Artl@s. Tracing the circulation of artists and works through exhibitions

, updated on
17 July 2021
Le Salon de 1787 au Louvre, gravure de Pietro Antonio Martini.

Founded at ENS-PSL in 2009, Artl@s is structured around a digital database of exhibition catalogs, intended to contain all types of exhibition catalogs, from the invention of the catalog (Salon de Paris, 1673) to the present day.

This database is georeferenced and dated. It allows us to map exhibitions, to retrace the circulation of works and artists' exhibitions. It also allows, when this information is available, to link the works exhibited to their location, their owners, the place of birth of their author, and all other types of information provided in the catalogs. With its mapping and analysis tools, the Artl@s project contributes to dephasing our sources, our narratives, and to building bridges between artistic geographies.

The content of the database is contributed voluntarily by dozens of passionate researchers, active all over the world. They give their time and expertise to contribute to the project - to make georeferenced data, often difficult to access, available to all. The Artl@s database should help to broaden the horizons of art history both from a sociological point of view (making room for the many) and from a geographical point of view (making room for the "peripheries").


The construction of the Artl@s database was financed by the Agence nationale pour la Recherche (ANR), thanks to a Young Researchers project (2011-2016). Its development and maintenance are currently made possible thanks to the support of ENS-PSL and the labex TransferS (École normale supérieure - Collège de France, Paris), of the EUR Translitterae and of the Unige.

Structured around its seminar and its journal, Artl@s is also the initiator of training workshops on digital and transnational approaches. The group regularly organizes international meetings on the world history of art, on the social history of art and on digital humanities.

Le Salon de 1787 au Louvre, gravure de Pietro Antonio Martini.


  • Founder and Director of Artl@s : Béatrice Joyeux-Prunel, Full Professor at the University of Geneva in Switzerland (Faculté de Lettres - School of Humanities), chair for Digital Humanities.
  • Vice Director of Artl@s, and Editor of the peer-review journal Artl@s Bulletin : Catherine Dossin, Associate Professor of Art History at Purdue University (USA)
  • Manager of the Artl@s Database : Léa Saint-Raymond
  • Database structure: Yann Leboulanger.
  • Other members


The Artl@s Bulletin is a peer-reviewed, transdisciplinary journal devoted to spatial and transnational questions in the history of the arts, published by Artl@s in partnership with Purdue Scholarly Publishing Services.

The Artl@s Bulletin ’s ambition is twofold: 1. a focus on the “transnational” as constituted by exchange between the local and the global or between the national and the international; 2. an openness to innovation in research methods, particularly the quantitative possibilities offered by digital mapping and data visualization.


In order to train students in the methods of transnational and social art history, and in dialogue with the international scientific community, Artl@s organizes a research seminar every year.