Going Global: New Challenges in the Field of Provenance Research
Graduate Workshop, Vitromusée Romont
15 September 2022
Organizers: PD Dr. Francine Giese, Dr. Sarah Keller, Dr. Sarah Tabbal (Vitrocentre Romont), Dr. Daniela Roberts (Julius-Maximilians-Universität Würzburg)
Keynote Speaker: Esther Tisa Francini (Museum Rietberg Zürich)
Provenance research is not only a central field of museum activity, but has also increasingly become the focus of academic research. The topic is discussed by conservators and experts in national working groups and state-funded research projects that make reference to practical aspects and contexts, whereas master’s programs and summer schools offer young scholars the opportunity to examine provenance issues from a theoretical perspective.
Provenance studies have expanded to include an important new aspect, particularly since the 2018 report edited by Bénédicte Savoy and Felwine Sarr on the restitution of African artworks from French collections: the question of provenance in colonial contexts. How should we deal with works of art and ethnographic artefacts that found their way into European collections during the colonial period? What is the importance of dialogue and exchange with the countries of origin? When is the restitution of collection objects called for by Savoy and Sarr appropriate? What alternatives are offered by digital or physical substitute copies? And how should the phenomenon be evaluated against the backdrop of neo-colonialism, which is gaining in importance?
Organized in the framework of the Vitrocentre Romont’s ‘International Summer School on Glass Art: Collecting, Displaying and Trading Glass: Private Collectors, Museums and the Question of Provenance’ and in collaboration with the interdisciplinary master’s program ‘Collections – Provenance – Cultural Heritage’ of the Institute of Art History at the Julius-Maximilians-University of Würzburg, this graduate workshop is aimed at MA and PhD students of art history and related disciplines. On the basis of selected case studies as well as overarching topics, the workshop will provide insights into ongoing research that aims at combining traditional approaches of provenance research with new issues in global art history and at identifying strategies for dealing with artefacts from colonial contexts.