The Hirsch Library is the best library in Houston to conduct auction research. Most of the databases may be searched on-site only. Ask a reference librarian for assistance with auction research.
Hirsch Library Auction Databases: Onsite Use Only (unless noted otherwise)
Art Sales Index (1970-present)
Art Sales Index has broad international coverage of over 500 auction houses. The database does not include antiquities. It indexes auctions back to 1970 for paintings, prints, photographs, sculpture, works on paper, and miniatures and is updated not only with the latest catalogues, but also with a selective collection of catalogues for Christie’s and Sotheby’s dating back to 1920.
ArtNet (1985 - present)
ArtNet’s price database contains information on more than 4 million artworks offered for sale since 1985 from over 500 major auction houses worldwide. The works range from Old Masters to Contemporary Art and are mostly from all periods and cultures. ArtNet covers auctions for fine arts and design. Addition features are: Auctions: directory of auction house websites worldwide; Galleries: list of gallery websites; Artists: search for artists represented at galleries worldwide.
AskArt (1985- present)
AskArt formerly included only auctions of American artists. The scope of American art spans pre-Columbus settlers through modern art expressionists with sales indexed from 1986 to the present. Sales of international artists began in 2007 to the present. AskArt also includes biographic and bibliographic information for the artists in the database.
Blouin Art Sales Index is a free internet version of Art Sales Index. There may be a difference in coverage between the subscription database and the free internet site.
Founded in 1766 by James Christie, Christie’s offers around 450 auctions annually in over 80 categories, including all areas of fine and decorative arts, jewellery, photographs, collectibles, wine, and more. Christie’s has a global presence with 53 offices in 32 countries and 12 salerooms around the world.
Invaluable, formerly ArtFact (1986-present)
ArtFact Pro is the only database that indexes sales for both fine arts and decorative arts objects, including antiques and collectibles. In addition, it provides complete auction catalog entries including full descriptions, research, provenance and condition reports. It indexes sales from 1986 to the present.
SCIPIO: (late 16th century-current); catalogs held by SCIPIO member libraries.
SCIPIO is an online bibliographic database of over 300,000 auction catalog records of sales covering art objects and rare books from the late 16th century to present, mostly from North American and European houses. Twenty-five art organizations, including the Met, contribute auction catalog records to the database. SCIPIO has been incorporated into WorldCat, a union catalog that allows you to search across the collections of 69,000 libraries, but remains searchable as its own database. Note: it is not possible to search WorldCat by date of sale.
Sotheby's (on-site use only)
Established in London in 1744, Sotheby’s has been headquartered in New York since 1982 and has auction houses in 40 countries. Sotheby’s is one of the world’s largest brokers of fine and decorative art, jewelry, real estate, and collectibles.
Catalog of Metropolitan Museum of Art includes auction catalogs (1747 – current) held by the Museum
Available via Fondren Library website (under Catalog) and Hirsch Library