Provenance: An Alternate History of Art (Issues & Debates)

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9781606061220: Provenance: An Alternate History of Art (Issues & Debates)

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"The book has no shortage of riveting stories, like Anne Boleyn throwing a Hans Holbein the Younger painting, commissioned by King Henry VIII, out the window. . . . Of definite interest to art history departments, this collection is also applicable to museology and library science, particularly to the study of rare books."--"Art Libraries Society of North America"

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This is a fascinating re-examination of the importance and legacy of provenance in the history of art. This book goes beyond the narrow definition of the term provenance, which addresses only the bare facts of ownership and transfer, to explore ideas about the origins and itineraries of objects, consider the historical uses of provenance research, and draw attention to the transformative power of ownership. The result is a volume of essays that makes a strong case for recuperating provenance - what contributing author Anne Higonnet calls "so many epic tales compressed into such dry lists" - for the history of art. Provenance attends to the social life of art, a work's biography subsequent to the moment of its origin. "Provenance" offers a broad perspective, ranging from ancient archaeology to conceptual art, that encompasses Europe, Asia, and the Americas, and considers a variety of media. The essays demonstrate in myriad ways how an owner's relationship with a work of art or, in varying degrees, with the object's previous owners can change irrevocably the way the work will be perceived and understood by future generations.

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