We’ve now added over a million artists to Artfacts!!!!

In celebration of reaching this monumental milestone, we’ve decided to go on a little journey back to the beginning of Artfacts in 1999 during the infamous dot-com boom, to look at the first items entered into our database. With the fast-paced world we live in forever charging forward, sometimes it’s helpful to stop, look back, and see how far we’ve come.

As a Berlin-based company, it’s not surprising that many of our first entries were Germany-centric, but there were still a few nice little surprises along the way.

First Artist Added

Steffi Deparade-Becker

The German artist Steffi Deparade-Becker was the first to be entered in 1999, the painter is known for her works that blur time, memory, and architecture to create feelings of stillness and movement concurrently.

Steffi Deparade-Becker, FLUGOBJEKTE, 60x80cm, Öl auf Leinwand, 2021. (Privately owned)

First Gallery Added

The Agency Gallery

Although the London-based Agency Gallery is now closed, it ran for an impressive 22 years. The gallery focused on curated contemporary exhibitions that regularly included historical artworks as well. The gallery was an important venue for showcasing contemporary artists and had early London shows of artists such as Douglas Gordon, Zoe Leonard, Ken Lum, Hervé Beuze, David Gumbs, Thaddeus Strode, and Peter Zimmermann. In 2001 the Agency won 1st Prize at Art Basel Statements with Scottish artist Ross Sinclair.

First Exhibition Added

The first exhibition entered was the 1999 self-titled solo show of the German artist, Katharina Grosse, at Conrads gallery in Berlin. Grosse is known for her large-scale paintings where explosive colour is applied to architecture, sculptures, interiors, and landscapes. The prominent artist and gallery have had a relationship for over 25 years, with her first exhibition with them held in 1995, and the most recent with active participation in 2014, though another exhibition in 2020 featured works of hers from the gallery’s collection.

Katharina Grosse


First Curator Added

Harald Szeemann

The revolutionary curator and artist Harald Szeemann was the first curator to be added, known for changing the role of curating from a caretaker into a creative act.

First Artwork Added

Thom Barth

The first artwork added was the 1999 work PX-MAKRO (Pilger) by the German conceptual artist Thom Barth, known for collage, installation, drawing, and painting.

Thom Barth, JPX-MAKRO (Pilger), 1999, Jet Print, 100 x 125 cm. Photo: Volker Na, courtesy Galerie Mueller-Roth.

First City Added


South Korea’s effervescent city Seoul was the first to be added to our database. A hub for arts and culture, the capital city is rich with cultural institutions and thriving artists.

From the humble beginnings of these very first data entries in 1999, we now have the most comprehensive art database in the world, with over 1 million artists and exhibitions, and over 34 thousand institutions. In total, we have over 40 million data entry points, creating unparalleled insight. Every single one of these points was manually entered into our system; Artfacts is more than an amalgamation of numbers, images, and facts, its soul is made up of all those who have ever contributed information. Whether employees or interested outside parties, they all had and have one thing in common, a deep love for art.

Expand the way you see art,

The Artfacts Team

Headerimage by Paul Bergmeir on Unsplash