Lost or destroyed paintings are perhaps the most painful reminder of the importance of photoarchives and similar repositories of images and accompanying metadata. An unfortunate example is this portrait of a young bride.
The Photoarchive allows researchers to trace the history of a work of art. The image of St. Lawrence by Niccolò di Buonaccorso of Siena, recovered from a later overpainting, offers an instructive example of this crucial aspect of our collection.
In 1932 Juliana Force, the director of the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York, commissioned Thomas Hart Benton (1889–1975) to create a series of eight murals for the library of the museum. While six panels from this series survive, two ceiling panels are unlocated. It is feared that they have been destroyed.