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The Secret Lives of Artworks: Provenance Research at the Philadelphia Museum of Art

April 18, 2019
6p
Kemper Art Museum Study Room (Kemper 104)

Museums today grapple with legal and moral issues arising from the prior ownership history (provenance) of artworks, particularly during the Nazi era. In this talk entitled “The Secret Lives of Artworks: Provenance Research at the Philadelphia Museum of Art,” Cathy Herbert, coordinator of collections research and documentation at the Philadelphia Museum of Art (PMA), uses case studies from the PMA’s renowned collection to examine how provenance research has helped illuminate and resolve the histories of contested objects, and how we ensure we are collecting responsibly today.

Cathy Herbert has specialized in provenance research at the Philadelphia Museum of Art since 2001, and is currently the Museum’s coordinator of collections research and documentation.  Her responsibilities include conducting research on the ownership history of objects in the Museum’s permanent collection, reviewing the provenance of potential acquisitions and establishing due diligence standards relating to acquisitions policy. She holds a BA in European history from Cornell University, an MA from the University of Pennsylvania, and a PhD in medieval art history from the University of Delaware.

Free and open to the public. View location and parking information here.

Image credit

Monuments Men Dale Ford (left) and Harry Ettlinger uncover a self-portrait (c. 1650) by Rembrandt at the Heilbronn salt mine in Germany, 1945. Courtesy of the National Archives and Records Administration.

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