Originally from Cleveland, Ohio, Victoria Sears Goldman received her PhD in Art History from Princeton University and her B.A. in Art History from Barnard College, where she graduated summa cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa. She also received departmental honors on her senior thesis, Evolution of a Dream-Child: Images of Alice and Changing Conceptions of Childhood, as well as the Virginia Wright Prize for “the most promising graduating art history student.” Her doctoral dissertation, “The most beautiful Punchinelli in the world”: A Comprehensive Study of the Punchinello Drawings of Giovanni Battista Tiepolo (adviser: Thomas DaCosta Kaufmann), analyzed the drawings from multiple historical, cultural, and artistic perspectives and included a thorough catalogue of the drawings, which represents the most comprehensive record of the Punchinello drawings compiled to date. In the course of her research, Victoria discovered three previously unpublished drawings, the existence of which was unknown to scholars of Tiepolo’s drawings.
Victoria is currently an Analyst at K2 Intelligence, the investigative and cyber defense firm. She works on the Private Client Services team with a focus on art risk advisory.
From March 2013 until June 2016, Victoria was the Provenance Researcher at the Cleveland Museum of Art (CMA), where she researched the provenances of approximately 150 paintings and sculptures in the museum’s permanent collection. Selected provenances researched by Victoria and written up for the CMA website include:
- Abraham van Beyeren, “Silver Wine Jug, Ham, and Fruit”
- School of Botticelli, “Virgin and Child with the Young Saint John the Baptist”
- François Boucher, “Fountain of Venus”
- Thomas Cole, “View of Florence”
While at CMA, Victoria conceived of and organized a symposium held at CMA, “Issues in Provenance Research,” which featured four speakers prominent in the field of provenance research and was attended by 75 museum and art professionals and members of the public. She also gave workshops in provenance research methodologies geared to graduate students; museum docents; and the general public. Together with Louis Adrean, Head of Research and Programs at Ingalls Library and Archives, Victoria wrote an article on CMA’s provenance research activities for the museum’s member magazine (Cleveland Art, The Cleveland Museum of Art Members Magazine, Nov/Dec 2014).
In addition to her work at CMA, Victoria has also conducted both general and World War II-era provenance research for several law firms, including Grossman LLP, Cahill Partners, and Clarick Gueron Reisbaum, for whom she served as an expert witness in provenance research in the case of De Sole v. Knoedler Gallery. Other clients have included private collectors, the Commission for Art Recovery, IFAR, the Commission for Looted Art in Europe, the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany.
To gain additional training in provenance research and related fields, Victoria has attended the inaugural Provenance Research Training Program in Magdeburg, Germany (2012), Robert Wittman’s Art Crime Investigation Seminar (2011), and the 2014 and 2015 Nazi-era provenance research workshops sponsored by the Association of Art Museum Directors, American Alliance of Museums, and the National Archives and Records Administration.
Victoria’s undergraduate thesis was published in the journal of the Lewis Carroll Society of North America, and she wrote the entry on Beatrix Potter for the Encyclopedia of Children and Childhood (2003). Her published thesis was quoted extensively in Alice Illustrated: 120 Images from the Classic Tales of Lewis Carroll (2012), as well as in Mark Burstein’s introduction to the 2015 edition of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, which featured illustrations by Salvador Dalí. Victoria served as a research assistant and contributed the findings of her research for Anne Higonnet’s Lewis Carroll (2008) and for Valerie Bramwell and Robert Peck’s All in the Bones: A Biography of Benjamin Waterhouse Hawkins (2008), respectively. After graduating from Barnard, Victoria worked as a curatorial assistant at the American Federation of Arts.