For the great majority of collectors, dealers, art historians and museum curators, the name of Lugt is associated with his indispensable reference work entitled: Les marques de collections de dessins & d’estampes, published in 1921, followed by its Supplément published in 1956. A new, revised and augmented version of this encyclopaedic work is accessible online.
This survey of collectors’ marks contains a wealth of information about print and drawing collectors and the vicissitudes of their collections. It is the most important manual for specialists of drawings and prints to trace the provenance of works on paper, by means of recorded collectors’ marks, written or stamped. Besides collectors’ marks and institutional stamps, one finds also marks of dealers, mounters and editors as well as studio stamps.
Information from the Fondation Custodia, 23 April 2010
As the two volumes were edited in very few copies, they are now difficult to find. Since publication of the first Supplément in 1956 many unrecorded marks have been discovered, and many collectors and print rooms have adopted marks of which no record yet exists. The Fondation Custodia, which administers the legacy of Frits Lugt, has entered into a partnership with the Département des Arts graphiques of the Musée du Louvre in Paris, the Rijksbureau voor Kunsthistorische Documentatie (RKD) in The Hague. Also, in 2003, the Société Frits Lugt pour l’Étude des Marques de Collections was founded in support of the project.
At the request of the Fondation Custodia, a database has been specially designed (copyright Jean Nicollier) in close collaboration with the team working on the collectors’ marks. The database incorporates the two historical volumes (5215 marks in total), as well as a first part of the numerous new entries for marks created by private or institutional collectors, and other, older marks that had escaped the original research and deserve to be known. In addition, a number of original entries were extended and completed and several anonymous marks were identified. The database is continually being enriched.
The Fondation Custodia is thus able to put a unique, free, research tool at the disposal of all those interested in the history of prints and drawings collectors and collections. The interface, developed by Loodvrij, allows easy access to any collector’s mark via multiple criteria such as number, name or description. The Fondation Custodia will carry out regular updates of the base.
The database of the Marques de collections by Lugt is accessible at: http://www.marquesdecollections.fr