of the project:
- Inventory of collections
- Removal and physical conservation of archives
- Digitisation both in-situ at the WPI and in Arkhenum’s permanent production sites
- OCR treatment of printed collections
- Indexing of the sales catalogues, allowing an advanced search by keyword, auction house, city, date, artist or collector name.
Some key figures from this extraordinary project:
The Ambroise Vollard collection is probably the WPI digital archive’s most important piece. The series contains nearly 5 000 black and white photographs of drawings, paintings and sculptures by gallery artists such as Mary Cassatt, Paul Cézanne, Edgar Degas and Pablo Picasso, making it an impressive collection of original archival materials.
The 11 000 catalogues – from both French and international auction houses such as Sotheby’s and Christie’s – cover the period prior to 1945.
A special feature of this collection is that the catalogues contain numerous, often important, handwritten annotations, such as the sales price.
Discover this annotated catalogue from 1924, which documents the sale of the French poet Paul Éluard’s collection which contained works by Georges Braque, Giorgio de Chirico, Pablo Picasso and Man Ray.
New collections will gradually be added to the platform, including those of several major artists. These collections, called “catalogues raisonnés,” are essential for documenting an artist’s entire body of work. Still to come are the collections of Monet and Renoir.
Would you like to find out more? Click here to read the Wildenstein Plattner Institute press release.