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Portrait of Louis XIV / after Hyacinthe Rigaud

The Height of Fashion

Louis XIV and the craze for high heels. More»

Volvelle Animation

Decoding the Medieval Volvelle

It’s part timepiece, part floppy disk, and part crystal ball. More»

Portrait of a Man / Greek
Copyright © Hellenic Ministry of Culture and Sports/Archaeological Receipts Fund

A Brief Introduction to Bronze Sculpture of the Hellenistic World

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Louis XIV, King of France and Navarre / Robert Nanteuil

A 17th-Century Face-Off

Masterpieces aren’t the only important objects in art history. More»

Bus Bench Jesus, Ave Pildas
© Ave Pildas

The Seedy, Funky, and Fabulous Hollywood Boulevard of the 1970s

Hollywood as it was in the ’70s. More»

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    Interior and sculpture of a bodhisattva in Cave 275 / Cave Temples of Dunhuang
    © The Dunhuang Academy

    14 Fascinating Facts about the Cave Temples of Dunhuang

    A look at one of the cultural and artistic wonders of the world. More»

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        #ProvenancePeek: July 31

        Every art object has a story—not only of how it was made, but of how it changed hands over time until it found its current home. That story is provenance.

        This small panel by Dutch master Gerrit Dou (photographed only in black and white) is now in the collection of the Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute. It was sold to American collector Robert Sterling Clark, an heir to the Singer sewing machine fortune, in the summer of 1922.

        How do we know this? Archival sleuthing! A peek into the handwritten stock books of M. Knoedler & Co. (book 7, page 10, row 40, to be exact) records the Dou in “July 1922” (right page, margin). Turning to the sales books, which lists dates and prices, we again find the painting under the heading “New York July 1922,” with its inventory number 14892. A tiny “31” in superscript above Clark’s name indicates the date the sale was recorded.

        M. Knoedler was one of the most influential dealers in the history of art, selling European paintings to collectors whose collections formed the genesis of great U.S. museums. The Knoedler stock books have recently been digitized and transformed into a searchable database, which anyone can query for free.

        Girl at a Window, 1623–75, Gerrit Dou. Oil on panel, 10 9/16 x 7 ½ in. Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute, Williamstown, Massachusetts

        #ProvenancePeek is a monthly series by research assistant Kelly Davis peeking into #onthisday provenance finds from the M. Knoedler & Co. archives at the Getty Research Institute.


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