Tools for Research in Archives and Libraries in Washington DC, Provenance Research Workshop, National Gallery of Art and Smithsonian Archives of American Art, Washington DC, 22-23 May 2024

Events and Conferences
International Conferences

A Collaboration between The Society for the History of Collecting, The National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC, and the Smithsonian Archives of American Art


Register for Day One 22 May here: https://thesocietyforthehistoryofcollecting.wildapricot.org/event-5634678

Register for Day Two 23 May here: https://thesocietyforthehistoryofcollecting.wildapricot.org/event-5710803


Following the twenty-fifth anniversary of the Washington Conference Principles on Nazi-Confiscated Art of 1998, we believe this is a timely moment to examine the state of provenance research as conducted in museums and to draw attention to underutilized resources. While the Washington Principles focused on Nazi-era restitutions and resulted in a sea change in American museums’ approach to researching provenance, the scrutinization of how art journeyed across cultures and periods has expanded well beyond the Conference’s initial parameters. The foundation of provenance research, however, remains in the archive. Although there is no doubt that the development and growth of the internet have made certain types of records easily (or more easily) accessible, many valuable resources remain available only in analog format.

This workshop is intended to give an overview of:

• provenance research at the National Gallery of Art

• special collections held in the National Gallery of Art Library, Archives, and Curatorial Records

• other underutilized resources

• potential areas of research

The intended audience is curators, archivists, emerging scholars, and the broader art history community of the region.



Wednesday, May 22: National Gallery of Art

10:00 am-12:20 pm Morning Session: Welcome and Case-Study Presentations

1:45 pm-4:00 pm Afternoon Session: Visits to National Gallery Archives, Library, and Curatorial Records

4:30 pm: Key-Note Lecture: “Provenance and the Archive: Presences and Absences”

Dr. Anne Helmreich, Director, Smithsonian Archives of American Art



Thursday, May 23: Visits to other museums and archives in Washington, DC, including Archives of American Art and Dumbarton Oaks




 For information: americas@societyhistorycollecting.org

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