Chrysler Museum Knoedler Auction Catalog and Artist File Accessibility Project


The Jean Outland Chrysler Library is known as a source of historic, rare, and otherwise unobtainable materials key to tracing the provenance of many works of art. In 1977 Walter P. Chrysler, Jr. bought the London art history library of M. Knoedler & Co., Ltd. At the time of its acquisition, this large collection of monographs, reference books, auction and exhibition catalogues, price indices, and periodicals comprised a comprehensive library of every publication of importance in the fields of fine and decorative arts. Two portions of this extremely useful collection, Auction Catalogs and Artist Files, remain uncataloged and undescribed. The Library currently holds 30,875 auction catalogs dating from the early-19th century to the present. Included are catalogs from well-known auction houses such as Christie’s and Sotheby’s, as well as less-known and extinct firms. The physical catalogs are significant research resources because they contain original handwritten annotations of sale prices, newspaper clippings, and notes. Also associated with this collection are 51 linear feet of Artist Files. These files contain materials from the Knoedler Library collection, as well as items gathered by Walter P. Chrysler, Jr. They include manuscript materials and original works of art created by individual artists, records relating to the sale of artworks, clippings from 19th through 21st century periodicals, catalogs and exhibition materials, as well as a wide variety of ephemera.


Cataloging Hidden Collections

Amount Awarded

Year Added



Jean Outland Chrysler Library


  • Laura Christiansen

Collection Size

51 linear feet, 30875 objects

Date Range

1827 - 2010

Geographic Scope

The bulk of the Auction Catalog collection derives from the United States, Canada, United Kingdom, France, Germany, Italy, and other Western European nations. Some catalogs from Australian, Japanese, African and South American sales are also present. The Artist Files include materials from all continents and are in multiple languages, although the bulk relate to North American, European, and Asian artists.