Provenance

History of Ownership

Fine Art Investigations builds our research from the clues of provenance, the history of ownership. From the first owner to the current owner, provenance can tell us where the painting was created, where it traveled to, and what years each family member or buyer possessed the piece.  Not every artwork has a complete pedigree.  Those that do often retain their worth.  But, even with an incomplete record, we often can find missing pieces and restore value.  Without provenance, the task is difficult; sometimes, impossible. 

Chain of Custody

Provenance also provides proof of chain of custody. In detective novels and police dramas, we often hear the term “chain of custody.” Chain of custody, simply put, is a chronological documentation.  Items documented are the origin of the piece, the identity of all handlers, the duration of custody at each point along the way, and the manner of each transfer of “title.” Unaccounted time periods in provenance are opportunities for unscrupulous activity. Just as evidence could be altered in a break in the chain of custody, a forgery could be substituted for the original. 

(c) 2013 Patricia Moss and Rosemary Hallin, Fine Art Investigations
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