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How to Research an Artwork: Appraisal

Appraisal

When trying to ascertain the value of your artwork, auction records for that particular artist can be useful.  Most websites require a subscription to view their price databases and auction records, but they also provide additional, free information.  If nothing else, you can determine whether your artist has any auction records, even if you can’t see the prices those works realized. 

Resources

American Society of Appraisers

Appraisers Association of America Inc.

Artnet
This site offers detailed information about the galleries and auction houses offering works by specific artists.

Artprice
Another, less detailed, site offering subscription auction database information.

Askart

askART provides access to artists' profiles, images, literature references, biographies, auction records, art for sale and art wanted, essays on important art movements, and statistics on the markets. Millions of auction records and results (from 1987+). 300,000+ worldwide artists.

Benezit Dictionary of Artists

Over 190,000 entries on artists from antiquity to the present. Searchable via Oxford Art Online along with Grove Art Online, The Concise Dictionary of Art Terms, etc. Benezit includes auction records, museum holdings, and bibliographies; it features entries on many obscure artists as well as artists' signatures, monograms and stamps of sale.

Blouin Art Sales Index
Previously called Hislop’s Art Sales Index, provides 5 million auction records as a subscription service

Davenport's Art Reference & Price Guide 

Annual print publication of art pricing and reference. Ceased 2012.

FindArtInfo.com

Searchable database of pricing and appraisal information on artworks of any media. Also includes images of artists' monograms and signatures. Basic searching is free, and fee-based for full information.

International Society of Appraisers

Invaluable
Previously called Artfact, this online auction marketplace includes fine and decorative arts, antiques, collectibles, and estate sales. Offers free, limited access and subscriptions for full access.

Getty Provenance Index Databases
Includes 2.3 million records taken from source material such as archival inventories, auction catalogs, and dealer stock books.

Lugt’s Répertoire Online 
Online edition of Lugt's Répertoire des Catalogues de Ventes Publiques, fN8650.L8, v.1-4, Art/Classics, lists over 60,000 art sales catalogues dated 1600-1900 from libraries in Europe and the U.S.A.  The catalogues provide information on the provenance of art objects, the history of collecting, and historical market trends. Numerous catalogues have been added to the original work and corrections made.  Searchable by Lugt number, date, place, provenance, auction house and existing copies. 

New York Public Library, Auction Sales Indexes
New York Public Library guide to auction sale indexes, price guides and catalogs. Because individual auction houses do not issue their own indexes, the use of these compilations provides the best approach to finding sale information. Each index provides different coverage in terms of dates, contents and scope. 

Oxford Art Online

Gateway to art research and access point for Oxford art reference resources, including Grove Art Online, Benezit Dictionary of Artists, The Oxford Companion to Western Art, Encyclopedia of Aesthetics, and The Concise Oxford Dictionary of Art Terms.

 

Condition also affects the value of artwork, and being able to identify condition problems can assist in the appraisal process.

Fine Arts Conservancy: Glossary
An illustrated dictionary of condition terms, both for paintings and works on paper.