Frequently Asked Questions

Welcome to our page of answers to frequently asked questions. If your question is not answered here, feel free to contact us at

Our services
- Does The Athenaeum sell prints of artworks?
- Does The Athenaeum identify or appraise artworks?
- Can you tell me where you got a particular image?
- Can you tell me who owns an artwork?

Who we are - The Athenaeum went online in late 2000, and has grown steadily ever since. Chris McCormick is the sole programmer and web designer. While he is an avid student of art and the humanities in general, he does not hold a degree in art history and is not an art expert. Chris lives in South Carolina, and the site is hosted on a dedicated server by LayeredTech in Texas.

Our Services

Does The Athenaeum sell prints of artworks? - Unfortunately, we do not sell prints of artworks. The images you see on our web site are the best copies we have, and in most cases, they are not at a high enough resolution to make a good print. You can probably get a nicer print at your local copy shop than we could sell to you.

We would very much like to obtain some higher resolution images of artworks, so that we can sell prints to offset our hosting costs. If you work with a museum or other image resource and would like to help us with this, please contact us at

Does The Athenaeum identify or appraise artworks? - The Athenaeum does not have trained art experts on its staff. For that reason, we are not qualified to identify artworks or assess their value. However, we are more knowledgeable about art than the average person on the street. Feel free to send us your questions, but do not expect professional-level help.

Professional-quality art appraisals can cost a lot of money. It is worth visiting a local gallery or museum for an informal appraisal before paying hundreds of dollars on a real appraisal. If you decide to take the plunge, The International Fine Art Appraisers group has a list of certified appraisers on their web site.

Keep in mind that we have members from all over the world, many of whom work in the museum profession. So, there are professionals who browse this site. We highly recommend that you post your questions in our forums, where all of our members have a chance to see them and help you.

We are interested in building up a network of subject matter experts to refer questions to. If you are a gallery owner, appraiser, museum professional, or are otherwise knowledgeable, send us your contact information and area of expertise via e-mail, and we will add you to our list of references.

Can you tell me where you got a particular image? - Our images are uploaded by site members from all over the world. We have no way of knowing where they got an individual image. Really, the only way to try to find out is to ask the person who uploaded an artwork if they remember where they got it. You can do this in the forums, or by leaving a note on the artwork page. In the future, we hope to build a way to send messages to members while still respecting their privacy. When that happens, it will be easy to ask a contributor questions directly.

You may have noticed that many of our images are uploaded by a contributor called "rocsdad". This particular contributor usually gets images out of old auction catalogs, which are thrown away afterwards. For that reason, the best way to find the source of a rocsdad image is to check with the auction houses themselves, usually Christie's or Sotheby's.

Can you tell me who owns an artwork? - As explained in the answer above, we often do not know where our images came from. If the owner of an artwork is known, that information will be listed on the artwork detail page. In many cases, the artworks come from auction catalogs. Auctions houses follow rules of strict confidentiality for their clients, and it is often impossible to find out who bought a particular painting.