art conservation

Post image for Undoing a 19th-Century Art Restorer’s Overzealous Handiwork

The 19th-century art restorer Raffaele Gargiulo was so good at reconstructing Greek vases, one antiquarian called it a “dangerous perfection for knowledge.” Filling in broken gaps with his own paintings, mending cracks with brass staples, his work was a potential threat to history.

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Post image for Matisse’s “Swimming Pool” Goes on View for the First Time in Two Decades

When Henri Matisse: The Cut-Outs opened this past Sunday at the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), the artist’s only site-specific cut-out piece went on public view for the first time in over 20 years.

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Post image for Chemistry of the Canvas: Returning the Red to a Renoir

Art as we see it now isn’t always as the artist intended. After the paint dries, there’s still chemistry happening on the canvas.

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Post image for A Tale of Redemption Conserved on a Prison’s Crumbling Walls

Eastern State Penitentiary in Philadelphia was designed to look like the most foreboding of fortresses on the outside, and a cathedral-like place of reflection on the inside.

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Post image for What Should the Lifespan of Art Be, and Who Decides?

A topic in art conservation that’s often overlooked is: when do we stop preserving an object?

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Post image for Cultural Recovery Center to Open in Brooklyn on Dec 10

MIAMI — Today, the Foundation of the American Institute for Conservation of Historic and Artistic Works (FAIC) announced that on Monday, December 10 they will be opening a temporary facility to provide volunteer assistance and work space to museums, libraries, archives, historic sites, galleries, collectors, and artists impacted by late October’s Hurricane Sandy.

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Post image for Hurricane Sandy Highlights the Problems of Digital Archives

The damage from Sandy’s flooding took Chelsea galleries by surprise. The swelling water knocked artworks from walls and poured into basement storage areas, where art spaces and artists alike often store the work that’s not on display. Zach Feuer Gallery’s sloped space meant that water washed directly toward fragile work. Printed Matter encountered a similar issue, with soaked stock going to waste on the sidewalk. But it wasn’t only physical property that was damaged in the hurricane.

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Mark Rothko

We reached out to David Anfam, a Mark Rothko scholar and head of the Rothko catalogue raisonné project, to ask about the importance of “Untitled (Black on Maroon)” (1958) and the possible challenges facing the conservation of the work after Sunday’s incident.

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Post image for Octogenarian Restorer Says the Priest Knew What She Was Doing

The caper of the octogenarian restorer continues! And it keeps getting better and better … we’ll call this episode: The Priest Knew!

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Post image for Lessons in Radical Art Restoration: What Not to Do 101

In what can only be described as an art conservation nightmare, a 19th C. church fresco in the town of Borja, Spain, by painter Elías García Martínez has been radically “restored” by an octogenarian neighbor.

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