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Provenance is the 19th episode of Season 1. It aired on April 13th, 2006.


Dean Purgatory Blade.png.png There was something about being there... It felt pure.

This episode summary is an official CW press release. It may contain errors.

A young couple is murdered in their home shortly after buying an antique painting of a family portrait circa 1910. Upon reviewing the painting's provenance, Sam and Dean learn that everyone who has ever bought the painting has been murdered and race to discover how the portrait is causing the deaths before it can claim its next victim.


The scene opens on a young couple putting up a painting on their mantle. They flirt for a minute then the woman heads upstairs and a shadowy figure enters. The man walks into their room to find his wife is dead and bloodied, and is then killed.

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 itself attached 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 anymore, her father, having discovered Sam and Dean are not on the guest list, 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 of the Telesca house. 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, towards the girl. 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; amongst 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 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. The father was looking towards her in the portrait, but out when she left, and restraining some of her power - now that his spirit is gone, she is more dangerous. 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, deciding to stay in town for a few days, so they can be together, finally starting to let Jessica go.


Main Cast[]

Recurring Cast[]


Featured Supernatural Beings[]



  • Antagonist : Melanie Merchant
  • 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 is a reference to Supernatural creator and former executive producer Eric Kripke. 


  • When Dean is researching the blade in the painting with Sam and Sarah, he calls his brother Jared, which is the name of the actor who plays Sam, instead of Sam.
  • When Dean hits the coffin with his shovel the first time a hollow metal sound effect is used. In the next shot we see the coffin is wood, not metal.
  • Before Melanie's ghost goes up in flames and her image returns to the painting, the razor is visible on the table in the painting despite also being in her hand.
  • Both before and after Melanie's image returns to the painting, the image of the razor is open. When its packed up before being burned in the next shot, it is closed again as it should be


Featured Music[]

  • "Night Time" by Steve Carlson
  • "Bad Time (To Be In Love)" by Grand Funk Railroad
  • "Romantic Piece, No. 1" by Extreme
  • "One More Once" by Black Toast Music

Cultural References[]

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 novels, 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.

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 American painter best known for the painting "American Gothic." Grandma Moses is the nickname 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.

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: I don't understand, Dean. I mean, we burned the damn thing.
  • Dean: Yeah, thank you, Captain Obvious.
  • Sarah: Look. I'm not saying I'm not scared, because I am scared as hell, but I'm not just gonna go run and hide either. (Before leaving, turns back to the brothers) So are you guys coming or what?
  • Dean: [Looking at Sarah] Sam. [Turns to Sam] Marry that girl.

[As Sam picks the lock on Evelyn's door]

  • Sarah: Isn't this a crime scene?
  • Dean: Well, you've already lied to the cops. What's another infraction or two?

  • Sam: "What kind of a house doesn't have salt? Low sodium freaks!"

  • Dean: Sam, you good?
  • Sam: [Looks at Sarah] Not bad.
  • Dean: I'll see you Sarah. [Smiles, then walks away] I burned the doll, destroyed the spirit. Don't thank me or anything!

  • Dean: [Sees Sam kissing Sarah goodbye] That's my boy.

International Titles[]

  • Finnish: Kirottu kuva (The Cursed Picture)
  • Brazil: Procedência (Provenance)
  • French: Le Tableau hanté (The Haunted Painting)
  • German: Das Gemälde (The Painting)
  • Italian: Il Quadro Maledetto (The Cursed Painting)
  • Polish: Rodowód (Provenance)
  • Hungarian: A festmény bosszúja (The Portrait's Revenge)

External Links[]