Modern Migrants: Paintings from Europe in US Museums

The research project “Modern Migrants: Paintings from Europe in US Museums” examines thousands of provenance records of Impressionist, Post-Impressionist and Modern paintings created in Europe between 1860 and 1945. By exploring object-based provenance information on a large scale, the project addresses when, why and how paintings from Europe entered US museum collections, paying special attention to the role that political upheaval, dynamics of transatlantic art markets, and individual and institutional collecting strategies played in this circulation of objects.

As such, it is the first university research program producing provenance linked open data. Considering provenance beyond the individual biographies of objects, and instead reading it more broadly as a collection of empirical evidence of cultural phenomena, enables questions to be posed about temporal, spatial, social, and conceptual trends and network dimensions. Taking a trans-disciplinary perspective, the project provides a new way of understanding art circulation through an analytic and qualitative approach to provenance. As we build our data corpora, we are looking to connect with and, ultimately, collect more data from museums in the US. For further information, please refer to our project website modernmigrants.art.

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