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Art: Provenance

Provenance - Definition

"Provenance. The record of the ownership of a work of art. A complete provenance accounts for the whereabouts of a work from leaving the artist's studio to the present day, and the nearer a work's pedigree approaches this ideal, the more secure its *attribution is likely to be."

Ian Chilvers, Harold Osborne, and Dennis Farr, eds. The Oxford Dictionary of Art. New ed. Oxford ; New York: Oxford University Press, 1997, 453.

General Resoruces

  • Getty Provenance Index
    • Contains 1.5 million records taken from source material such as archival inventories, auction catalogs, and dealer stock books. Click here for content breakdown.
  • International Foundation for Art Research
    • "A not-for-profit educational and research organization dedicated to integrity in the visual arts.
  • International Culture Property Protection
    • Enables the Department of State to consider requests from any country party to the 1970 UNESCO Convention to impose import restrictions on cultural materials.
  • Lost Art Internet Database
    • "Set up jointly by the Government and the Länder of the Federal Republic of Germany and registers cultural objects which as a result of persecution under the Nazi dictatorship and the Second World War were relocated, moved or seized, especially from Jewish owners."
  • Terra Foundation Center for Digital Collections
    • A virtual repository of a substantial cross-section of the Archives of American Art's most significant collections.

World War II Era Resources