Provenance was installed in the former home of the fine print and rare book collector Lessing J. Rosenwald who’s collection is a cornerstone of the National Gallery of Art. The installation looks at the use of the collector’s mark as an early form of branding. Often in the form of a monogram, the mark is stamped on the back of a fine print to establish a record of ownership that could often span centuries. At times the value of a print was determined as much by the lineage of its collectors as by the print itself.
The marks that comprise the wall print in Provenance represent collectors living from 1600 to 1860. Taken from a reference book entitled, “Marques de Collections” it contains thousands of marks, each accompanied by a short biography of the collectors it represents. The book was compiled by the print collector Dr. Fritss Lugt in the mid 19th century. In Jaynes' installation, a copy sits on a table between the two reading chairs for visitors to match the mark to the collector.