Roethel / Felbermeyer
With the completion of Phase II of the German Sales project in June 2019, the art historical research community now has access to an unprecedented amount of information regarding German auction sales in the early 20th century, including the period of politically sanctioned Nazi looting during World War II. The Getty Provenance Index® has expanded its coverage of German auction sales catalogs to include those from 1900 to 1945, enabling a fuller understanding of this volatile period and of the dealers and collectors involved.

Through digitization and transcription, bibliographic information from more than 8,700 German sales catalogs is now available to researchers. Over 830,000 individual auction sales records for paintings, sculptures, drawings, and miniatures have been transcribed from these catalogs. Each record also links to the full PDF of its corresponding catalog at the Heidelberg University Library.

Building on users' ability to search basic information about auction lots such as artist name, title, and seller, the Getty Provenance Index disambiguates artist names, classifies works into broad subject categories, and provides published sale prices from primary sources such as Internationale Sammler-Zeitung, Weltkunst, and Der Kunstmarkt.

Dozens of libraries in Austria, Germany, and Switzerland were systematically searched to locate catalogs. Once found, at least one copy of each catalog published per identified sale was digitized. Optical character recognition software was then applied so that Getty Provenance Index staff could edit, structure, and enrich the data extracted from the text before entering it into the database.

This project is a partnership between the Getty Research Institute, the Heidelberg University Library, and the Kunstbibliothek—Staatliche Museen zu Berlin. More information about both phases of this project, Art–Auctions–Provenance: The German Art Trade as Reflected in Auction Catalogues from 1900–1929 and German Sales 1930–1945: Art Works, Art Markets, and Cultural Policy, is available on