What is a Provenance:

A provenance is an artwork's chain of ownership that leads from the present owner back to the artist's wet brush, so to speak. In its ideal state it is a clear and unbroken record, showing step by step the progression of when it was owned and by whom. Accompanying this chain is a list all the sources that add to a body of evidence towards its authenticity --  such as listings of publications in which authors have mentioned the work, exhibitions where the painting has been shown, etc. The idea here, is that it shows just how many people (who in some form or another have a level of expertise in the field) have considered the artwork part of the artist's oeuvre.

Updated 11/8/2001