This vast collection of digital records is expanded and enriched on a regular basis. The quantity and scope of research material that is available varies by region, period, and type of document. The databases currently include the following types of records:

Archival Inventories
Archival inventories are legal documents from private and public archives that list objects from a household. The inventories in this database list works of art from private collections in the Netherlands, Italy, Spain, and France from 1520 to 1880. The Inventory Descriptions section of this database contains more than 13,000 documents. From these documents, more than 276,000 individual records have been entered in the Inventory Contents section. Photocopies of most of these documents can be found in the Collectors Files.

Sales Catalogs
Typically published by auction houses and dealers, sales catalogs list works of art for public auction. This database includes catalogs from major cities in Belgium, France, Germany, Great Britain, the Netherlands, and Scandinavia from 1650 to 1945. The Sale Descriptions section of this database contains more than 22,000 catalogs. From these catalogs, more than 1.8 million records have been entered into the Sale Contents section. This database also contains private contract sales through which collectors were able to acquire artworks during an extended period of exhibition. Photocopies of most of the pre-20th-century catalogs can be found in the Sales Catalogs Files.

Included in these 22,000 catalogs is bibliographic information for more than 8,700 German sales that took place from 1900 to 1945. More than 830,000 individual auction sales records for paintings, sculptures, and drawings have been extracted from these catalogs, and each record is linked to the full PDF of its corresponding catalog residing at the website of the Heidelberg University Library.

Dealer Stock Books
Maintained by galleries and art dealers, stock books record information about a work of art such as the date of acquisition, name and address of the seller, dimensions of the artwork, name of the purchaser, date of sale, and the selling price. This database contains more than 43,700 records transcribed from the 15 stock books of Goupil & Cie/Boussod, Valadon & Cie in Paris (1846–1919) as well as over 40,300 records transcribed from the 11 painting stock books and enhanced with information from the 21 paintings and watercolors sales books of M. Knoedler & Co. in New York (1872–1970). Learn more about the Knoedler Gallery Archive, which was recently acquired by the Getty Research Institute.

Payments to Artists
This database contains approximately 1,000 recorded payments to artists made in Rome between 1576 and 1711.

Public Collections
This database contains descriptions and provenances of paintings created by artists born before 1900 held by public institutions in Great Britain and the United States. This database includes over 95,000 records from 1500 to 1990.

Datasets on GitHub
Selected datasets from the Getty Provenance Index® are available via GitHub for open and convenient access to researchers as part of the Getty Provenance Index Remodel project. The Knoedler Stock Books dataset (released November 2016 and updated September 2017), Sales Catalogs datasets (released December 2017), and the Goupil Stock Books dataset (released July 2018) are .csv files, which provide more granular access to the data than the format that can currently be downloaded using the Provenance Index databases. These datasets will eventually be superseded by the forthcoming Linked Open Data release and so are not updated or maintained regularly.

Databases at a Glance

This chart indicates the number of records contained in each database.

See also: A quick visual overview of what's covered in the Archival Inventories and Sales Catalogs databases.