Art & Object (A&O): It’s great to see that you’re working to make art editions, art collecting, and art history more accessible through the new free online platform — ars publicata. How did this idea come about and what was your main motivation? Did you hit any roadblocks along the way?
Pauline Schellmann (PS): As a publisher of fine art editions with over 50 years of experience and editor of the edition catalogues raisonnés for artists such as Beuys, Christo, Judd, or Warhol, my father Jörg Schellmann recognized a lack of accurate, up-to-date, and truly accessible documentation on these artworks.
So, we started researching existing catalogues raisonnés and other comprehensive publications, building a sophisticated but easy-to-use catalogue raisonné database, and finally, researching artist edition oeuvres ourselves to create work listings.
Catalogues raisonnés usually take years to build and once published are the definitive resource; our work listings are more works-in-progress to provide an overview and as much information as possible - sometimes created in collaboration with an artist’s estate/studio, other times simply researched and compiled in-house. Not being able to convince everyone to participate or not being able to get in touch with all the featured artists in the first place was probably our biggest roadblock. But sharing our own research that we will hopefully be able to continue to improve – perhaps even with our users’ input – created an exciting new opportunity and approach.