Interactive Provenance Research of Chinese Paintings

Making provenance research into chinese collectors stamps interactive


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With the Charles A. Drenowatz Collection, which it received as a gift in 1979, the Museum Rietberg owns one of the most important collections of Chinese painting from the 15th to 19th centuries, the Ming and Qing periods, in Europe. The collection is known worldwide and has a great reputation in art history. Thanks to a grant from the Federal Office of Culture, the museum has undertaken a project that takes an in-depth look at the collector Charles A. Drenowatz (1908-1979), who acquired his paintings in the 1950s-1960s, as well as the history of the works' transmission and the networks through which Drenowatz was able to assemble the collection.

Painting occupies a very special place in the Chinese art canon. Works by famous artists found their way into the palace collections of the imperial family as well as into the important private collections of members of the upper class. What is unique about Chinese painting is that often not only the artist put an inscription and his seal on the painting, but also the recipient of the painting, friends and acquaintances of the artist, but also later owners, famous art critics and other expert viewers. In the course of time, these additions became a fixed but continuously expanding component of the work of art. At the same time, they are extremely important documentary sources, which makes Chinese painting an ideal subject for provenance research.

Over the course of this project the information was gathered in the museums database. For each painting the seals, stamps (in this project referred as "Provenienzmerkmal" or "PM") and inscriptions were analysed, transcribed where possible and connected to the people who were the owner of those seals. This created a dense network of people, artworks and provenances that are documented in the database. Be aware, that these provenances are not by any means complete, or are following the traditional western idea of provenance as ownership. As written above, seal might have been added by connaisseurs who didn't own the painting. Nevertheless these clues give us an idea on the biography of the painting.

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The data will be delivered in four different .json files and a .zip archive with the fotos. Here you can download the data:\_drenowatz\_sammlung Apologies beforehand for the qualities of the images - and since a lot of the paintings are on long rolls with multiple scenes, fotos have been taken of the seperate scenes. There might be gaps, or it might be possible to stitch them togehter in one complete image.

How can this dense information be shown in an interactive way?

Event finished

30.09.2023 15:30

Joined the team

29.09.2023 10:09 ~ rae_knowler

Edited content version 12

29.09.2023 09:47 ~ sonja

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29.09.2023 09:45 ~ jone

Event started

29.09.2023 09:00

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28.09.2023 15:35 ~ gaston


28.09.2023 08:52

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28.09.2023 08:52 ~ JorisBurla

fix link to data

28.09.2023 08:52 ~ JorisBurla

Edited content version 5

25.09.2023 08:17 ~ JorisBurla

Added data, disclaimer about the provenance data and description of the image files.

25.09.2023 08:17 ~ JorisBurla

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25.09.2023 08:03 ~ JorisBurla

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29.08.2023 15:42 ~ marina_berazategui

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28.08.2023 14:44 ~ JorisBurla

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28.08.2023 14:40 ~ JorisBurla

Edited content version 1

28.08.2023 14:39 ~ JorisBurla

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28.08.2023 14:24 ~ JorisBurla

Challenge posted

28.08.2023 14:22 ~ JorisBurla
Contributed 3 months ago by JorisBurla for GLAMhack 2023
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