The Lugt, a dictionary of collection marks, posts its new edition online

25/3/10– Internet –Frits Lugt, who created the Fondation Custodia, is undoubtedly most remembered for his dictionary of collection marks which is in fact usually known by its proper name. The Lugt has thus been used by generations of collectors, art historians and curators since its first edition in 1926. In 1956, the work added a supplement which listed new marks or those not included in the first edition.
Over 50 years later, the progress in research concerning drawings and engravings, the rise of new collectors and the identification of marks which were previously unknown or of unacknowledged origins required a new edition today. It is of course only natural that the task of carrying out this gigantic entreprise fall upon the Fondation Custodia and logical to offer it through internet. The database, Marques de collections, which will expand progressively with new additions, has just been posted and readers have entirely free access.

Browsing is very simple with searches available based on four criteria : the mark number, called “Numero Lugt” ; the name and/or location of the collection ; the description of the mark, according to different aspects (text, image, technique or colour) ; finally, a search can also be made for article texts.
As in the case of any database, it is hard to “turn the pages”, as one does with a book, of the different entries in the hopes of finding information not initially requested. But this can be done by selecting a filled-in criterium in the headings text, image, technique and colour. The heading “technique” in fact offers a complete search of the marks (as each of them can only fall under one of the following : written, engraved or reproduced). However, it is unfortunate that the result pages display only 28 items thus making it impossible to carry out a rapid consultation of the 4,459 engraved marks, for example.

By clicking on a collection mark, browsers can obtain not only the most recent entry but also those of previous editions if the mark was already listed. When looking haphazardly, it is obvious that the research work has been extremely thorough. Although not all of the marks necessarily needed a new entry, many of them have benefited noticeably. A minor improvement might be added to the consultation : it would be more logical that the latest entry be the first to appear, not the oldest. This detail in no way detracts from the remarkable character of this new tool which the Fondation Custodia provides to art lovers of drawings and engravings.

Version française

Didier Rykner, jeudi 25 mars 2010

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