Exploring New Provenance Standards in Art - 2024

Exploring New Provenance Standards in Art - 2024

Welcome to an insightful exploration of the evolving standards in art provenance and collection management. In this exclusive interview, we delve into the expert perspectives of Angelina Giovani-Agha, Co-Founder of Flynn & Giovani Art Provenance Research and Director of the Art Market Academy. We shed light on the shifting paradigms in the art world, highlighting the move from traditional handshake deals to rigorous due diligence and documentation. This discussion is not just about adapting to change; it's about understanding the vital role of provenance in safeguarding investments, ensuring authenticity, and navigating the increasingly complex art market.

Table of Contents

  1. Challenges art collectors face in adhering to new standards
  2. How bespoke provenance ratings can evaluate risk
  3. The Benefits of Provenance ratings for collectors
  4. Future developments in art provenance and collection management
  5. Conclusion

What challenges do art collectors face in adhering to new standards?

Collectors are now faced with an increase in due diligence steps. Artworks they might have previously acquired from reputable dealers and auction houses might no longer be considered to have the necessary paperwork to support good provenance. They might find it difficult to loan or bequeath these works to institutions, as renewed ethical collecting practices are also coming into force. It remains crucial to always reach out to the right expert for every question that needs addressing. A provenance researcher cannot offer advice on the physical condition of a work of art, and an art advisor cannot fulfill the job of a provenance researcher. Auction house estimates are not as accurate as those of independent appraisers and should not be used widely beyond the auction house environment. It's best to compile a list of various experts whenever one comes across them and have their details handy for every occurrence.

Can you describe the process of your bespoke collections provenance rating? How does it evaluate the risk of a collection?

The rating approach is very innovative. In the past, it used to be an overwhelming undertaking to carry out provenance research on entire collections. Both the projected time of completion and the cost made for a very unattractive offer to clients. The rating system allows us to assess the risk of a collection based on the state of its documentation. It evaluates the gaps in the ownership timeline, looks for red flags, and makes recommendations as to how identified issues can be addressed. It gives the collector a bird’s eye view of their collection and gives them the flexibility to act, rather than having to wait for research to be exhaustively completed on the entire collection.

In what scenarios is a provenance rating most beneficial for collectors?

We have utilized the provenance rating to aid in various scenarios, with its primary demand being in the context of asset-backed lending, particularly for the collateralization of art and collectibles. Implementing tight due diligence and risk assessment processes significantly minimizes associated risks.

Throughout this year, for example, the provenance rating was crucial in pre-transactional due diligence for the impending purchase of a significant Impressionist-modern art collection. It also played a key role in supporting inheritance drafting and in identifying which pieces from a collection could be confidently loaned to major museums, ensuring there were no concerns over ownership history.

Ideally, the provenance rating should be a regular component in the management of collections. This regular use would allow any issues that are identified to be addressed thoughtfully and without the pressure of time constraints, serving as an ongoing intellectual exercise.

What future developments do you foresee in art provenance and collection management? How can collectors stay informed and adapt to these changes?

We have recently made a series of suggestions to the art market that, if adopted, will have a great positive impact on the state of due diligence. Some of these recommendations are introducing AML-type due diligence checks for provenance, creating provenance expert pools to review every lot in auctions, making addendums to the consignment contracts that better reflect renewed commitments to provenance research, and adding more rigorous criteria to the checks that need to be carried out prior to provenance documentation being entered in the blockchain. You can read more about the recommendations we have put forward by visiting The Provenance Research Blog.


This article highlights the crucial shift in art provenance and collection management, emphasizing the transition from traditional practices to rigorous due diligence and documentation. It underscores the challenges faced by collectors in adapting to new standards, the benefits of innovative provenance rating systems, and the importance of expert consultations. Looking forward, it suggests further advancements in due diligence processes and technology integration. Overall, the article stresses the essential role of provenance in preserving the integrity and value of art in the ever-evolving art market.

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