Provenance is the true story about one of the greatest art scandals of the 20th century. The novel raises a whole host of ethical quandaries for us to consider: how does the art market function? What happens when the legitimizing power of museums, curators, and historical archives is knowingly abused? And how might a con-artist manipulate this inherently fragile system to their advantage? In the broadest sense, the novel reveals to us the flaws and failures of the museum system to safeguard and uphold historical “truths.” In a world saturated by digital technology and throw-away consumption, museums are often viewed as the last bastions of knowledge—temples or shrines that hold our cultural treasures in public trust. But what happens to our national identity and the construction of historical narratives when famous artworks—and historical documents—can no longer be trusted?
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