Date of Award


Document Type

Thesis - Restricted Access (SIA Only)

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


Art Business

First Advisor

Judith Prowda


This study examines the impact of museum provenance on a work’s value. Major museums purchase and shelter artworks that qualify majority of the ten criteria, which explains why these works are considered to possess “museum quality”—high caliber and historical significance. However, because they often receive works as gifts or donations from private collectors, not all sealed works are guaranteed to be of such quality. As a result, museums sell both “valuable” and “less valuable” artworks when sellinga part of theircollection to acquire new works orto settle their financial debt. In such cases, provenance may actually engender negative outcomes—such as a plunge in sales price or failure to sell—since the act can, in a way, be considered a “disposal,” reflecting that a work is no longer needed in the collection. These cases areclearly exceptions to the widely accepted speculation mentioned in the previous paragraph. Therefore, this thesis will investigate the financial impact of museum provenance on a work of art in various situation.