Provenance Research

The images in the Photoarchive are accompanied by extensive documentation about the original works of art they record, gathered as much from unpublished scholars' observations and opinions as from conventional published sources. Basic tombstone information is supplemented by former and current attributions, title history, exhibition records, and color and condition notes. Additionally, past and current owners have provided the library with information about portrait subjects and provenance. Photoarchive staff members continually add documentation to reflect changes in ownership and attribution history. These records offer comprehensive data that has been amassed over several generations, offering rare insight into the development of the discipline of art history in the United States.

World War II-Era Provenance

The Frick Art Reference Library has long been a primary resource for those seeking provenance information for works of art. In particular, the library’s extensive holdings can help trace the provenance and identity of art that was looted, lost, damaged, or destroyed during and after the turmoil of World War II.

 Incredulity of Thomas biblical scene Scene from the Passion of Christ on damaged frescoes
Buffalmacco (active 1320–1336), Scene from the Passion of Christ: Incredulity of Thomas, 1282. Camposanto, Pisa, Italy. Negative made in 1945 as documentary evidence of the condition of the frescoes damaged by fire July 27, 1944, during World War II.
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