For those who are frustrated by the seeming shortage of high-resolution images of great paintings on the web, and are tired of navigating little zoom windows to try to get a glimpse of brushwork or paint surface, one resource for full screen high-resolution images of artwork is the auction catalog preview feature on the Sotheby’s auction site, as I mentioned in my previous post about Sotheby’s.
This is an ever changing resource; you have to be patient and continue to watch for new auctions as time goes on if you want to catch the kind of images you want to see.
There are two current auctions at Sotheby’s that I find of particular interest. The online catalogs contain some beautiful museum-quality gems for which the auction house has provided high-resolution images.
One is an auction of 19th Century European Art that includes works by Giovanni Boldini, Gustav Courbet, Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot, Joaquin Sorolla, and such well known paintings as Bouguereau’s L’Amour et Psyché.
The other is an auction of Impressionist and Modern Art, which is divided into an Evening Sale and a Day Sale. There, amid a plethora of Picassos, you will find gems by Eugéne Boudin, Camille Pissarro, Claude Monet and Henri Le Sidaner.
Yes, these are still zooming images, but you are zooming within a the full resolution of your screen instead of a little box. Many of the images are high resolution enough that they rival what you could take with your own camera standing in front of the original (not quite as high resolution, but better in terms of lighting). Some of them are a bit pixelated or soft at highest resolution, but still well worthwhile because of the level of detail.
Once in an online catalog, you can browse by thumbnails in a grid or list view, or simply page through each image individually with forward and back arrows. Zoom in to your hearts content and pan around the larger than full screen images.
These listings will be gone before long, but the site bears watching for the next group of museum level paintings changing hands among the hyper-rich.
(Images above, with accompanying full resolution details: Eugéne Boudin, Joaquin Sorolla Y Bastida, Claude Monet, Gustav Courbet)
[Addendum: Great new E-Catalogue added for exhibition of 19th Century European paintings, with Orientalist painters, Spanish painters, including Sorolla, and Scandinavian painters, including Frits Thaulow and Peder Monstead! Great stuff]