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Provenance (also: Provenience)

In art, the origins of an art work; the history of a work's ownership since its creation. The study of a work's provenance is important in establishing authenticity.

The documented history of an object, from its site and country of origin to where it was recovered in modern times, plus its history of ownership or locations (private collector, dealer, museum, etc.) The origins of an art work; the history of a work's ownership since its creation. Provenance can include temporary residency as in the case of a piece on loan to a museum. Provenance is an important factor in evaluating the authenticity of a piece and thus its value.

In archaeology "Provenance" and "provenience" are used differently depending on the context and or the training of the user. Some use the two terms interchangeably, others distinguish between the place where an artifact was 1. manufactured, 2. the precise source of the raw material used to make it, and 3. the exact position where the artifact was recovered in an archaeological excavation.

See also: Appraisal

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