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Paintings Conservation with Keith Christensen, George Bisacca, & Michael Gallagher

Posted By Sue Canterbury, Independent Curator, Wednesday, June 08, 2011

Paintings Conservation with Keith Christensen, George Bisacca, & Michael Gallagher

 

There are few things that can offer the satisfaction revealed through the restoration of an object to its best possible state since its creation.  Thus, the conservation session did not disappoint on that score and the attendees were privy to the facets of the deliberations and decisions that were shaping the treatments of works ranging from the Renaissance to the twentieth century in the Met’s studios.  The presentation reminded us that some of the best results are derived from the collaborative process that takes place between curator and conservator.  Each can counter or corroborate the findings of the other.  It’s quite a satisfying intellectual duet.  The conclusions encountered that afternoon included issues of attribution, savvy acquisitions of works flying beneath the attribution radar and, of course, reversing the sins of "restorers” from generations past before conservation became a science.

            In the area devoted to panel paintings, George Bisacca introduced several of his "patients” and the decision-making process around them.  I came away with practical information on the questions to ask myself regarding cradled panels, but also with regards to the most current practices on the shipping of panels and the creation of sealed micro-climates—the latter by way of a special tape invented by NASA.

            Overall, the session provided the curators a very intellectually engaging topic of primary importance and interest and all the conservators on hand generously shared their time in explaining the challenges of their present projects—all making for a very worthwhile visit.

 

Sue Canterbury

Independent Curator

Minneapolis

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