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Why is provenance important?
Posted 17 Feb 2013, by Don
An antique that has a confirmable provenance to a great collector (or great dealer), particularly from years ago, often adds considerably to its value.  In the space of folk art, names that come to mind include Nina Fletcher Little, Jean Lipman, Abby Aldrich Rockefeller, and Edgar William and Bernice Chrysler Garbisch.  I have a Garbisch piece now, a beautiful pair of watercolor frakturs.   Why does the Garbisch association with these frakturs add to their value? ........When the Garbisch's were scouring the countryside in the 1940's and 1950's in a passionate, obsessive pursuit, great material was still readily available, much of it had not been yet "collected".  It was flowing from family homes where it had been for generations.  Some of these pieces were the remarkable, breathtaking examples that are now in private or museum collections.   The Garbish's could choose from the best of this material, had the means to do so, and built relationships with a host of top dealers (and also worked with a knowledgeable curator, Donald Shelly, who's own collection became recognized).  Their eyes were trained by seeing the best of the best and working with the most experienced in the field, so what they personally acquired and kept has the likelihood of being amongst the best of a given category. Like anything else, provenance can be hard to confirm, or even faked.  Yet it is certain that these frakturs were in the Garbisch collection as they are pictured in the Sotheby Parke Bernet catalogue from January, 1974 of Important Frakturs, Embroidered Pictures, Theorem Paintings, and Cutwork Pictures from the Collection of Edgar William and Bernice Chrysler Garbisch.