An exhibition label can also lead us to original reviews, allowing us to see how a painting was first received, which is always interesting, and a good addition to catalogue notes. Follow chalk marks and barcodes to trace a work’s journeythrough the big auction houses When trying to learn more about a painting, chalk marks form an integral part of the jigsaw puzzle.Sotheby’s has always used yellow chalk to mark pictures, which can offer some clues about a work’s past.A conservator acquires skill and ability through study and practical experience.
Christie’s has used a variety of marks since the 19th century, which allow you to see who has bought and owned a work over the course of its history.
They offer a fascinating insight into previous owners, with an interesting owner having a positive effect on value.
A gallery label can tell you a number of things, including which galleries have owned the painting and — if you’re lucky — the year they bought it.
A good name can be fantastic for provenance, and can really add to a work’s value.
Centeno Research Scientist, The Metropolitan Museum of Art Jaclyn Catalano Postdoctoral Fellow, The Metropolitan Museum of Art Cecil Dybowski, Professor University of Delaware ( Nicholas Zumbulyadis Independent Researcher Yao Yao Graduate Student, University of Delaware Anna Murphy Graduate Student, University of Delaware Background Works of art are generally composed of heterogeneous materials consisting of inorganic and/or organic compounds structured in complex ways.