chapter  12
Looters, smugglers, and collectors
Rethinking models of ownership research and how to mediate it through the form of the exhibition
WithTone Hansen
Pages 14

The project was presented in its entirety as an exhibition, In Search of Matisse, which opened in 2015 and was accompanied by the book Looters, Smugglers and Collectors: Provenance Research and the Market. Lydia Delectorskaya had posed in Matisse’s studio many times before, in a variety of staged arrangements, often in the same dress. In 1986, it was Delectorskaya herself who titled the painting in a manner that registers the mood of the model: Robe bleue, profil devant la cheminee, and aux soucis. The concept of provenance is used to describe the history of ownership in relation to a given work. While auction houses generally attempt to protect a buyer by keeping his or her name secret, an unbroken chain of ownership may serve to guarantee the value of a work, both in the sense of demonstrating ownership and verifying authenticity.