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University of Wisconsin - Madison Libraries

Research Guides

Researching Art Sales : Home

Useful books

Information You May Need

Before you begin your research, you will want to collect as much of the following information as you can:

- Artist's Name (signature or related documentation)

- Date of creation (estimate, if unknown)

- Medium, as specifically as you can discover (woodcut versus engraving versus lithograph; porcelain versus stoneware, etc.)

- Marks (watermarks on paper, silver or ceramic marks, stamps on the support such as stretcher manufaturer)

- Indications of exhibition, ownership, and/or provenance

- Dimensions of the piece (centimeters and/or inches)

- Country/place of origin

NOTE:  Keep in mind the distinction between what is documented fact and what is estimated.  A dated bill of sale carries more authority than family recollection, although the family history can be equally useful.  If your searches are unproductive, you will want to jettison the most uncertain criteria to broaden your search. 

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Art Group
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160 Conrad A. Elvehjem Building
800 University Avenue
Madison, WI 53706
(608) 263-2258 (Desk) - 263-2257 (Ref)
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