The Library collects auction catalogues both from Denmark and abroad. The collection contains a great number of different auction houses’ catalogues, some of the most important of which we continue to receive on subscription, besides a large number of catalogues and lists from individual auctions, as well as estate of the deceased auctions or auctions in connection with art exhibitions. More
A particular focus is catalogues of Danish art auctions from the 18th century up to the present day, where the Library attempts to cover a great an area as possible.
Auction catalogues are important tools in the identification of works of art and their owners at a given point in time, not least when these are annotated, i.e. provided with notes from the auction as to sale price, and/or buyer. It is sometimes by means of annotated auction catalogues that it is possible to piece together the provenance (owner history), which may help to support, e.g. attributions and other art-historical basic disciplines.
How do I search?
For the most part, auction catalogues are registered/indexed according to the name of the auction house, and thus searching in the Library catalogue should follow this approach. Many of the catalogues however are registered according to the name of the owner of the collection which has been auctioned, which for example is the case with estate of the deceased auctions and/or after the date, which is why it is also worth searching this way. Searching by subject can use the subject heading: “kunstauktioner” (art auctions).
One special collection is that of Danish “mixed” (i.e. anonymous) auctions which have been arranged chronologically in ring binders, which should be ordered/requested via the Library catalogue (search “anonyme danske auktionskataloger” – anonymous Danish auction catalogues). Another is Danish estate of the deceased auctions, which are arranged alphabetically according to the owner’s surname in ring binders, and can be ordered/requested in the same manner via the Library catalogue, (search ”dødsboauktioner”).
Finally there are a considerable number of auction catalogues in the Library’s art historical archives, where they are typically to be found under the name of the collection’s owner.
All our Danish auction catalogues, ranging across the various collections from 1719 up to 1920 have been digitalised and can be searched and downloaded free/freely via the Library catalogue.
How do I borrow?
The auction catalogues to be found in the book collection can be borrowed on the same conditions as other books. Material from de kunsthistoriske arkiver (the art-historical archives) can be viewed in the Reading Room at Nyhavn 2.