Art Prices: Art Price CD-ROMs from


Click for 2003 artprice auction record book review

Click for 2002 product reviews

Posted September 8, 2001, a major international art auction price database and publisher of art auction price results, has released two CD-ROMs, Fine Art, January 1987/March 2001, and Works on Paper, January 1987/March 2001. Fine Art is a two CD-ROM set containing 2,450,000 auction price results for paintings, drawings, sculptures, ceramics, miniatures, tapestries, prints, posters, and photographs by 230,000 artists sold by hundreds of international auction houses at thousands of auctions held between January 1987 and March 2001. The Works on Paper CD-ROM contains one million auction price results for prints, drawings, posters, and photographs by 90,000 artists sold between the same dates as Fine Art and at thousands of international auctions. All results on the Works on Paper CD-ROM are included on the Fine Art CD-ROM which means that you only have to buy Fine Art in order to have the entire database at your fingertips.

Art price data can be accessed in a variety of ways on both CD-ROM's including by artist, medium, title of the art, date of sale, location of sale, and auction house. Searches can also be made using multiple parameters in order to limit the number of matches or track the auction histories of single works of art. More advanced search features include being able to search by single words in a work of art's title or by any consecutive combination of letters within an artist's name (our personal favorite). These last two searches sometimes take a while to complete, but they come in extremely handy when you can only partially identify an artist's name, have to research specific subject matters, or have incomplete information about a work of art's title.

Additional features make analyzing an artist's auction history and price structure easier than ever. Search results for a single artist can be arranged hierarchically, top to bottom or bottom to top, by dimensions of the art, sale dates, dates of the artworks themselves, or selling price. Researchers no longer have to scroll through dozens, hundreds, or thousands of price results in order to locate the information they need.

The online database, constantly updated with the latest auction records, is accessible from any CD-ROM. Suppose, for example, that a researcher wants to see whether art by a particular artist has sold between the CD-ROM's cut-off date of March 2001 and the current date. She simply looks up that artist's price results on the CD-ROM, goes online, and then clicks directly from the CD-ROM results page to the corresponding online results page. The artist's sales results appear chronologically beginning with the most recent sale and are catalogued by sale date, title, size, and medium. Price results and sale locations of any or all online entries are available for a fee.

The one inconvenient aspect of CD-ROMs is a little device, called a "protection key," that must be connected to a computer in order for the CD-ROM to work properly. The purpose of the key is to prevent multiple users from sharing a single CD-ROM on multiple computers. It's relatively easy to install assuming the back of a computer is easy to reach. The problem with the little do-dad, however, is that someone who uses a desktop computer at home, a desktop computer at the office, and a laptop computer on the road has to remove and replace the key every time he switches from one computer to the other. Hopefully, will one day develop a less labor-intensive way to protect their interests.

Overall, both CD-ROMs are great products. They're easy to install, easy to use, and we highly recommend them for anyone who needs current art price information on a regular basis.

Fine Art, January 1987/March 2001, 2 CD-ROM set., St.-Romain-au-Mont-d'Or, France, 2001. $399. Annual update is $130 (plus exchange of the previous year's CD-ROM).

Works on Paper, January 1987/March 2001, CD-ROM., St.-Romain-au-Mont-d'Or, France, 2001. $199. Annual update is $90 (plus exchange of the previous year's CD-ROM).

Both products are available directly from the website or can be ordered through's American distributor, Sound View Press. Sound View Press is located at 859 Boston Post Road, Madison, CT 06443 or call 1.800.278.4274 or order directly from the Sound View Press website.

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Articles © Alan Bamberger 2001. All rights reserved.