© Staatliche Museen zu Berlin / Kunstbibliothek; Thomas Meyer
Under the heading digital library, we gather digital information, documents and websites that are published online and freely accessible on the Web as well as purchased and licensed content that can only be accessed within the library’s reading rooms. The Kunstbibliothek lists all electronic media resources in the following reference and access systems:
The Library Catalogue of the Staatliche Museen zu Berlin (SMB)
The SMB library catalogue contains records of digital monographs, electronic journals and licensed databases.
Digitised full text publications at the Kunstbibliothek
The Kunstbibliothek’s repository contains digitised reproductions of a wide variety of print publications.
The Datenbank-Infosystem is a cooperative service for cataloguing open-access and subscription-based scientific and academic databases. The directory includes a description of each database and tips on how to use it. The top databases for which the Kunstbibliothek has a paid subscription (access via the SMB network only) can also be found in DBIS.
Ornamental Engravings Collection at the Kunstbibliothek
The Sammlung Architektur (Architecture Collection) is one of the focal areas of the Kunstbibliothek’s collecting activities.
Resources related to architecture in DBIS
The largest online architecture database (projects, architectural firms and biographies of architects, bibliographic data) worldwide. At present (April 2011), it contains information on more than 29,000 buildings as well as architectural plans by significant international architects. The selection of projects focuses mostly on twentieth-century architecture.
This website offers technical and historical information on buildings from all over the world and from all eras. Over 158,000 photos.
The website of the Royal Institute of British Architects offers many useful tools for the history of architecture: databases, a directory of architects and the institute’s online catalogue.
Art and Architecture Thesaurus Online
The Getty Research Institute provides this hierarchically structured index of more than 133,000 English terms, descriptions and bibliographical information descriptive and bibliographic metadata from the areas of art, architecture and applied arts/crafts.
A portal with resources on institutions and information pertinent to contemporary architecture.
The British Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment served as an independent advisor to the UK government on issues related to architecture, design and the public space from 1999 to 2011.
An Italian website dedicated to contemporary architecture with background reports, competitions and numerous links.
Great Buildings Collection
This international database of important buildings and architects contains 3D models, photos and architectural drawings as well as bibliographies, commentaries, web links and much more. Also includes links to the journal ArchitectureWeek.
The Sammlung Buch- und Medienkunst (Book and Media Art Collection) is one of the Kunstbibliothek’s chief collecting areas.
Modern book art
A platform for contemporary book art.
This website (mostly in German) provides information on artist’s books. It contains directories of exhibitions, artists and art collections as well as a comprehensive collection of links.
Artist Book Database
A database of international book artists with images and bibliographic data on each of the books listed.
Moderne Buchkunst seit 1960 – Eine private Sicht
An introduction to modern book art since 1960 by a private collector. German only.
Artists' Books: Guide of the National Art Library (London)
On this site, the NAL gathers information on its own collection of artists’ books and provides references and general information on artists’ books (interviews, bibliographies, links).
Search in the Artists' Books Collections of New York
The collective catalogue (EN) of three institutions in New York (Frick Art Reference Library and the libraries of the Brooklyn Museum and the Museum of Modern Art) offers a search tool for artists’ books. The Franklin Furnace Artists Books Collection is based in MoMA.
Important museums for book art in Germany
- Klingspor-Museum Offenbach für internationale Buch- und Schriftkunst (Modern international book art, typography and calligraphy)
- Museum für Druckkunst Leipzig
Researching images is an important aspect of art history and other art-related disciplines that has been made considerably simpler by the Internet. Many archives and databases of images hosted by public institutions and commercial enterprises can now be found online. While many of these databases are very extensive, not all provide the standard of information required for academic research. Searches in Google Images, for example, often deliver results of hugely varying image quality presented without an academic context or documented records of the origins of the image. Some of the most important image archives that provide images of a quality acceptable to the study of art history are listed on this page.
Agence photographique de la Réunion des Musées nationaux
The website of the photo agency of the French national museums provides access to more than 450,000 images from national and regional museums and international collections throughout France.
ARTstor (access via the SMB network)
The ARTstor database currently contains over 1.1 million images from more than 150 collections in the areas of art, architecture, the humanities and social sciences. Geographically, ARTstor covers Europe, Asia and America, providing access to the digital holdings of significant art collections and museums.
Index of images related to art and architecture
The Bildarchiv Foto Marburg contains about two million digitised photographs of artworks and buildings in Germany and Europe from around 80 partner institutions.
The bpk - Bildagentur für Kunst, Kultur und Geschichte has published over 300,000 digitised images from its collection of 12 million motifs from art, culture and history.
Bridgeman - Art, Culture, History
This portal provides access to 8,000 collections and works by 29,000 artists. Comprehensive selections of works are organised in thematic groups and the images are complemented by bibliographic metadata. By registering with the site you can purchase and download items.
The Deutsche Fotothek of the Sächsische Landesbibliothek – Staats- und Universitätsbibliothek Dresden (SLUB) encompasses 1,227,000 image files. Focal points of the collection include photography and maps.
The photo library of the Kunsthistorisches Institut in Florence is one of the most important academic archives of photographs worldwide for research on Italian art and architecture from late antiquity to the present day. The main focus is on central and northern Italy. Contains approx. 600,000 images.
New York Public Library - Digital Gallery
The digital gallery of the NYPL contains over 700,000 digitised images from the collections of the library, including manuscripts, maps, posters, prints and photographs.
Prometheus (access via the SMB network)
This digital archive of images brings together approx. 755,000 works from a wide variety of databases online. It includes both research and documentation databases with extensive information on each of the objects listed, as well as databases of institutes that contain important images for teaching purposes.
The Royal Institute of British Architects is the central organisation for architects and architecture in Great Britain. RIBApix is a database of images set up by the institute’s library, which has an important collection on the subject of architecture (design, landscaping etc.) Thematic searches are also possible.
Web Gallery of Art
The information offered by this website encompasses a database of images spanning European art from 1000 to 1850 (in particular, painting, sculpture and architecture) as well as a glossary of art-historical terminology in English. Many of the approx. 26,000 pictures are complemented by commentaries and biographies.
Full-text databases provide access to the complete contents of digitised works and have been developed by various libraries, national and international collaborative projects and commercial enterprises. Their online interfaces can generally be personalised and offer the possibility to download.
Europeana is available in multiple languages and offers access to more than 15 million digitised objects from museums, libraries, archives and audio-visual collections across Europe. The portal is still in the beta phase.
Google presently has the largest collection of digitised full-text books online. Books that have not been under copyright for more than fifty years can be viewed in full while excerpts are displayed instead if the copyright has not yet expired. Google Books also includes links to Worldcat and online book shops.
Wikisource is a collection of source texts that are either in the public domain or are made freely available under an open license. The project aspires to achieve high quality standards by using scans of a reliable source as the basis for all reproduced texts. The number of texts on offer varies in scope depending on the language.
World Digital Library
Archives, libraries and other institutions from all over the world present outstanding examples of cultural heritage on the World Digital Library site with the support of UNESCO.
Zentrales Verzeichnis Digitalisierter Drucke
The Central Directory of Digitised Prints (ZVDD) is the national reference site for prints from the fifteenth century to the present day that have been digitised in Germany. The following collections are of particular interest to art historians etc.: the art section of DigiZeitschriften and the Sammlung Architektur/Technik (Architecture/Technology Collection) at the Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin.
The full-text server of the Virtuelle Fachbibliothek Kunstgeschichte (Virtual Library for Art History) supports the publication, indexing and archival of literature on the history of art. Researchers from all over the world can upload their publications in electronic form to the web free of charge. The portal offers various options for browsing and searching the site as well as subportals and publication series.
Digitised full text publications at the Universitätbibliothek Heidelberg
The Ruprecht-Karls-Universität Heidelberg provides access to digitised collections, for example, from the university library’s special subject collections Art History and Classical Archaeology.
The digital collections of the Bayerische Staatsbibliothek
The Bayerische Staatsbibliothek has an extensive range of digital collections, such as ArchIcon online – Neuzeitliche Architekturhandschriften der Bayerischen Staatsbibliothek (modern architectural manuscripts of the Bayerische Staatsbibliothek) and the catalogues of the art exhibitions held at the Glaspalast in Munich from 1869 to 1931. The Bayerische Landesbibliothek Online (BLO) also has a section dedicated to art history among others, which provides access to these and other collections.
Wolfenbütteler Digitale Bibliothek (WDB)
The Wolfenbüttel digital library of the Herzog August Bibliothek provides online access to sections of the HAB’s collections of early printed books and manuscripts (15th–19th centuries) that are especially relevant to research, very rare, particularly outstanding or frequently used. The titles can also be accessed from the library’s OPAC.
The digital library of the Bibliothèque nationale de France provides access to its public-domain collections (pictures, maps, photos, texts) and works made available by its retail partners.
La bibliothèque numérique de l’INHA
L’institut national d’histoire de l’art hosts a digital library dedicated to art history, containing more than 11,000 high-resolution files, including books, archives, manuscripts, drawings, photographs, prints etc.
English-language digital libraries
Digital Collections of the Getty Research Institute
The GRI’s multilingual digital collections on architecture, contemporary art, archaeology etc. can be searched by subject, genre or title.
Digital Collections of the Warburg Institute (London)
The research areas of the Warburg Institute encompass the history of the arts, culture, and of ideas, focussing particularly on the Renaissance. The institute’s digitised collections are organised in alphabetic and thematic lists or can be accessed through the OPAC of its library.
The electronic journals of the Staatliche Museen zu Berlin are listed in the library catalogue. It includes all e-journals that are freely available online as well as licensed journals that can only be accessed within the domain of the SMB. Please only use the links provided in the library catalogue as authentication is otherwise not possible.
In this section you can find descriptions of e-resources that may be useful for research into the price or origins of an artwork. Some of these resources are freely accessible online, while others have been licensed by the Kunstbibliothek and can only be accessed through the SMB network. The library’s collections include printed sources (such as journals and auction catalogues), which you can order through the library’s catalogue. Auctions can be researched at the Kunstbibliothek with the aid of a special card catalogue in the catalogue room.
Results of auctions and current news
ArtPrice.com (access via the SMB network only)
The database contains 290,000 auction catalogues from 2,900 auctioneers spanning forty countries (25 million auction results, market prices and indices for 405,000 artists) in all areas of the fine arts. The site provides evaluations of art auctions and sales since 1700 as well as information on upcoming auctions, artist biographies and price indices.
Art Sales Index
Artinfo (EN) is a website dedicated to current developments in the global art world. According to the site, its Art Sales Index database lists more than 3.5 million auction results from over 255,000 artists. The results come from around 500 auction houses worldwide and date back to the 1920s.
Artnet offers information on current auctions, auction houses, galleries and artists. More than 2,100 galleries in over 250 cities present works from 37,000 artists. It also provides access to subscription databases of auction results.
Database of contemporary artists, exhibitions, auctions and institutions. Some sections can only be accessed by registered users.
The website of the German journal Weltkunst offers information on current auctions and contemporary artists.
German Galleries publishes information on current exhibitions in Germany. Text and images are provided by the galleries, museums and institutions.
French publishers and website for current international developments in the global art scene (FR).
Illustrated auction catalogues and the results of recent major auctions (EN, FR). Particular focus on France but also covers Germany, Belgium etc.
Retrospective auction databanks
Art Sales Catalogues OL (access via the SMB network)
The database (EN) offers access to the complete texts of international auction catalogues published from 1600 to 1900. Almost 29,100 catalogues are currently available, the target is 35,000. The catalogues from numerous participating libraries were filmed to create the full-text documents, e.g. from the holdings of the Rijksmuseum Amsterdam, the National Art Library, V&A Museum and the Courtauld Institute London. This database also incorporates Lugt's Répertoire.
The online database facilitates searches of the business records of Galerie Heinemann (1872–1939) in Munich, focussing particularly on the period from 1890 to 1939. It includes information on approx. 43,500 important paintings from all eras as well as about 13,000 persons and institutions associated with the acquisition or sale of these artworks.
The Getty Provenance Index Databases
The Project for the Study of Collecting und Provenance(PSCP) has three databases on offer. The first (Archival Inventories) comprises lists of holdings and artworks in private collections in France, Spain and the Netherlands (1550–1840). The second contains sales catalogues from auctions in Belgium, France, Germany, Great Britain, Netherlands and Scandinavia from 1650 to 1840. It also offers the possibility to browse descriptions and the provenance of paintings currently housed in institutions in the USA and UK that were made by artists born prior to 1900.
International directory of art dealers, auction houses and art fairs.
Bundesverband deutscher Kunstversteigerer e.V.
Galerie Gerda Bassenge Kunst- und Buchauktionen
Hauff & Auvermann
Biennale and important art fairs
Art Brussels (BE)
Art Basel (CH)
Art Cologne: International Fair for Modern and Contemporary Art (DE)
Documenta Kassel (DE)
ARCOmadrid: Feria Internacional de Arte Contemporáneo (ES)
Biennale d'art contemporain de Lyon (FR)
Biennale internationale du design (FR)
Salon du dessin (FR)
Frieze art fair (GB)
Liverpool Biennial (GB)
Biennale di Venezia (IT)
Art Fiera (IT)
International Istanbul Biennial (TU)
Armory Show (US) Performa 09 (US)
The Whitney Biennal (US)
Tips and tools for searching for auction catalogues
The Universitätsbibliothek Heidelberg provides a list of auction catalogues in its holdings organised by location and auctioneer.
The Arbeitsgemeinschaft der Kunst- und Museumsbibliothek (AKMB) has a list of bibliographic and digital reference material: Vom Suchen und Finden von Auktionskatalogen (‘On searching and finding auction catalogues’).
Finding Information on Art Auction Sales, Sales Catalogues and Price Guides of the National Art Library, Victoria & Albert Museum, London.
The Research Guides of the Getty Research Institute: Appraisals Art Sales and Collecting Provenance:
- Art Sales and Collecting