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Assembly Series

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McKelvey School of Engineering

Brown School

The Lives of Objects: Provenance Research Workshop

Thursday, March 31, 2022 | 5:30 PM


What does a 400-year-old Benin bronze have to do with the desegregation of a university sorority? How can the back of a Rembrandt help us to better understand the circulation of Nazi-looted art in the United States? What is the connection between an antefix from Ankor Wat and an offshore bank account?

The Department of Art History and Archaeology is pleased to host this workshop. Provenance research aims to reconstruct an object’s ownership history, often with the aim of determining legal and ethical right to possession. Indeed, as museums reckon with the colonial and Nazi-era pasts of the objects in their collection, provenance research has come to the fore as an important art historical subfield. But provenance can also offer an alternative history of art. In an object’s path from maker to museum, we gain vital insight into the history of taste as well as shifts in the political and economic landscape. In “The Lives of Objects,” three provenance research specialists will offer case studies from museums across the United States, showcasing the techniques, strategies, and resources used to reveal an object’s biography.

This event is open to students, faculty and staff at the Washington University in St. Louis only

Event Type

Lectures & Presentations


Arts & Sciences


Humanities & Society



Art History and Archaeology
Event Contact

Heather Read

Speaker Information

Speakers include Catherine Herbert, Coordinator of Collections and Research at the Philadelphia Museum of Art; Maggie Crosland, Postdoctoral Fellow in Medieval Art at the Saint Louis Art Museum and Department of Art History and Archaeology; and Heather Read, Provenance Researcher for the Fleming Museum of Art at the University of Vermont and Visiting Lecturer in the Department of Art History and Archaeology.

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