A catalogue raisonné is the definitive, comprehensive, and annotated compilation of all the known works of an artist, or that in a given medium or period. While indispensable for researchers, dealers and collectors, print catalogues come with some obvious limitations. Living artists continue to add to their bodies of work after the publication of catalogues creating the need for new print editions over time. For living, deceased and non-working artists alike, a catalogue raisonne’ often requires updates when new works are discovered, pieces are moved to different collections, objects are loaned to new exhibitions and more recent information and scholarly work becomes available.
Enter the Artifex Press collection of digital catalogue raisonnés, offering a dynamic and compellingly interactive take on the previously static print form. The online catalogues offer some distinct advantages over paper: wider accessibility by way of the internet, the ability for the publisher to add updates on the fly, and the capability to search catalogues with ease, to name just a few.
The Artifex Press collection sets a high bar of quality in the emerging digital medium and currently includes catalogues for Chuck Close, Jim Dine, Tim Hawkinson, Anges Martin, Lucas Samaras and James Sienna, with more on the way in the near future. Accessing the catalogues is a visually appealing and genuinely pleasurable experience, and Artifex has organized each with care and consideration for the end user. The site makes sorting by time period, material type, theme and subject a simple and intuitive process. Each catalogue stands out as a testament to the power of good web design.
Objects in the catalogues are rendered in detailed high definition allowing for extremely close examination upon zooming. Images of the works in galleries and studio settings, studies and related works by other artists abound throughout the catalogues and each of these ancillary images can, in turn, be viewed close-up and clear-as-day.
As with print catolgues, each from the Artifex collection provides extended bibliographies listing solo and group exhibition catalogues, books about the artists, appearances and mentions in periodicals and the like. However, the digital nature of these publications enhances the experience here as well in that every time a relevant interview, article or any other open access publication about the artist is found on the web, the item is linked making it immediately accessible to the researcher.
Taking further advantage of the web-based format, each catalogue includes an audio and video archive adding a wealth of information not possible in print. The Chuck Close catalogue alone has over 70 files in its audio and video archive.
The Artifex Press Collection of Digital Catalogues Raisonnés is now available to be accessed by anyone logged in to the Cleveland Museum of Art’s network and can be found in the Ingalls Library’s list of electronic resources here or accessed directly at https://artifexpress.com/. As you will not be able to access the catalogues from your home computer, please stop by the library on your next visit to the museum and ask us how to view these unique resources.