JSTOR is collaborating with the Thomas J. Watson Library at The Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Frick Art Reference Library in a pilot project funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to understand how auction catalogs can best be preserved for the long term and made most easily accessible for scholarly use. Auction catalogs are vital for provenance research as well as for the study of art markets and the history of collecting. Libraries, however, face a range of challenges with respect to their catalog collections, including preservation concerns and shelf space constraints.
The Frick Art Reference Library holds more than 88,000 auction catalogs dating from the seventeenth century to the present. These catalogs are essential for researchers establishing the provenance of an art object. One of the unique holdings of the Frick within this collection is artist atelier auction catalogs. An atelier auction sells the contents of an artist’s studio, usually shortly after his or her death. An example of this type of auction that relates to the collections of NYARC institutions is the atelier sales held in May and June of 1900 at Galerie George Petit, Paris, for the animal painter and sculptor Rosa Bonheur (1822-1899).
The NYARC libraries have a long history of collaborating on projects, dating back to the 1980s and the establishment of the Art Museum Library Consortium. The collaborative efforts of the Art Museum Library Consortium resulted in the retrospective conversion of the Brooklyn Museum, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Museum of Modern Art and the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston card catalogs into an online format.
Since NYARC was formed in 2006, the members have been involved in a number of initiatives. Past and current initiatives are listed alphabetically below. Please follow the links below to learn more.