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Provenance Research in American Institutions

posted by Linda Downs — Aug 28, 2014

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: journals@rowman.com with “Issue 10.03” in the subject line. Further information about the journal may be obtained online: https://rowman.com/Page/Journals.

Filed under: Publications, Research