An artwork???s complete lineage of ownership and/or exhibitions. Establishing Provenance is often a an important factor in authentication in that it can establish ownership back to the time an artist lived---meaning it could be by the hand of the alleged artist. Such information is often difficult to establish, especially when a painting has been owned by a family for several generations and no record of sale is found. Another obscuring factor is that many private collectors prefer to buy and sell works anonymously through dealers or auction houses, who, in turn oblige collectors by not disclosing the true owner. Also, many dealers and auction houses that were active in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries are no longer in business, and their records may have been lost or destroyed. Thus it is rare to find works of art having a complete history of ownership unless it is contemporary art. As a result of these complicating matters, it is important to bear in mind that gaps in provenance do not necessarily indicate that a work was looted, stolen, or suggest lack of authenticity.<br><br>Generally refers to something's place of origin; its source. Used with artworks and antiques, provenance is a record or proof of authenticity or of past ownership.(pr. PRAH-və-nəns)Also see context.