Roethel / Felbermeyer
The Getty Provenance Index® Databases now provide online access to German Sales Catalogs from 1930 to 1945. These catalogs represent a period of politically sanctioned Nazi looting of art during World War II and provide an indispensable resource for provenance research.

The Sale Descriptions section of the Getty Provenance Index® Databases now contains bibliographic information on more than 3,000 German Sales Catalogs published between 1930 and 1945, including locations for hand-annotated copies that may not have been considered for digitization. More than 250,000 individual auction sales records for paintings, sculptures, and drawings have been obtained from these catalogs, each of which is searchable according to a range of parameters in the Sale Contents section of the database. Each record in the Provenance Index is also linked to the full PDF of its corresponding catalog residing at the website of the Heidelberg University Library.

In addition to the basic information about each lot provided in the Provenance Index—including artist name, title, and seller—the Research Institute has added valuable information to the records by disambiguating artist names, classifying works into broad subject categories, and providing published sale prices from primary sources such as Internationale Sammler-Zeitung and Weltkunst. Research on buyer names is still in progress.

The Getty Research Institute, in partnership with the Heidelberg University Library and the Kunstbibliothek—Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, produced this online research database to provide comprehensive access to German auction catalogs from this period. Dozens of libraries in Austria, Germany, and Switzerland were systematically searched to locate catalogs, to digitize at least one copy of each sale, and to convert the machine-generated texts into edited Provenance Index records.

The collaborative workflow for processing German sales catalogs is currently being extended to include the years 1901–1929. Information about this project is also available on