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Provenance Research: Case Studies from the van Otterloo Collection at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

  • December 09, 2020
  • 10:00 AM - 11:00 AM
  • Zoom
  • 193



"Provenance Research: Case Studies from the van Otterloo Collection at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston"

Provenance has always been a key part of art historical research, inextricably linked to the art market and the history of taste. The ownership history can offer a greater understanding of an artwork’s physical appearance and historical significance, but it is also crucial in determining whether an object can be ethically and legally brought into a museum’s collection.

Using case studies from the 2017 promised gift of 17th century Dutch and Flemish paintings from the Eijk and Rose-Marie van Otterloo collection, Samantha Muir, former Research Associate for Provenance at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, will discuss how she goes about tracing the ownership history of an object.

This talk will examine the methodology, resources, and challenges of provenance research that arise throughout the process of revealing the previously unknown stories of an artwork’s history.

Samantha Muir was the Research Associate for Provenance at the MFA, Boston, for the past three years. Before this, she was a Graduate Research Intern responsible for updating the object files of the more than 80 Millet paintings in the museum’s collection and then the Exhibition Intern for the 2017 Botticelli and the Search for the Divine before being hired soon after as a provenance researcher.

Sam was selected to be part of the 2018 cohort of the German/American Provenance Research Exchange Program (PREP), a two-week conference for museum professionals to share their experience and deepen their knowledge in the field of provenance research. She has also participated in the AAMD’s Advanced Nazi-Era Provenance Workshops held at the U.S. National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) in Washington D.C.

Sam earned her BA in the History of Art at the University of Toronto and attended Christie’s Education in London, where she earned her MLitt in Art History and Art World Practices in 2015.

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