The Photographers’ Sales Catalogue Collection of the Photothek

Almut Goldhahn

Adolphe Giraudon, Catalogue des Documents Artistiques en Photographie. Tous les genres et toutes les époques de l’Art , Paris 1889. Florence, Kunsthistorisches Institut in Florenz – Max-Planck-Institut, Photothek

For a long time, the catalogues photographers used when offering their pictures for sale were considered to be simply a means of communication between buyer and seller and a tool in building up art-historical photo collections. In recent years, however, these catalogues have themselves become the focus of research. They not only provide an important source of information on the working processes and commercial strategies of photographic studios and the techniques and dates of individual photographs, but – through their formal structure and content – also draw attention to the correlation between the history of art and the photographic trade. The lists provided by the catalogues played a significant role in the establishment of the art-historical canon and, therefore, in the codification of both national and international cultural heritage. In this connection, the project not only focuses on the scientific analysis of the more than 400 catalogues held by the Photothek, but also aims at processing the data and making them accessible on a platform that will enable the connection between the catalogues and the photographs in the Photothek. On the technical side the platform is a collaboration with the Institute’s Digital Research Coordinator. An online exhibition, which was created in cooperation with the Fondazione Federico Zeri, Bologna, has already described the scientific potential of these materials and has given insights in that special collection of the Photothek.

Almut Goldhahn: Cataloghi fotografici per la vendita: da strumento commerciale a oggetto di ricerca nella Fototeca del Kunsthistorisches Institut in Florenz
In: Un patrimonio da ordinare. I cataloghi a stampa dei Fotografi, Tagungsakten Bologna 2018, hrsg. von Pierangelo Cavanna und Francesca Mambelli, Bologna 2019, pp. 87–107


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