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  • Writer's pictureVan Weyenbergh Fine Art

The provenance of an artwork is essential to obtain a certificate of authenticity.

Updated: Mar 12, 2019

The provenance is the study of ownership of an artwork. It is essential in the research of authenticity of an artwork, the ownerships, the exhibitions; the collections the artwork belonged to are essential to determine an authenticity of an artwork. An artwork without provenance other than the city thrift store will have almost zero chances to succeed to obtain a COA. The provenance has to be verifiable. Dealer records, sales records, archives of artists or collectors, image data basis, “catalogue” raisonne inclusion, are all elements that are verifiable.

Often sole recognized authenticators for an artist will not make a COA if there is no provenance or dubious provenance or unverifiable provenance.

Provenance is essential because we could be confronted with looted art from the Nazi era. Not rarely artwork are seized at auction houses because they belong in reality to heirs of the holocaust victims. Mrs. Altman did not know a painting exhibited in the Austrian Gallery in Vienna, Austria belonged to her. This incredible story was also the subject of a movie, read more in the NY Times.

It is essential to know the provenance of an artwork, because it could have been stolen . The Getty Museum admitted that 350 more artifacts were in reality looted, worth 100 M $ in addition to the 50 other items worth 50M $ and claimed by the Italian government.

IFAR, International Foundation of Art research, in New York published a provenance guide explaining why provenance if so important

- historical research - dealers and collectors research

- auctions records

22 pages file : Guide to study a provenance. Read More:

We will explain more in detail in future Blog pages the importance of the verification of each element in the history of a painting

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