Scholars in multiple disciplines around the world have long heralded the Photoarchive of the Frick Art Reference Library as uniquely valuable to research that relates to object-oriented study of works of art. Without this repository of an estimated 1.2 million images of works created by more than 40,000 artists, curators, art dealers, and authors of monographic catalogues would be hard pressed to find visual documentation of unpublished art and the preparatory studies, versions, copies, or forgeries that relate to those and even to more famous works. In recent years, the Frick's Photoarchive has also played a key role in helping researchers compile provenance information about art looted during World War II. Lynn Nicholas, the highly respected author of The Rape of Europa: The Fate of Europe's Treasures in the Third Reich and the Second World War (New York, 1994), recently noted that "to do provenance research, of course, one of the very first places to go is the Frick..." Until now, online access to these valuable resources has been limited to searches for the artists' files, the results of which indicate the amount of material the Photoarchive has for a given artist, but no specific information about individual works of art. For that, researchers had to visit the Library premises, and manually browse the photographs stored on file.
The Frick Art Reference Library and its partners in the New York Art Resources Consortium (NYARC)-the libraries of The Museum of Modern Art and the Brooklyn Museum-are pleased to announce that through a complex process of data migration, all of the Photoarchive's research database records created since 1996 (and all future records created both for the existing collection and for new acquisitions) may now be accessed via NYARC's online catalog Arcade (http://arcade.nyarc.org/search~S7). These online records in Arcade offer detailed historical documentation for the works of art, including basic information about the artist, title, medium, dimensions, date, and owner of the work, as well as former attributions, provenance, variant titles, records of exhibition and condition history, and biographical information about portrait subjects. Andrew W. Mellon Chief Librarian Stephen Bury comments, "For us the incorporation of the Photoarchive records in Arcade means that the richness of all of the Frick's research collections will be available to scholars everywhere and the image collection will be discoverable as easily as our other special collections of auction catalogues and exhibition ephemera through a single search in Arcade. We know that the road that will take us to full digitization of the archive is long (currently online access is possible to only 125,000 items in the archive, but the Frick is committed to the digital future of this exceptional resource)." To cite a typical example of the advantages users will gain from the seamless searchabilty across text and image collections that the Frick now makes possible: locating the catalog of the Stroganoff sale at Lepke in 1931 now yields not only the publication, itself, but also the works of art listed documented as sold there by the Photoarchive, one of which was part of the Goudstikker collection that was recently restituted to the heirs.