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Provenance Research in American Institutions

posted by Linda Downs

Rowman & Littlefield is pleased to announce the release of Volume 10, Number 3 of Collections: A Journal for Museum and Archives Professionals, a focused issue dedicated to the subject of provenance research in American institutions. Guest-Edited by Jane C. Milosch, Lynn H. Nicholas, and Megan M. Fontanella, the issue draws attention to current research in the field by highlighting key resources and initiatives, case studies from collections throughout the United States, and perspectives on unprovenanced cultural property and Nazi-era claims.

\Bringing together the expertise of independent scholars and professionals who are affiliated with American institutions, this issue aims to foster dialogue among museums, archives, and research centers and to broaden the accessibility of information. The collection of articles opens with a Foreword by Megan M. Fontanella and an introduction by Lynn H. Nicholas. A closer look at resources and initiatives is offered in the following articles: “Provenance: Not the Problem (The Solution): Smithsonian Provenance Research Initiative” by Jane C. Milosch; “Princes, Dukes, and Counts: Pedigrees and Problems in the Kress Collection” by Nancy H. Yeide; “The ‘German Sales 1930–1945’ Database Project” by Christian Huemer; and Laurie A. Stein’s “’Everyone Brings a Piece to the Puzzle’: Conversations with Elaine Rosenberg and Reflections on Provenance Research among The Paul Rosenberg Archives.” Case studies include: “Navigating the Gray Area: Pechstein’s Girl Combing Her Hair, the Littmann Collection, and the Limits of Evidence” by Catherine Herbert; “Researching the Wertheim Collection at the Harvard Art Museums” by Elizabeth M. Rudy; “One Painting Concealed Behind Another: Picasso’s La Douleur (1903) and Guitar, Gas-Jet, and Bottle (1913)” by Christel Hollevoet-Force; “The Eugene Garbáty Collection of European Art” by Victoria Reed; and Dorota Chudzicka’s “’In Love at First Sight Completely, Hopelessly, and Forever with Chinese Art’: The Eugene and Agnes Meyer Collection of Chinese Art at the Freer Gallery of Art.” Perspectives on legal claims include Gary Vikan’s “Provenance Research and Unprovenanced Cultural Property” and Stephen W. Clark’s “Nazi-Era Claims and Art Museums: The American Perspective”.

This impressive group of articles is valuable to art historians, curators, and myriad others whose work addresses provenance. The collection showcases thoughtful, methodical and meticulous research related to individual owners and to individual works and collections of art. It serves as a touchstone for provenance research in American Institutions. Journal Editor Juilee Decker stated, “It is particularly exciting to see this issue of Collections appear in print. This focused issue takes the lead in proactive press regarding the continuous efforts of provenance research at American institutions. Building on the recent interest surrounding ‘The Monuments Men,’ this journal forms part of the epilogue to an unfinished story of provenance that both pre- and post-dates the Second World War, providing insight into the challenging, exciting and ongoing work of provenance researchers that continues to be integral to museums worldwide.”

“The value of this focused issue on provenance research in American institutions,” remarks guest editor and Director of the Smithsonian Provenance Research Initiative Jane C. Milosch, is that it “brings together scholars and researchers to share their incredible work and to initiate important discussions for the future. While the greatest focus and challenge of provenance research remains sifting through immense amounts of paper and digital archival materials, communication and collaboration are essential to effective provenance research and to sharing with and educating others on how specialized and time-consuming provenance research is with its often inconclusive results and on-going nature.”

Published by AltaMira Press (an imprint of Roman & Littlefield), Collections: A Journal for Museum and Archives Professionals is a multidisciplinary journal for all aspects of handling, preserving, researching, interpreting, and organizing collections. To purchase Volume 10, Number 3 (Summer 2014) focusing on “Provenance Research in American Institutions” call 1.800.273.2223 or send an email to: with “Issue 10.03” in the subject line. Further information about the journal may be obtained online:

Filed under: Publications, Research

News from the Art and Academic Worlds

posted by Christopher Howard

Each week CAA News publishes summaries of eight articles, published around the web, that CAA members may find interesting and useful in their professional and creative lives.

From the Archives: The First Week of the Academic Term

The ProfHacker archives are full of useful ideas, tools, and advice relevant to the first week of a new academic semester or quarter. In addition to the posts highlighted below, you may want to check out some previous From the archives posts on New Semester, New Year, Creating Syllabi, and Grading. (Read more from ProfHacker.)

Sabbatical Planning

A sabbatical was finally mine, but now what? I read as much as I could find, and contacted colleagues who had recently ended their sabbaticals for advice. Their accumulated advice roughly fell into the familiar set of questions, albeit in a different order: the Why, What, Who, Where, How and When of sabbatical. (Read more from Inside Higher Ed.)

Ethics for Dealers: Deaccessioning

If someone helps another person commit a crime, he’s an accessory to the illegal act and probably guilty of an infraction. What about an ethical violation? The question is becoming increasingly relevant in the art world as the Delaware Art Museum deaccessions works of art to pay off its debt and, as first conceived, built up its endowment. (Read more from Art Antiques Design.)

Getty Thesaurus of Geographic Names Released as Linked Open Data

The Getty Thesaurus of Geographic Names is a resource of over 2 million names of current and historical places, including cities, archaeological sites, nations, and physical features. It focuses mainly on places relevant to art, architecture, archaeology, art conservation, and related fields. (Read more from Getty Iris.)

The Free and Antifree

For a young writer who hopes to produce literature, the greatest difference between now and twenty years ago may be that now she expects to get paid. Twenty years ago, art and commerce appeared to be opposing forces. The more you were paid for your work, the more likely you were to be a hack. (Read more from N+1.)

More Hospitals Use the Healing Powers of Art

Researchers are learning more about the precise ways paintings and other works of art help patients and families in the healing process. With studies showing a direct link between the content of images and the brain’s reaction to pain, stress, and anxiety, hospitals are considering and choosing artworks based on the evidence and giving it a higher priority than merely decoration for sterile rooms and corridors. (Read more from the Wall Street Journal.)

I Used to Be a Good Teacher

I spent five years on the tenure track. Now I’m an adjunct, and the move has affected my teaching in ways I didn’t anticipate. I’m not the teacher I once was, largely thanks to the lack of support I receive as an adjunct. Sadly, my students suffer the loss. (Read more from Vitae.)

The Invention of the “Snapshot” Changed the Way We Viewed the World

The age of everyday camera drones has arrived—bringing strange new forms of photography—and they’re causing new privacy panics. How will society change when anyone can spy from above? We can find some clues by looking at the last great shift in photography: the rise of the personal camera and the birth of the “snapshot.” It was a moment that changed the way we recorded the world. (Read more from Smithsonian Magazine.)

Filed under: CAA News

Mentors Needed for the 2015 Annual Conference

posted by Lauren Stark

For the 103rd Annual Conference, taking place February 11–14, 2015, in New York, CAA seeks established professionals in the visual arts to volunteer as mentors for two Career Services programs: the Artists’ Portfolio Review and Career Development Mentoring. Participating as a mentor is an excellent way to serve the field and to assist the professional growth of the next generation of artists and scholars.

Art historians and studio artists must be tenured; critics, museum educators, and curators must have five years’ experience. Curators and educators must be currently employed by a museum or university gallery.

Artists’ Portfolio Review

CAA seeks artists, critics, curators, and educators to serve in the Artists’ Portfolio Review. In this program, mentors review and provide feedback on digital images or DVDs of work by artist members in personal twenty-minute consultations. Whenever possible, CAA matches artists and mentors based on medium or discipline. Mentors provide an important service to artists, enabling them to receive professional criticism of their work.

Interested candidates must be current CAA members and prepared to give five successive twenty-minute critiques in a two-hour period on one of the two days of the review: Thursday, February 12, and Friday, February 13, 2015, 8:00 AM–NOON and 1:00–5:00 PM each day. Conference registration, while encouraged, is not required to be a mentor. Please send a brief letter of interest and your CV to Lauren Stark, CAA manager of programs. Deadline extended: January 9, 2015.

Career Development Mentoring

CAA seeks mentors from all areas of studio art, art history, art education, film and video, graphic design, the museum professions, and other related fields to serve in Career Development Mentoring. In this program, mentors give valuable advice to emerging and midcareer professionals, reviewing cover letters, CVs, digital images, and other pertinent job-search materials in personal twenty-minute consultations. Whenever possible, CAA matches participants and mentors based on medium or discipline.

Interested candidates must be current CAA members and prepared to give five successive twenty-minute critiques in a two-hour period on one of the two days of the review: Thursday, February 12, and Friday, February 13, 2015, 8:00 AM–NOON and 1:00–5:00 PM each day. Conference registration, while encouraged, is not required to be a mentor. Please send a brief letter of interest and your CV to Lauren Stark, CAA manager of programs. Deadline extended: January 9, 2015.

Career Development Mentoring is not intended as a screening process by institutions seeking new hires. CAA does not accept applications from individuals whose departments are conducting a faculty search in the field in which they are mentoring. Mentors should not be attending the conference as candidates for positions in the same field in which mentees may be applying.

Image: A mentoring session at the 2012 Annual Conference in Los Angeles (photograph by Bradley Marks)

CAA has filled all the positions for room monitors but is still seeking projectionists.

Working as a projectionist or room monitor at CAA’s 103rd Annual Conference, taking place February 11–14, 2015, in New York, is a great way to save on conference expenses. All candidates must be US citizens or permanent US residents. CAA encourages students and emerging professionals—especially those in the New York area—to apply for service.


CAA seeks applications for projectionists for conference program sessions. Successful applicants are paid $12 per hour and receive complimentary conference registration. Projectionists are required to work a minimum of four 2½-hour program sessions, from Wednesday, February 11 to Saturday, February 14; they must also attend a training meeting on Wednesday morning at 7:30 AM. Projectionists must be familiar with digital projectors. Please send a brief letter of interest to Lauren Stark, CAA manager of programs and archivist. Deadline extended: December 1, 2014.

Room Monitors

CAA needs room monitors for two Career Services mentoring programs (the Artists’ Portfolio Review and Career Development Mentoring), several offsite sessions, and other conference events, to be held from Wednesday, February 11 to Saturday, February 14; they must also attend a training meeting on Thursday morning at 7:30 AM. Successful candidates are paid $12 per hour and receive complimentary conference registration. Room monitors are required to work a minimum of eight hours, checking in participants and facilitating the work of the mentors. Please send a brief letter of interest to Lauren Stark, CAA manager of programs and archivist. No more room monitors are needed.

Image: A 2013 Annual Conference session (photograph by Bradley Marks)

Filed under: Annual Conference, Students

Participate in ARTexchange

posted by Lauren Stark

ARTexchange for the 2015 Annual Conference in New York is now full.

The Services to Artists Committee invites artist members to participate in ARTexchange, the annual meet-up for artists and curators at CAA’s unique pop-up exhibition. This social event provides an opportunity for artists to share their work and build affinities with other artists, historians, curators, and cultural producers. ARTexchange will take place at the 103rd Annual Conference on Friday evening, February 13, 2015, from 5:30 to 7:30 PM. This event is free and open to the public.

Each artist is given the space on, above, and beneath a six-foot table to exhibit their works: prints, paintings, drawings, photographs, sculptures, and small installations; performance, process-based, interactive and participatory works are especially encouraged. Previous ARTexchange participants have found that this parameter sparked many creative display options. Depending on the number and type of submissions CAA receives, a schedule of performances may be created. Please note that artwork cannot be hung on walls, and it is not possible to run power cords from laptops or other electronic devices to outlets—bring fully charged batteries.

To participate, send an email to Lauren Stark, CAA manager of programs. Include your CAA member number and a brief description of what you plan to present. Please provide details regarding performance, sound, spoken word, or technology-based work, including laptop presentations. You will receive an email confirmation. Because ARTexchange is a popular venue and participation is based on available space, early applicants are given preference. Participants are responsible for their work; CAA is not liable for losses or damages. Sales of work are not permitted. Deadline extended: January 9, 2015.

Image: Hannah Skoonberg participated in ARTexchange at the 2014 Annual Conference in Chicago (photograph by Bradley Marks)

News from the Art and Academic Worlds

posted by Christopher Howard

Each week CAA News publishes summaries of eight articles, published around the web, that CAA members may find interesting and useful in their professional and creative lives.

Almanac of Higher Education 2014

The Chronicle’s twenty-seventh annual collection of data on colleges answers perennial questions like how much faculty make and which colleges are growing the fastest. This year’s almanac also gives you new ways to compare institutions. Which colleges have the most students enrolled in online courses? Which have the highest percentages of nonresident aliens? Browse the charts and tables in these sections to find out. (Read more from the Chronicle of Higher Education.)

Starting Over, Part 1

First, congratulations. You got a job, which isn’t easy to do these days. I know you’re probably very stressed out right now. I’ve felt that way four times. I have written elsewhere of my academic employment history, but suffice it to say, yes: four tenure-track jobs, four cross-country moves, four universities, four times I’ve started from scratch. So, here’s my hard-earned advice about adjusting to a new place, managing your expectations, and getting what you really want. (Read more from Inside Higher Ed.)

Starting Over, Part 2

In the first part of this essay on tips for professors on starting over at a new college, I offered advice on seeking mentors, changing your thinking from your grad school days, and “thinking like a lawyer.” Here’s my second batch of hard-earned advice (from my multiple job changes) about adjusting to a new place, managing your expectations, and getting what you really want. (Read more from Inside Higher Ed.)

How to Write an Honest but Collegial Book Review

I have agreed to write a book review, and I’m frankly not sure how to proceed. My advisor, who invited me to write it, is not a fan of this particular author and will expect a critical review. But the author, as someone who works in my area, is a possible contact/future colleague, and I don’t want to alienate him by writing a scathing review. Is there some formula to follow for writing book reviews? Do you have any tips for writing a critical review that doesn’t shred the book? (Read more from Vitae.)

Beyond the Relic Cult of Art

I am nostalgic for a time before the modern concept of art forgery had gelled, when it was possible to imagine many ways for artworks to exist out of their time. I love the culture of Renaissance art because it was not settled in its categories, and produced art out of that unsettlement. It knew forgery, but it wrinkled time in other ways as well. (Read more from the Brooklyn Rail.)

Digitizing Warhol’s Film Trove to Save It

Andy Warhol wrote lovingly of his ever-present tape recorder. But for almost a decade beginning in the 1960s, his real boon companions seemed to be his 16mm film cameras, which he used to record hundreds of reels, many of which are still little known even among scholars because of the fragility of the film and the scarcity of projectors to show them on. Now the Warhol Museum and the Museum of Modern Art, which holds the artist’s film archives, are beginning a project to digitize the materials. (Read more from the New York Times.)

Rethinking My Cell Phone/Computer Policy

My banning of cell phones and laptops, particularly the way I articulate it as a “ban” in my policies, suddenly seemed inconsistent with my own philosophies. And yet, I still don’t want students habitually using their phones or computers in class, unless we are in the midst of an activity—such as database research—that is obviously facilitated by their computers. (Read more from Inside Higher Ed.)

Camera Phones Stoke Fears That Technology Is Leaving Us Incapable of Deep Engagement with Anything

How long do you need to look at a painting to really appreciate it? There are many answers to this question. As long as you like, is one. Longer than you think, is another. The art historian James Elkins wrote that it took him about 100 hours, over three years, to learn to really see a Mondrian painting. He recounts meeting a woman who had spent an hour looking at the same Rembrandt work four times a week for at least two decades—or about 3,000 hours. (Read more from the Independent.)

Filed under: CAA News

The Exhibitor and Advertiser Prospectus for the 2015 Annual Conference in New York is now available for download. Featuring essential details for participation in the Book and Trade Fair, the booklet also contains options for sponsorship opportunities and advertisements in conference publications and on the conference website.

The Exhibitor and Advertiser Prospectus will help you reach a core audience of artists, art historians, educators, students, and administrators, who will converge in New York for CAA’s 103rd Annual Conference, taking place February 11–14, 2015. With three days of exhibit time, the Book and Trade Fair will be centrally located at the Hilton New York, where all programs sessions and special events take place. CAA offers several options for booths and tables that can help you to connect with conference attendees in person. The priority deadline for Book and Trade Fair applications is Friday, October 31, 2014; the final deadline for all applications and full payments is Monday, December 8, 2014.

In addition, sponsorship packages will allow you to maintain a high profile throughout the conference. Companies, organizations, and publishers may choose one of four visibility packages, sponsor specific areas and events such as the Student and Emerging Professionals Lounge, or work with CAA staff to design a custom package. Advertising possibilities include the Conference Program, distributed to over five thousand registrants in the conference tote bag, and the conference website, seen by thousands more. The Conference Information and Registration booklet is digital-only for the first time and a great opportunity to feature color ads that link directly to your website. Web ads are taken on a rolling basis, but the deadline for inclusion in the Conference Information and Registration booklet is Friday, August 29, 2014. The deadline for sponsorships and advertisements in the Conference Program is Friday, December 5, 2014.

Questions about the 2015 Book and Trade Fair? Please contact Paul Skiff, CAA assistant director for Annual Conference, at 212-392-4412. For sponsorship and advertising queries, speak to Hillary Bliss, CAA development and marketing manager, at 212-392-4436.

New Conference Travel Grant for Speakers

posted by Emmanuel Lemakis

CAA is pleased to announce a new travel grant for emerging women scholars presenting as speakers at the Annual Conference. Established by Mary D. Edwards with the help of others, the CAA Travel Grant in Memory of Archibald Cason Edwards, Senior, and Sarah Stanley Gordon Edwards will support the costs of roundtrip travel (plane, train, and ground transportation) and accommodation for the CAA Annual Conference and for conference registration fees to women who are emerging scholars at either an advanced stage of pursuing a doctoral degree (ABD) or who have received their PhD within the two years prior to the submission of the application. The applicants must be presenting research papers at an art-history session at the conference, with a strong preference for papers on any topic pertaining to the art of ancient Greece and Rome, medieval Europe from 400 to 1400, or Europe and North America from 1400 to 1950.

Conference session chairs will identify and nominate appropriate candidates and facilitate the submission of the applications to CAA.

Art History Teaching Resources Seeks Lesson Plans

posted by Michelle Millar Fisher

Do you have a great lesson plan you want to take some time to codify and share? Funded by a Samuel H. Kress Foundation grant for digital resources, Art History Teaching Resources (AHTR), a peer-populated platform for instructors and a collectively authored online repository of art-history teaching content, seeks contributors for specific subject areas in the art-history survey. This is the second call for participation (the first went out in early 2014).

AHTR is particularly interested the following sections in art and architecture for publication in early fall 2014:

  • Jewish and Early Christian Art and Architecture
  • Byzantine Art and Architecture
  • Islamic Art and Architecture
  • Chinese Art and Architecture (early/pre-1279)
  • Chinese Art and Architecture (after 1279)
  • Japanese Art and Architecture (early)
  • Japanese Art and Architecture (modern)
  • Korean Art (early)
  • Korean Art and Architecture (modern)
  • Art and Architecture of Africa
  • Early Medieval Art in Europe
  • Romanesque Art and Architecture
  • Gothic Art and Architecture
  • Art of Pacific Cultures
  • Eighteenth- and Early-Nineteenth-Century Art in Europe and North America
  • Eighteenth- and Nineteenth-Century Sculpture
  • Twentieth-Century Sculpture

AHTR is also interested in receiving proposals for thematic art-history survey lesson plans. The editors have already received plans that engage with, for example, “Race and Identity” and “Transnationalism and Citizenship.” Please propose a thematic plan germane to the survey-level class.

For each content area, AHTR seeks lecture and lesson plans similar to those developed for its sections on the Americas (pre-1300) and Feminist Art. (Please see a great example here.) Full template guidelines will be given for the sections to be included in each plan; writers will be expected to review and amend their plan (if necessary), once edited by AHTR. These plans, which will be posted to the AHTR website in fall 2014, are supported by $250 writing grants made possible by the Kress award.

AHTR is looking for contributors who:

  • Have strong experience teaching the art-history survey and strong interest in developing thoughtful, clear, and detailed lesson plans in particular subject areas
  • Are committed to delivering lecture content (plan, PowerPoint, resources, activities) for one to two (a maximum of two) content areas in a timely manner. Each content area will be supported by a $250 Kress writing grant.
  • Are able to make a September deadline for submission and an early October deadline for any edits.
  • Want to engage with a community of peers in conversations about issues in teaching the art-history survey

AHTR’s intention is to offer monetary support for the often-unrewarded task of developing thoughtful lesson plans, to make this work freely accessible (and thus scalable), and to encourage feedback on them so that the website’s content can constantly evolve in tandem with the innovations and best practices in the field. In this way, AHTR wants to encourage new collaborators to the site—both emerging and experienced instructors in art history—who will enhance and expand teaching content. It also wishes to honor the production of pedagogical content at the university level by offering modest fellowships to support digital means of collaboration among art historians.

Please submit a short, teaching-centered CV and a brief statement of interest that describes which subject area(s) you wish to tackle to These initial texts should be delivered to AHTR in September 2014. Collaboration on content for further subject areas will be solicited throughout 2014.

News from the Art and Academic Worlds

posted by Christopher Howard

Each week CAA News publishes summaries of eight articles, published around the web, that CAA members may find interesting and useful in their professional and creative lives.

Museum under Fire for Selling Its Art

If the Delaware Art Museum has a signature painting, surely it is Howard Pyle’s Marooned (1909), which shows a pirate near death, curled up on a sand bar, a tiny figure enveloped by a burning yellow sky. The painting refers to the old custom of punishing insubordinates by shoving them off a ship and onto an island. But these days, you can also view Marooned as a curiously precise description of the museum, which has been ostracized by its peers. (Read more from the New York Times.)

Writing the Book on Reinventing the Book

Over more than five centuries, books have evolved from collections of folded and gathered pages bound between covers to collections of screens connected to a digital cloud. Yet despite the rise in tablet and ebook usage, print persists. Advocates of hard copy continue to make physical books that fill what few bookstores remain. In other words, the state of books today is multifaceted. How can someone possibly make predictions about the future of books? (Read more from the Atlantic.)

Know the Vital Players in Your Career: You

In more than twenty years of working in academe, I have seen innumerable people sabotage their own careers through terrible mistakes. A bad outcome is sometimes due to chance or forces beyond your control, but the single most important factor determining whether you achieve your career goals, including tenure and promotion, is you. (Read more from the Chronicle of Higher Education.)

Giving Up the Good

Normally I’d be designing a syllabus right now. I’d be waiting to receive my finalized teaching schedule and telling interested students that they will learn which sections are mine as soon as I do. I’d be going over annotated texts to refresh my memory on topics for the first few weeks of class discussion. But none of that is happening this year. It’s not happening because I’m not teaching. Spring semester was my final term in the classroom as an adjunct. (Read more from Vitae.)

Tenure at Small Colleges

Advice on how to earn tenure usually focuses on what one would expect: teaching, scholarship, and service. Much of this advice is geared toward faculty who work at research-focused institutions. Generic advice columns about earning tenure and promotion offer some useful tips but often fail to capture the nature of faculty work and expectation so often found at small liberal-arts colleges, whose nature of faculty work is different from that at research-focused institutions. (Read more from Inside Higher Ed.)

Shared Shelf Commons Now Offers More Than 100,000 Free Files

The number of free images and video in Shared Shelf Commons, an open-access library of digital media, has now topped 100,000. The files come from institutions that subscribe to Shared Shelf, Artstor’s web-based service for cataloging and managing digital collections. (Read more from Artstor Blog.)

Socially Engaged Arts Undervalued, Say Practitioners

The majority of socially engaged arts practitioners feel their work is not valued by the sector as a whole and that there is not enough understanding of its benefits, a new survey has shown. The Paul Hamlyn Foundation’s ArtWorks Evaluation Survey of Artists also reveals that artists working in community, participatory, and socially engaged settings rely heavily on informal training, with codes of practice and standards neglected by employers, commissioners, and artists alike. (Read more from Arts Professional.)

Museums See Different Virtues in Virtual Worlds

This is an account about how two New York museums seized this dream—and how one of them clings to it still, while the other has found that the internet’s true value isn’t in being everywhere but in enhancing the here. They are the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Brooklyn Museum, both ambitious cosmopolitan art institutions but with rather different reputations: the Met an isle in the global archipelago of leading museums, the Brooklyn Museum more rooted in local soil. Yet, for all their differences, they shared a world-conquering dream some years ago. (Read more from the New York Times.)

Filed under: CAA News

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