Some new websites

30/1/10– Internet –French museums are progressively improving their websites, offering virtual visitors more and more information concerning their collections and activities. In the last few months, two of them have inaugurated new offerings.

local/cache-vignettes/L290xH167/Musee_Calvet-3-9f4be-a2db0.jpg-The Musée Calvet in Avignon has renewed its site and updates it regularly, always helpful. The events at the museum are thus well covered by its Actualités and Les Coulisses columns as well as by the PDF posting of the petit journal d’information edited every semester. The site could stand further improvement as concerns the collections. Only one selection of works is available for the moment.

local/cache-vignettes/L290xH178/Musee_Fesch-05b94-d57a1.jpg-The Musée Fresch in Ajaccio has also redone its website entirely, presented in a bêta version until the reopening of the museum in June 2010 ; many of the pages are not yet complete. Some of the collections are already online. Current events are well covered.

More and more archives are being explored and posted on the net. Although the practical aspect is obvious, the long-term consequences of this phenomenon provide food for thought. This method of research should in no way replace direct access to the original source. Analyzing files obviously implies a reading and selection of information which might raise interpretation errors or omissions, accidental or not. Internet consulting represents therefore a necessary step but which alone is not enough.

local/cache-vignettes/L290xH169/Montias_Database-c3696-b28ef.jpgHaving said this, we would like to now point out the posting by the Frick Collection of a database created by John Michael Montias, a professor at Yale University who has since passed away. He had listed and studied 1280 inventories belonging to the Dutch in the 17th century (between 1597 and 1681). About half of these inventories were completed prior to an auction, the other half being inventories following a death. This is an extremely important source for art historians of Dutch painting, with searches available based on the artist but many other criteria as well (date, owner’s religion, owner’s name, place of residence, etc.).

local/cache-vignettes/L289xH157/History_Collecting-eb94e-9b78e.jpgThe Frick Collection has also posted a repertory (Archives Directory for the History of Collecting in America) which identifies the location of archives held in the United States concerning the history of collecting in that country, that is on collectors, dealers and intermediaries in the art market.

Didier Rykner, samedi 30 janvier 2010

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