The Viennese art-market-researcher Werner J. Schweiger (1949 – 2011) started his forward-looking collecting activities in the 1970’s. He collected material to relevant information about the production and communication of modern art.
Schweiger acquired a significant library with historical exhibition catalogues of galleries, art magazines and rare publications with rather little financial resources and became a pioneer for the art-market research. He gained additional information by consulting art historians, archivist and descendants of gallery owners. The so-called “Kunstarchiv Werner J. Schweiger” (Art Archive Werner J. Schweiger) is a combination of all those sources of information.
The essence of the “Kunstarchiv” is a collection of index cards that comprehends more than 135.000 single cards. Until Schweiger´s death in 2011, he was able to prepare a lexicon about the most important galleries of modernism before 1937 using the information from the index cards. However, after his extensive research, the work on the publication could not be finalized.
In 2016 the Berlinische Galerie could acquire all relevant materials to art dealers and art collectors from Schweiger's “Kunstarchiv” with the help of a private sponsor. The Berlinische Galerie committed to evaluate the collection and to give access for the provenance and art-market research in accordance with the Common Declaration.
The first step is to make the documents for the preparation of the lexicon available at Collection Online, the online collection database of the Berlinische Galerie. These documents are structured data sheets with information about the historical development of 255 galleries. Datasets for index cards to those, as well 300 additional galleries, are also available online.