Tag Archives: Art History Research Tools

An Opera Singer’s Digestion and an Art Bully’s Tactics

George L. Stout, conservator with Harvard’s Fogg Museum of Art in the 1920s, first articulated the three-legged stool approach to art authentication when connoisseurship alone was the standard. Questioning a connoisseur’s opinion, “was as naughty as inquiring about the digestive … Continue reading

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The Importance of Dating

In the 1920s, an elderly woman from Liberty, Missouri, gave her niece two rolled, damaged canvases. One, she said, depicted the niece’s grandfather, James Turner Vance Thompson  (1797-1872); the other, one of his three wives. In the 19th century, it was not uncommon for a … Continue reading

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Unraveling a Mystery Part III

                  Clues to a painting’s story are often found in the marks–a signature, an old exhibition label, or a notation by a previous owner.  However, the sole mark on the verso of … Continue reading

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How to Be Your Own Art Detective

Part Four: Subject and Style Framing an artwork in historical context through both subject and style helps to determine the artist and the date.  You probably noticed the subject of the painting before you even looked for a signature or … Continue reading

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How to Be Your Own Art Detective

So far in the How to Be Your Own Art Detective series, we have looked for clues about a painting’s story from the artist and the provenance.  Now it is time to look closely at the painting itself. Part Three: Examination … Continue reading

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Watson’s Insight

This last weekend, I watched the wonderful film The Artist with a group of friends.  I was reminded how often people and things of the past are put aside, to become distant memories.  Our belief that the rush of new … Continue reading

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How to Be Your Own Art Detective

This is the first in a series of posts on How to Be Your Own Art Detective. Part One: Discover Your Painting’s Story You have a painting in your possession, maybe hanging on a wall in your living room, maybe … Continue reading

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