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Recording and Inventorying Works of Art in an Art Database


Inventorying artworks involves the systematic gathering and recording of information about each artwork in a collection. This typically includes details such as the artist's name, title, year of creation, dimensions, materials, condition, provenance, value and location. The information is often stored in a database or inventory management system to ensure easy management and searching of the collection.

The Advantages of Recording Works of Art in a Database are, for example


1. Organization: A database allows a complete overview and categorization of artworks according to various criteria such as artist, genre, period, etc.

2. Accessibility: A database makes it easier to find and access artworks, both for researchers, curators and the public.

3. Documentation: A database enables comprehensive documentation of artworks, including images, descriptions, archival records and provenance.

4. Research: Researchers can access an extensive collection of artworks to analyze trends, make comparisons and gain new insights.

5. Security: A database provides a secure way of storing and archiving information about artworks to ensure their preservation and protection.

6. Management: Museums, galleries and collectors can efficiently manage their holdings by using a database to track the location, condition and other important information.

My Approach: Inventorying Works of Art


To enter a work of art into a database, I first take a close look at the front and, based on my experience, can ideally assign the work to an artist or an era. A signature can confirm this assumption if necessary. The initial entry includes the name of the artist with the dates of life, the title, a brief description of the object, the year of creation, the signature, the dimensions, information on the material and technique, images of the front and a brief description of the condition. Many fields in the database are pull-down fields that can be customized for the respective collection. This enables efficient recording. 


Inventorying also includes checking the reverse side, as there may be inscriptions or labels from exhibitions or sales that can provide information about the artwork and its provenance. In addition to the aforementioned images of the front and back, photos of the object with frames and detailed photos can also be linked in the database.

The art database I use is a platform from Ninox that offers customized applications for the digital recording and archiving of collections. Ninox is available online and offline at any time, runs on all devices and can be used in the cloud. Once the entries have been completed, the database is transferred to the collector by an IT specialist.

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