Notes on Using the Index

The Print Council of America's Index to Print Catalogues Raisonné (IPCR) is for you if you need to know about the prints or photographs that a particular American, European or Japanese artist has made (or that have been made after his or her designs) and want to find out if there is an oeuvre-catalogue of his or her prints or photographs. An oeuvre-catalogue is defined here as any listing of the artist’s total output, or some clearly defined section of that output: for example, all the prints in one technique, or all the prints made up to a certain date, or all of the photographs of one subject. Catalogues of the output of print publishers and print publishing houses have been included as well.

IPCR is currently searchable by the name of the artist or publisher whose work is being catalogued. Artists known only by dates (Master of 1515) and by nicknames (Master of the Playing Cards) can be found by searching on the words "Master of" or by searching on the date or keyword(s) from the nickname ("1515" or "Playing Cards"). Artists known only by monogram (Monogrammist E.S.) can be found by searching on the word "Monogrammist" or on the letters which make up the monogram ("E.S." or "ES"). Indecipherable monograms and figures are found by searching on the words "Monogram Symbol" or by going to the Thumbnails of Symbols page and following the appropriate link (see also the explanatory text Searching for Monogrammists and Symbols).

If the artist that you are looking for is not in the IPCR check the Multi-Artist Catalogues Not Indexed page. One of the publications listed there may contain a partial or complete oeuvre-catalogue of the artist’s work. Also check the Links to Other Resources page for additional options.

The artist Michiel Sweerts will serve as an example to show how oeuvre-catalogues are displayed and described.

Sweerts, Michiel 1618-1664 Flemish

Alias or alternative spelling: Sweerts, Michael; Suars, Michael; Suarssi, Michael; Suerts, Michiellooe, John,

The first line of the entry will be the artist’s name, followed by his or her life or at work dates, and nationality. This will be followed by a list of alias or alternative names that may have been used by the artist, or may merely represent computer-searchable alternatives to the original spelling. If no aliases or alternative spellings are known, this line will not appear. For more see What is an Alias or Alternative Name?

The artist’s name will be followed by one or more citations, which will display in order of publication date from the earliest to the most recent publication:

Hollstein, F. W. H., et al. Dutch and Flemish etchings, engravings, and woodcuts, ca. 1450-1700. (Amsterdam: Menno Hertzberger, 1949-[2000]). vol. XXIX, pp. 127-136.

Comments: 54 vols (additional volumes in progress in 2000). Catalogues are frequently compiled from various secondary sources, and information provided varies greatly within a single catalogue. The Print Council Index indicates only the number of entries and the presence of illustrations, but in addition the catalogues usually give dimensions and sometimes inscriptions and states.

Entries: 21, plus one known but unlocated. Illustrated.

Bartsch, Adam, et al. The Illustrated Bartsch (New York: Abaris Books, 1978 - ongoing 1999). vol. 5, pp. 376-384 [MH-FA].

Comments: Multi-volume work designed to provide illustrations and updated scholarship to [B.]. Volumes indexed include: vols. 1-20; vols. 24-48; vols. 50, 52, 53, 55, 56, 72, 90, 121, 141. Not indexed: vols. 23, 80-87, 161-164 which all discuss works by anonymous artists. Gaps in volume run indicate no volume published as of 1999.

Entries: 16. Illustrated.

Kultzen, Rolf, Diane Webb (trans.). Michael Sweerts, Brussels 1618 - Goa 1664 (Doornspijk: Davaco, 1996). [MH-FA].

Entries: 20 by, 5 rejected. Millimeters. Inscriptions. Illustrated. Bibliography for each entry.

These citations may represent multi-artist publications (such as The Illustrated Bartsch), monographs, exhibition catalogues, periodical articles, theses, or manuscripts.

Comments which may follow the main citation can include further description of catalogue entries or will provide general information about the publication, including the number of volumes, other editions, reprints, languages used in the publication, etc.

The comments, if any, are followed by the Entries portion of the record. Entries consist of a series of code words and phrases describing the contents of the catalogue and showing what information is provided for each print. These and all other descriptive terms are defined at length on the Glossary of Symbols and Code Words page. In this example, the Hollstein series catalogues and illustrates 21 prints, and includes information on a 22nd print which is known but unlocated. The Illustrated Bartsch catalogues and illustrates 16 prints. The monograph by Kultzen catalogues 20 prints and rejects 5 others. Measurements are provided in millimeters; inscriptions on the prints are transcribed wholly or in part; the prints are all illustrated; and a bibliography of additional sources is provided for each print.

Library abbreviations which may appear in a citation, such as [MH-FA], in the above example, are defined in full on the Library Codes page. Other abbreviations which may appear in a citation such as the [B.] in the example above are defined in full on Frequently Cited Books and Periodicals Abbreviations.

Normally, if a code word or symbol is missing from the description of a catalogue, it means the catalogue does not give that information. The following catalogue, for example, is simply a partially illustrated list of titles and dimensions:

Rouault, Georges 1871-1958 French

Agustoni, Fabrizio. "The graphic work of Georges Rouault." Print collector/Il conoscitore di stampe 1 (Autumn/Winter 1972): 14-35. [MH-FA].

Entries: 202. Millimeters. Illustrated (selection).

For some multi-artist catalogues, however, IPCR does not give a complete description. For such publications, the phrase "See Comments" or "References only" will appear instead of the usual entry descriptors. "See Comments" indicates that the full description of the publication in the Comments field will supply additional information. "References only" indicates that the catalogue does not list any prints by the artist in question, but does provide references to other publications.

For hard-to-find catalogues, manuscripts, and catalogues published in limited editions, as well as for most works published after 1972, IPCR provides the abbreviation for the name of a library or print room where the catalogue can be found.

View Library Codes

By design, IPCR covers all oeuvre-catalogues of prints, drawings and photographs by and after European, American, and Japanese artists. In practice, this statement needs some qualification.

  • Printmakers who confined themselves to maps or calligraphy are not covered.
  • Artists belonging to the European tradition in former colonial areas like Australia have been included.
  • Occasionally, a catalogue featuring an artist from outside these geographic confines has also made it’s way into IPCR, usually because a catalogue was discovered in the course of other research.

In addition, the indexing of multi-artist catalogues is not perfectly consistent. Beraldi’s Les graveurs du xixe siècle is indexed, although some of Beraldi's entries are not complete oeuvre-catalogues. Nagler's Die Monogrammisten is not indexed, although some of its entries are complete oeuvre-catalogues. The list of Multi-Artist Catalogues Not Indexed is a warning that IPCR is not complete in this respect, and can be a guide to further research.

Finally, there are the catalogues that have completely escaped listing. If you are dealing with an artist whose reputation was primarily local, there may well be an manuscript oeuvre-catalogue or an ephemeral pamphlet which never entered the major libraries and print rooms that were consulted for this index, but which can be found in a local museum, library, or historical society.