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Provenance

After retiring from truck driving in 1987, Teri Horton devoted much of her time to bargain hunting around the Los Angeles area. Sometimes the bargains were discovered on Salvation Army shelves and sometimes, she willingly admits, at the bottom of Dumpsters.

Even the most stubborn deal scrounger probably would have been satisfied with the rate of return recently offered to her for a curiosity she snagged for $5 in a San Bernardino thrift shop in the early 1990s. A buyer, said to be from Saudi Arabia, was willing to pay $9 million for it, just under an 180 million percent increase on her original investment. Ms. Horton, a sandpaper-voiced woman with a hard-shell perm who lives in a mobile home in Costa Mesa and depends on her Social Security checks, turned him down without a second thought.

Ms. Horton’s find is not exactly the kind that gets pulled from a steamer trunk on the “Antiques Roadshow.” It is a dinner-table-size painting, crosshatched in the unmistakable drippy, streaky, swirly style that made Jackson Pollock one of the most famous artists of the last century. Ms. Horton had never heard of Pollock before buying the painting, but when an art teacher saw it and told her that it might be his work (and that it could fetch untold millions if it were), she launched herself on a single-minded post-retirement career — enlisting, along the way, a forensic expert and a once-powerful art dealer — to have her painting acknowledged as authentic by scholars and the art market.

"Could Be a Pollock; Must Be a Yarn," by Randy Kennedy, The New York Times, November 9, 2006

Where is the provenance???

"Provenance" is a list of the previous owners of a work of art, tracing it from its present location and owner back to the hand of the artist. Provenance has many uses: It can help to determine the authenticity of a work, to establish the historical importance of a work by suggesting other artists who might have seen and been influenced by it, and to determine the legitimacy of current ownership.

Provenance Research, Harvard University Art Museums

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Posted November 12, 2006 09:57 AM  ·  Permalink   ·  Appraisals , Art , Auctions and Appraisals , Libraries and Research , Museums , Museums and Art , Research   ·  Comments (0)   ·  TrackBack (0)


"Olny srmat poelpe can"

aoccdrnig to rscheearch at Cmabrigde Uinervtisy, it deosn't mttaer in waht oredr the ltteers in a wrod are, the olny iprmoatnt tihng is taht the frist and lsat ltteer be in the rghit pclae. The rset can be a taotl mses and you can sitll raed it wouthit a porbelm.

"Olny srmat poelpe can," TEDblog, November 12, 2005

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Posted November 12, 2005 01:02 PM  ·  Permalink   ·  Libraries and Research   ·  Comments (0)   ·  TrackBacks (0)

Quick quiz

1) From Russell Roberts (no relation):

What proportion of the American labor force earns the minimum wage or less and what is the standard of living of the average American today relative to 100 years ago?

2) If you placed

one penny on the first square of a chess board, two pennies on the second square, four on the third, etc.

and kept doubling the pennies on the next square, how much would you have after doubling the pennies on the 63rd (the next-to-last) square of the chessboard?


3) Are disasters good for the economy?

You can click "Read More >>" after jotting down your answers ...

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Posted September 23, 2005 10:08 AM  ·  Permalink   ·  Libraries and Research   ·  Comments (0)   ·  TrackBacks (0)