Asian Art Provenance Research Position
Start Date: January 2019
Salary: $44,650 per year
Schedule: Part-time, flexible hours
Work location: primarily on premises at the Freer|Sackler
Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery (Freer|Sackler)
1050 Independence Ave. SW
Washington, DC 20013
Danielle Bennett, Head of Collections Management
Jan Stuart, Melvin R. Seiden Curator of Chinese Art
Jeffrey Smith, Assistant Registrar for Collections Information
Najiba Choudhury, Museum Technician
A long-term, comprehensive provenance research project at the Freer and Sackler Galleries is focused on clarifying questions of ownership history for the Galleries’ Asian artworks that were created before 1946 and acquired after 1932; underwent a change of ownership during World War II (1933-1945); and were, or might have been, in continental Europe during that period. Research at the Freer|Sackler during the last six years has resulted in the Asian Art Provenance Connections Project, a web resource launched in 2016 and made possible by the generous support of the David Berg Foundation. This continuing project has produced research on significant Chinese objects, and approximately 50 biographies of collectors and dealers active in Europe during the critical period of 1933 to 1946, with links to objects in the Freer|Sackler collections. The web resources also include inventories, exhibition catalogues, and other published and archival materials that help delineate the histories of Western collections of Asia art and provide insights into the business operation of dealers and auction houses, thereby assisting in tracking the movement of specific works. These resources are accessible at http://www.freersackler.si.edu/collections/provenance-research/.
Under the direction and guidance of the Supervisory Team, the candidate will conduct provenance research from among a selected group of 2,350 Chinese objects, focusing on objects that may have changed ownership or possession during the WWII era. The candidate and supervisory team will discuss and mutually agree on sets of priority records from among this group.
As research progresses, the candidate will compile a Word document for each object or related group of objects, in which the chronological ownership history will be drafted according to the Freer|Sackler’s standard. This document will also contain accumulated research notes to be archived. A template for the final version of this document has been created so that information can be easily identified and entered into the museum’s collections database, including:
These Word documents will be saved to shared network folders to facilitate access by the appropriate museum staff. The candidate will share research insights with Curator Jan Stuart, or other project advisors, so they can provide feedback.
Required and Preferred Qualifications
Please email cover letter with price quote, statement, and CV as a single PDF to firstname.lastname@example.org
All applications will be reviewed by the Supervisory Team.