1.19 Provenance

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1-19 Provenance.jpg
Title Provenance
Episode # Season 1, Episode 19
First aired April 13, 2006
Directed by Phil Sgriccia
Written by David Ehrman
On IMDB Provenance
Outline A haunted painting comes to life and murders its owners.
Monster Ghost
Location(s) New Paltz, New York
Beacon, New York
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The boys arrive in upstate New York, where Mark and Anne Telesca were found dead in a locked house, the latest in a series of murders over a number of decades in the same area according to research from John’s journal. They visit the Telesca home, but there are no signs of any supernatural activity. All the furnishings have been taken to an auction house, so they decide to check it out in case a spirit has attached itself to an object. They turn up at the auction house, where the owner Daniel Blake tries to get them to leave. They speak to his daughter, Sarah Blake, who also works at the auction house and who confirms that the Telesca estate is being auctioned. Before she can tell them any more, her father asks the boys to leave. Dean thinks Sarah showed some interest in Sam, and suggests he take her on date in order to get more information. Over dinner, Sarah reveals she hasn’t been on a date since her mother died unexpectedly a year ago.

Sarah gets Sam copies of the provenances of the items in the Telesca estate. Dean finds that a portrait of Isaiah Merchant’s family painted in 1910 was also owned by the other families that had been killed. After dark, Sam and Dean return to the auction house and burn the painting. The next day, Dean pretends that he has dropped his wallet at the auction house, purely so Sam can see Sarah again. When they get there they are shocked to find the painting is still there and unharmed.

At the local library, they find out that Isaiah Merchant was accused of killing his wife, two sons, and adopted daughter. Back at the motel Sam notices that in a picture of the painting in an old book, Isaiah is staring straight ahead, and in the painting now, he is looking down to the right. Dean also encourages Sam to pursue Sarah, but Sam is reluctant. He calls Sarah to see if they can view the painting again, only to find it has been sold to a friend of Sarah’s named Evelyn. The boys rush to the house just as Sarah arrives, but they find Evelyn already dead, her throat slashed.

After alerting the police, Sarah and the boys return to the motel room, where they explain to her that the picture is haunted. Despite being scared, Sarah resolves to help them. Back at Evelyn’s house they examine the painting and notice more features in the painting have changed; among other things there is now a mausoleum in the picture with the name Merchant on it. They track down the mausoleum, where all of the family's cremated remains are housed, however Isaiah Merchant is not interred there. Dean finds that Isaiah was buried in a pauper’s grave and goes to salt and burn the corpse.

Later, the three of them return to burn the painting as a precaution, but Sam and Sarah get trapped inside Evelyn’s house and attacked by the spirit of Melanie Merchant, who had been responsible for the murders all along. Dean returns to the mausoleum and burns an antique doll which bears some of Melanie Merchant’s hair. This finally dispels her spirit. Back at the auction house, Sarah orders the painting burned and says farewell to Sam and Dean. As they are about to leave, Sam returns and kisses Sarah goodbye.




(plays at the Bar, when Dean hits on the girls)
  • "Romantic Piece, No. 1" by Antonin Dvorak
(plays at the auction house)
  • "One More Once" by Alan Pasqua (Black Toast Music)
(plays when Sam and Sarah have dinner together)
  • "Bad Time (To Be in Love)" by Grand Funk Railroad
(the song on the car radio; Dean "sets the mood" for Sam and Sarah)


  • "Sock It to Me Baby" by Gino
(plays at the Bar, when Dean hits on the girls)
  • "Romantic Piece, No. 1" by Antonin Dvorak
(plays at the auction house)
  • "One More Once" by Alan Pasqua (Black Toast Music)
(plays when Sam and Sarah have dinner together)
  • "This Is What It's Like (I'm in Love)" by Tony Phillips
(the song on the car radio; Dean "sets the mood" for Sam and Sarah)


Sam: All right, I think we got something.

Dean: Oh yeah, me too. I think we need to take a little shore leave, just a little bit. What do you think, huh? I'm so in the door with this one.
Sam: So what are we today Dean? I mean, are we rock stars, are we army rangers?
Dean: Reality TV scouts, looking for people with special skills. I mean hey, it's not that far off right? By the way, she's got a friend over there. Possibly hook you up. What do you think?

Sam: Dean, no thanks, I can get my own dates.
Sam: Dad noted three murders in the same area of upstate New York. First one here in 1912, second one right here in 1945, and the third in 1970, the same M.O. as the Telescas. Their throats were slit, doors were locked from the inside. Now so much time had passed between murders that nobody checked the pattern, except Dad. He kept his eyes peeled for another one.
Dean: What was... providence?
Sam: Prov-e-nance. It's a certificate of origin, like a biography. You know we can use them to check the history of the pieces, see if any of them have a freaky past.
Dean: You didn't have to con her or do any... special favors or anything like that?
Sam: Dean, would you get your mind out of the gutter, please?
Sam: You know, I don't get it. What do you care if I hook up?

Dean: 'Cause then maybe you wouldn't be so cranky all the time. You know, seriously Sam, this isn't about just hooking up, okay? I mean, I, I think that this Sarah girl could be good for you. And... I don't mean any disrespect but I'm sure this is about Jessica, right? Now I don't know what it's like to lose somebody like that.... but... I would think that she would want you to be happy. God forbid have fun once in a while. Wouldn't she?
Sam: Yeah I know she would... Yeah you're right. Part of this is about Jessica. But not the main part.

Dean: What's it about? Yeah all right. Well we still gotta see that painting, which means you still gotta call Sarah, so...
Sam: Sarah, you saw that painting move.

Sarah: No...no I was...I was seeing things. It's impossible.
Dean: Yeah well, welcome to our world.
Sam: Sarah, I know this sounds crazy... but we think that that painting is haunted.

Sarah: You're joking... You're not joking. God, the guys I go out with.
Sarah: So what exactly is your brother doing in there?

Sam: Searching county death certificates trying to find out what happened to Isaiah's body.
Sarah: How'd he even get in the door?

Sam: Lying and subterfuge mostly.
Sarah: You guys seem to be uncomfortably comfortable with this.
Sam: Well, this isn't exactly the first grave we've dug.
Dean: I'm the one who burned the doll, destroyed the spirit. Don't thank me or anything.

Trivia & References

When Sam and Dean arrive at the auction, we see three luxury cars parked next to the Impala. The second is a Bentley with New York license plate "THEKRIP." This could be a reference to Supernatural creator and executive producer Eric Kripke.
Dean: Consignment auctions, estate sales. Looks like a garage sale for WASPs if you ask me.
WASP, short for White Anglo-Saxon Protestant, is a usually derogatory term for people from privileged backgrounds.
Sam: Well I'd say it's more Grant Wood than Grandma Moses. But you knew that, you just wanted to see if I did.
Grant Wood was an America painter best known for the painting "American Gothic." Grandma Moses is the nickname for renowned American folk artist Anna Mary Robertson Moses.
Dean: Daddy dearest isn't here.
Mommie Dearest is a 1981 film based on the biography by Christina Crawford about her actress mother Joan Crawford. A wonderful overacted camp melodrama that is a must see for anyone who ever thought their mother was a bitch and got thrashed for not using the good coat hangers: "No wire hangers ... ever!"
Dean: So you think daddy dearest is trapped in the painting and he's handing out Colombian neckties like he did with his family?
A Colombian necktie is a form of execution in which the victim's throat is slit and the tongue is pulled out through the open wound.
Sam: What, like a Da Vinci Code deal?

Dean: I don’t know, I’m still waiting for the movie on that one.

Sam is referring to the bestseller The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown. In the novel, clues to the big mystery are found in Leonardo da Vinci’s paintings. The movie was released in 2006 approximately one month after this episode aired.


Filming Locations: Century House. Map of known filming locations.
Jay Brazeau, who played the Librarian, also played Dr. Corman in 5.14 My Bloody Valentine.
Curtis Caravaggio, who played Mark Telesca, also played Spencer in 8.15 Man's Best Friend with Benefits.
Keith Martin Gordey, who played Daniel Blake, also played Warden Skieff, in 10.14 The Executioner's Song.
When Sam and Dean are examining the detail of the painting, you can hear Jensen say "Jared" instead of "Sam."
While researching the Merchant family a newspaper article they find shares the front page with the lead story. "New Titanic Sinks, 1304 People Go To Watery Graves: Only 866 saved from 2,170 Aboard Liner Which Collides With Iceberg. Disaster Proves To Be the Greatest in Marine History of the World." The Titanic has been referenced throughout the seasons. In 4.10 Heaven and Hell Dean and angel Anna Milton make love in the back of the Impala, the final shot of a hand on the steamed up window reminiscent of the iconic scene from Titanic when Jack and Rose are having sex. In 5.17 99 Problems Dean refers to the angels having the only lifeboats on the Titanic in reference to the coming Apocalypse. In 6.17 My Heart Will Go On the angel Balthazar changes history and unsinks the Titanic.
Many years after the events of 1.19 Provenance, Sarah Blake is targeted by Crowley in 8.22 Clip Show as he attempts to stop the Winchesters from undertaking the trials that will close the gates of Hell forever.

Sides, Scripts & Transcripts


Episode Meta

  • SPN Heavy Meta Season One Meta Index
  • Bond, Silvia. 2008. Pictures Ain't Perfect: "Provenance" Season 1, Episode 19. Pink Raygun, September 12; archive link