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Hood Museum of Art
Dartmouth College
Hanover, NH 03755

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Provenance Research at the Hood Museum of Art

What is Provenance?

Provenance literally means origin. In reference to a work of art, it involves tracing the history of ownership from its present location back to its creation by the artist. This type of research has always been an integral part of a museum's responsibility to establish authenticity, historical importance, and legitimacy of ownership. Provenance information is rarely complete (especially in the case of objects of significant age) and it is often impossible to establish an unbroken history for an object, in spite of a researcher's dedication to the task.

The Hood has two different provenance pages (see links above). The first relates to the provenance of antiquities on display whose entry into the collection postdates the 1970 UNESCO Convention (Convention on the Means of Prohibiting and Preventing the Illicit Import, Export and Transfer of Ownership of Cultural Property, Paris, November 1970, entry into force on April 23, 1972, ratified by the United States in 1983). Click here for a transcript of the convention proceedings on this issue. The museum will gradually expand this listing to include objects that are not on display as well.

The second page concerns Nazi-era provenance research and lists European objects whose provenance is unknown from 1933 through 1945.

The aim of these provenance pages is to be fully transparent about the origins of works in the museum's collection.

Contact Information

If you have any information or general questions concerning the works displayed on the Web site, please contact us by email at, or by mail. Please send specific inquiries to Brian Kennedy, Director, Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth College, Hanover, NH, 03755.

Last Updated: 2/13/09