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.
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.
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.