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A P U B L I C A T I O N O F T ‌H E W I L L I A M S T O W N A R T C O N S E R V A T I O N C E N T E R

VO LU M E 8 , N U M B E R 1  •  S U M M E R 2 013

United Nations Mosaic Williamstown Art Conservation Center | 1


Contents, Summer 2013

Art Conservator Volume 8, Number 1 • Summer 2013 Director T‌homas J. Branchick Editor Timothy Cahill Art Direction and Production Ed Atkeson/Berg Design Photographer Matthew Hamilton Contributors Thierry Boutet, Laura Downey Staneff, Gretchen Guidess, Ginia Sweeney Proofreader David Brickman Office Manager Rob Conzett Accounts Manager Teresa Haskins Printing Snyder Printer, Troy, NY Williamstown Art Conservation Center 227 South Street Williamstown, MA 01267 www.williamstownart.org T: 413-458-5741 F: 413-458-2314 Atlanta Art Conservation Center 6000 Peachtree Road Atlanta, GA 30341 T: 404-733-4589 F: 678-547-1453 All rights reserved. Text and photographs copyright © Williamstown Art Conservation Center (WACC), unless otherwise noted. Art Conservator is published twice yearly by WACC, T‌homas J. Branchick, director. Material may not be reproduced in any form without written permission of Williamstown Art Conservation Center. WACC is a nonprofit, multi-service conservation center serving the needs of member museums, nonprofit institutions and laboratories, and the general public.

3 Director’s Letter 4 The Golden Rule

Restoring the Norman Rockwell Mosaic at the United Nations Timothy Cahill 8 Unburying the Past

Lenett Fellow traces the history of a forgotten man Ginia Sweeney

12

The Push Pin Solution

Reframing a Chuck Close Polaroid self-portrait 16 WACC News & Notes

Following a unique paper trail at Yellowstone Park; an American neoclassical looking glass; from Tehran to Hyde Park, an exquisite Persian carpet at FDR museum 18 Report from Atlanta

Undoing the heavy hand of a misbegotten makeover Tierry Boutet

19

Tech Notes

Collection and preservation of oversized photographs Laura Downey Staneff

On the cover Objects conservator Hélène Gillette-Woodard inpaints a section of the Norman Rockwell Mosaic at the United Nations.

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From the Director

This summer’s exhibition of George Inness at the Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute afforded me the opportunity to prepare ten exquisite paintings by this American genius. I was enlightened about what a master of magic and mystery Inness was with his delicate veils of color. The show celebrates the gift of eight Innesses to the Clark by Frank and Katherine Martucci. Mr. Martucci is a remarkable man; a self-made Wall Street executive and art collector, he took a hiatus from finance to earn an master’s degree in philosophy from Fordham University. The Martucci paintings join two enchanting Innesses already in the Clark collection. It’s an amazing show of generosity and beauty that I encourage you to see. Similarly, the companion exhibition at the Clark, Winslow Homer: Making Art, Making History, allowed me to treat Homer’s 1869 The Bridle Path, White Mountains, much to my satisfaction. I have longed for some years to clean this canvas, which was badly discolored from old varnish. Having worked on other Homer masterpieces, I knew one has to work slowly around his notorious glazes, but the reward is the reclamation of luminous highlights. I had goose bumps recently when I saw the painting on a billboard announcing the exhibition. There was the woman riding sidesaddle, with that line of light describing the contour of her horse’s mane and neck. Sheer genius in the handling of paint! Another do-come-and-look. WACC conservators regularly work on location, but this year we’ve had the opportunity to complete on-site projects at two of America’s most prestigious institutions. It was a huge honor for the Center to perform treatments at the United Nations and Yellowstone National Park, both of which are described in this issue. Finally, hard to believe, but as of May we have been in our quarters at Stone Hill Center for five years. Time does fly. We just completed a great fiscal year in June, and the workload continues to hum. Please continue to think of the Center for your conservation needs, and thanks for all of your support. —Tom Branchick

In June, the Williamstown Art Conservation Center celebrated its fifth year at Stone Hill Center with an afternoon reception for the Friends of WACC and other well-wishers. After hearing presentations from conservators on treatments at the United Nations and Yellowstone National Park, the group assembled on the terrace to enjoy the view, the building, and the company. At right in this composite photo, WACC director Tom Branchick and former trustees chair Bob McGill (seated) address the group, as current co-chair Carol Stegeman (in red) looks on. Williamstown Art Conservation Center | 3


Cover Story

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The Golden Rule Restoring the Norman Rockwell Mosaic at the United Nations By Timothy Cahill

S

ince its arrival at the United Nations in 1985, the Norman Rockwell Mosaic has been an icon of the organization’s New York headquarters. Rockwell’s depiction of the Golden Rule was a favorite of visitors, staff members, and diplomats alike until 2009, when it was removed from view in advance of construction. At that time, it was discovered that the half-ton artwork contained large cracks that threatened its integrity. The famed mosaic was crated and placed in storage until earlier this year, when the Williamstown Art Conservation Center arrived to stabilize and restore it. How chief objects conservator Hélène Gillette-Woodard and her team came to be working on the project is a story in itself. Some two years earlier, through the recommendation of Laurie Norton Moffatt, Director/CEO of the Norman Rockwell Museum in Stockbridge, Mass., Ambassador (Ret.) Joseph H. Melrose had contacted WACC to enlist the Center’s aid. Ambassador Melrose serves as Acting US Representative for Management and Reform at the United States Mission to the UN; the mosaic, commissioned by Nancy Reagan as a gift of the American people, is of special interest of the US delegation. WACC was contacted not only regarding the repairs, but also to help secure the funds necessary to pay for them. The request came amid a historic $2.1 billion renovation at the United Nations, during which nearly every aspect of the High Modernist complex is being renewed, restored, updated, and upgraded. None of those funds were earmarked for the art collection, however, which is not formally owned or controlled by the UN. Nearly all the art at the UN has been presented as a gift of the member countries, which retain rights and responsibilities to the work. While the UN oversees the artworks in its possession, it does not manage them as a collection per se, with the personnel, budget, and facilities such stewardship would imply. It is not unusual for WACC to help an organization raise funds for a treatment or project, but the United Nations is by On location at the United Nations, objects conservator Hélène Gillette-Woodard puts finishing touches on the Golden Rule mosaic, based on a painting by Norman Rockwell. Williamstown Art Conservation Center | 5


Detail of losses to the glass tiles, or tesserae, before treatement.

far the most prestigious partner the Center has worked with. Director Tom Branchick approached the Stockman Family Foundation, a longtime supporter of WACC, which expressed its enthusiasm for the project and agreed to fund the work. Because the mosaic was boxed and stored, budgets and timelines were drawn up last year without the aid of visual inspection, based only on existing reports. Work was scheduled to begin in early January but, in October, Hurricane Sandy lashed New York, wreaking havoc at the UN and imposing delays on WACC. Treatment began in late February. Gillette-Woodard’s first sighting was not of the ten-bynine-foot artwork itself, but the wooden crate that surrounded it. Work was done on location at the UN, which provided a makeshift studio in a one-time hospitality bar on the third floor of the General Assembly building, the last building to be renovated. The UN is a model of modern architecture, with clean exterior lines and often low-ceilinged interior passageways. In its transfer from storage, the behemoth crate only cleared the ceiling by inches in places, and sometimes less. At one juncture, the art was taller than the hallway, requiring workers to nick away part of the ceiling. Even surrounded by the chaos and dust of a construction site, and transformed into a workroom with worktable, stepladders, and a low scaffold, the hospitality bar-cumconservation-lab retained an essence of mid-century éclat. Dominated at one end by a sleek, mirrored bar, the room was filled with light from two floor-to-ceiling glass walls. 6 | Art Conservator | Summer 2013

One looked out onto a broad staircase decorated with a large tapestry; the other surveyed the plaza entrance of the UN’s thirty-nine story Secretariat building and views south of Manhattan and the East River. Work began with the mosaic face down. In 2009, a conservation group observed that the artwork was cracked in several places; their initial inspection speculated that the plywood backing had moved due to changes in humidity, causing the damage. The back of the piece had to be completely stabilized to prevent further cracking. The mosaic had been constructed in a series of layers. An Italian mosaic collective, Co-op Mosaico Artistico Veneziano, created the image layer, reproducing and enlarging Rockwell’s original oil painting with thousands of colored glass tiles called tesserae. The tesserae are secured to a mesh matrix, and it was in this form, as an arrangement of glass tiles supported on cloth, that the work was shipped to the US. Here, it was pressed in a bed of mortar mounted on a backing of plywood with a metal support frame. Once the mortar hardened, the cloth mesh was removed. The first step in the treatment was freeing the mosaic from the metal and plywood backing to examine the mortar. As the plywood was removed, it became clear that cracks throughout the work corresponded with the presence of angle irons on the metal frame that were embedded in the mortar layer. These irons, and not just the plywood, had caused the chief damage to the mosaic. “Not only was the wood acting against the artwork, causing movement, but actually the metal frame itself was flexing and causing damage,” Gillette-Woodard concluded. “The whole backing support was responsible for the cracking.” Six major fissures ran through the mosaic, threatening to separate it horizontally and vertically. Gillette-Woodard injected adhesive to stabilize the cracks and tesserae, then set about replacing the backing. Rather than presenting a flat surface, the mortar bed was scalloped in peaks and valleys. The plywood backing had warped from the moisture of the wet mortar, and the mortar followed the warp as it dried. From end to end, the back was some one-and-a-half inches out of plane. A new backing panel would require a level surface, of course. The leveling process required far more than Gillette-Woodard could have anticipated ahead of time. Though the start of the treatment had been delayed by two months, its finish date was unmovable as renovations on the General Assembly building progressed. The extent of the


Norman Rockwell Museum/©SEPS: Curtis Publishing, Indianapolis, IN

mortar repair recommended leveling the back with a water-based mortar That requires twenty eight days to cure, time the schedule did not permit. As an alternative, Gillette-Woodard used a specialized, quick-drying structural epoxy. This presented new challenges. Epoxy is not designed for use over an area some ninety feet square. When used in large quantities, the exothermic properties of the epoxy mixture can build up heat enough to explode. Before going ahead, Gillette-Woodard consulted with two experts in the use of structural adhesives, including the chemist who had developed the epoxy she planned to use. Over the course of the treatment, she became on a first-name basis with both men. The answer was to work in small batches, no more than four cups of mixture at a time, enough to cover a single square foot. Gillette-Woodard supervised a team of WACC conservators and technicians in completing the work. Once leveled, the conservators secured the back with a rigid, honeycombed-aluminum panel that will not flex or bow. The time had come to flip the mosaic image-side up. Gillette-Woodard acknowledges a measure of anxiety as workers used a pair of large hoists to turn the work. The face was covered in two layers of protective material, an eighth of an inch of vulcanizing silicone over a layer of Japanese tissue. As the facing tissue was removed, Gillette-Woodard beheld the faces of Rockwell’s creation. “That was the first time I got to see the mosaic,” she said. “We were two months into the project.” In contrast to the damage on the back of the work, the front was in generally sound shape. Some tesserae were missing, which Gillette-Woodard replaced with replacement glass tiles, and some minimal inpainting was required. Gillette-Woodard said the most dramatic visual change to the image came from stripping it of “thirty years of dirt and grime” that “could have had nicotine in it too. It was a very yellowy black.” “Everybody from the UN who came in to see the piece while I was cleaning it was astounded at the difference,” she said. “But it had just been covered with a heavy layer of black dirt. It was quite a regeneration of the piece.” During the course of the work, she could not help but admire the beauty of the surface she was treating. “The surface of the mosaic is actually very rippled. It continued on page 18

Norman Rockwell, Golden Rule, 1961

The Origins of Rockwell’s Painting “Every so often I try to paint the big picture, something serious and colossal that will change the world, save mankind,” confessed Norman Rockwell in My Adventures as an Illustrator, his 1960 autobiography. “But my worst enemy is the world-shaking idea. . . . I just can’t handle world-shattering subjects.” So it seemed to the artist as he surveyed his attempt to express in a painting his abiding faith in the United Nations. The year was 1953, less than a decade after the end of World War II and subsequent ratification of the UN charter. “I sincerely wanted to do a picture that would help the world out of the mess it’s in,” Rockwell wrote. “And as it seemed to me that the United Nations was our only hope . . . I decided to do a picture of a scene at the UN.” Rockwell first imagined an image very much in keeping with the anecdote allegories he is famous for, a cleaning man alone in the Security Council following a day’s session, watched as he goes about his tasks by the spirit of a Great Man (in the autobiography, it’s Jesus or Lincoln). Abandoning that, he settled on a multiple portrait of key members of the Security Council, watched by the peoples of the world. As America’s most popular artist, and representative of one of the most successful magazines, The Saturday Evening Post, Rockwell had unprecedented access to the celebrated and powerful of his day. He photographed the diplomats, American Henry Cabot Lodge, Jr., Englishman Gladwyn Jebb, and Soviet Valerian Zorin, in situ in the Security Council chamber. Today, we may be struck by the white male hegemony of the figures, but then they would have represented, above all, the allied powers that had prevailed in WWII. Rockwell returned to his Arlington, Vt. studio, where he photographed, he estimated, some “thirty or forty” models for the

continued on page 18 Williamstown Art Conservation Center | 7


Feature

Unburying the Past Lenett Fellow traces the history of a forgotten man By Ginia Sweeney Each academic year, a second-year student at the Williams College/Clark Art Institute Graduate Program in the History of Art is awarded the Judith M. Lenett Memorial Fellowship in Art Conservation by the Williamstown Art Conservation Center. The twosemester fellowship provides the student with the opportunity to research and conserve an American art object. This year’s Lenett Fellow, Ginia Sweeney, worked on a long-forgotten nineteenth-century portrait from the collection of the Albany Institute of History & Art. She was supervised by Thomas Branchick, WACC director and head of the paintings department. The project culminated in a public lecture at the Clark, from which the article below has been adapted.

W

hen I first encountered the portrait of Edwin Morgan, it was hanging in its cramped home of many years: the compact storage area of the Albany Institute of History & Art in Albany, New York. Standing a foot and a half or so from the huge canvas, I craned my neck to see it. Under the fluorescent overhead lighting,

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its poor condition stood out above all else. It was a big, dirty canvas, slack and warped in its stretcher. Underneath those brown layers of grime, the subject was obscured but decipherable: a distinguished man with an unmistakable air of gravitas. Edwin Denison Morgan. Born in 1811, his illustrious career


appearance. The discoloring and warping of the canvas were included his making a fortune at a young age in a wholesale grocery business, and serving as New York City Alderman, New clearly the results of maltreatment and the passage of time. Without documentation, we can never know the true values of York State Senator, Governor of New York, Major General in the colors the artist used. Over the course of the project, we had the Civil War, and United States Senator. He was a leader in to make decisions about how thoroughly to clean the canvas the Whig Party and later the first, and, to date, longest serving and how to inpaint losses. The goal was to make the painting chairman of the Republican National Committee. He was an function as a cohesive whole. active patron of the arts, and his own collection, which was I hope and believe the result resembles the original intention exhibited at the National Academy of Design after his death, of the artist as much as possible. Through conservation, included three Bouguereaus, a large genre painting by Jules a previously unexhibitable Breton, and an Asher B. Durand painting, hidden in storage for landscape. Morgan served as an decades, is rendered once again officer of the corporation of the usable. The previous condition Metropolitan Museum of Art in drew attention primarily to the the early 1870s. material history of the object. Yet despite his myriad Now, in its newly conserved accomplishments and state, the portrait can serve as contributions to our nation’s a window into an important history, Edwin Morgan is not moment in New York and a figure that looms large in American history. our collective memory. So as I The artist has depicted his worked at the Williamstown Art subject in a distinguished pose. Conservation Center to remove He stands upright, his chest the materials distorting Governor puffed out, wearing a fine black Morgan’s likeness, I sought three-piece suit and bow tie. also to perform a similar sort of His body is turned towards excavation on the history of an the viewer at a three-quarters illustrious man, and of a forgotten angle. One hand, curled into depiction of him. Time has a loose fist, hangs at his side; changed the physical properties of the other is deliberately placed the portrait, and also its meaning. on a partially unfurled map of When it was commissioned in Asa Twitchell (attributed), Edwin Denison Morgan, c.1861, the United States. The map sits 1861 by the Albany Common after treatment. As Lenett Fellow, Ginia Sweeney (opposite) atop a red-cloth covered table Council as part of a series of conserved and researched the long-forgotten painting. with a large sword and stacked portraits of New York governors, books. Behind Morgan, a drapery hangs partially opened, it had the precise purpose of representing civic power. Its years revealing a campground of white tents pitched in receding rows in storage have stripped away those layers of meaning, just as to the horizon. Above the tents, small but unmistakable, an they have added physical layers of damage. American flag flutters in the wind. Much later, after cleaning This is an object whose existence has been all but erased and conserving the painting, I would consider the meaning of from the historical record, even whose very authorship is the pose and surroundings. uncertain. Its sitter was an eminent man and his legacy leaves As I started the treatment process, I realized I had a fear him worthy of our respect and admiration. In spite of the of touching the painting. Through my studies of art history, eminence of its sitting, this painting has been relegated to the all art objects had gained an impenetrable aura that caused closet of American history and art history both. them to exist in an exalted, intellectual realm beyond the The conservation process itself raised philosophical material. Conserving the portrait of Edwin Morgan forced me questions, because we have no record of the painting’s original Williamstown Art Conservation Center | 9


to deal with the artwork on a directly material level. As Lenett Fellow, of course, I not only had to touch the painting but use solvents to clean it and even add my own inconspicuous paint strokes to the surface. Each day presented a new worry that I might irrevocably ruin the painting, despite Tom Branchick’s assurances to the contrary. I soldiered forth with a great deal of trepidation. The original condition of the painting presented several problems. The overall surface was discolored. The collar and chest of the governor’s shirt, presumably originally white, were tinted a dull shade of brown as if stained with mud. The area of sky and land visible through the drawn curtains was also covered with a smoggy residue of grime and, we assumed, discolored varnish. I began by cleaning the painting with an aqueous solution and cotton swabs, which removed a fair amount of grime. The surface dirt gone, we discovered the painting was not coated with the more usual yellowed varnish, but rather with a discolored layer of shellac, a hard resin related to lacquer, made from the secretions of insects. The shellac layer was visible in a photograph under ultraviolet light as a lightly fluorescing coating applied unevenly over the surface. Because of the haphazard application, we inferred that the shellac was added not by the artist, but in a later restoration. Removing it presented solubility problems. It is difficult to remove shellac without disturbing the paint layer underneath, which in the case of Morgan was applied in thin, easily damaged glazes. Proceeding gingerly at first, I changed course in the

cleaning process, switching from a water-based surfactant to a solvent. Luckily, the shellac lifted off without a problem. The transformation was instantly noticeable. The sky and mountains behind the curtain were blue, the tablecloth red; the collar and front of Morgan’s shirt a gleaming white. Once cleaning was complete, we turned attention to relining the canvas, to reinforce the areas of brittleness and loss. The relining process was fairly routine, but not for me, having never taken part in such a process. One of the unexpected lessons of the Lenett fellowship was the amount of time and physical labor required in the conservation lab. Stretching the lining canvas onto the wooden strainer proved a surprisingly taxing undertaking. The physical labor put into the conservation process only deepened my understanding of the Morgan portrait on a material, as well as a symbolic, level. My final technical work involved inpainting areas of lost pigment. Here again, I felt twinges of anxiety. Much of the inpainting, thankfully, was along the edges now covered by the frame. Part of my task was to research authorship of the portrait, which is unsigned. I began with almost nothing to go on; the AIHA archive files contain only a single passing reference to the painting in the minutes for the March 11, 1861 meeting of the Common Council of the City of Albany. The Albany Institute dates the picture to between 1861 and 1863, and based on the date of the above citation, I surmised it was in the earlier half of that range. Morgan’s term as governor ended in 1862 when he was elected to the US Senate. Unfortunately, there was no mention of an artist in conjunction with the commission. The painting is generally attributed to Asa Weston Twitchell (1820-1904), a self-taught Albany artist, but such an attribution is tricky, as I was to discover. In a 1943 letter inquiring about Twitchell, the thendirector of the Albany Institute wrote, “Some of his work is very good. It is quite uneven, however.” This was precisely the issue I faced in securing the attribution of the portrait of Governor Morgan. The likeness of Morgan is less than perfect, compared to other contemporary images of him. Yet Twitchell was capable of quite convincing work. He had a deft hand and sensitive touch, and according to one source was the leading portraitist in Albany from 1849 through the end of the century. He created other gubernatorial portraits commissioned by the City of Albany, including Samuel Howell Lloyd and Dewitt

Rows of Union Army tents behind Morgan evoke his efforts as New York governor during the Civil War. Top, ultraviolet photography revealed the presence of a shellac coating discoloring the paint surface. 10 | Art Conservator | Summer 2013


Clinton, as well as a fine early painting of Herman Melville dating to 1847. In these, I found hints of the same hand as the Morgan portrait. Comparing the faces of all four portraits revealed similar paint handling. Morgan’s face is painted more delicately than the rest of the painting, with tiny, wispy brushstrokes creating his hair and features. The other portraits have been executed with the same attention to detail, minute brushstrokes, and careful modeling of the face. Given the stylistic similarities between the Morgan portrait and Twitchell’s other work, as well as the artist’s place as Albany’s leading portrait painter at the time In May, Sweeney delivered the Lenett Fellow lecture at the Clark Art Institute. of the commission, I concluded he is the most likely author. This suggests Morgan’s rank of Major General in the Union Army, attribution is by no means certain, however. Notwithstanding while the cavalry tents gathered outside the window reference the few stylistic characteristics, his work bears no utterly the New York state troops he rallied to fight for the cause. unique in either the Morgan painting or the others. After a failed attempt to appease the South on the question Portraiture is often said to have two purposes: first, to of slavery, Morgan willingly aided the Union’s war effort. He represent the appearance of the sitter, and second, to depict first volunteered New York state troops to the Union Army some inner essence of that person. In the second half of the in February of 1861, before the war formally began. In April, nineteenth century, photography gained in popularity and he dispatched the first four regiments to Washington. As a brought new possibilities in lifelike representation. In the leader in the Republican Party, Governor Morgan was a strong face of this technological development, the symbolic role of and early supporter of President Lincoln. He quickly became the painted portrait took on greater weight, as the paintings known as the “War Governor,” the role he is seen in here. operated as much as repositories of biography and character as Now restored to its original luster, the portrait of Governor physical appearance. Morgan takes on a new meaning. If the obsolescence of The Twitchell portrait is a statement not so much on the portrait led to its poor condition, its poor condition Morgan’s appearance (there are paintings and photographs that capture that more accurately), but about his authority and perpetuated that obsolescence. Despite several recent loan requests, the Institute had been unable to lend or exhibit the influence. The picture denotes Albany as the seat of power painting. With the past century of neglect and maltreatment for the State of New York, even as it references the pivotal stripped away, the painting can begin its life again. No longer moment in New York and United States history in 1861, as the Civil War began. The painting’s iconography embodies a sense will it languish in storage, unseen and forgotten. The past uncovered, it can now serve as an important relic of history. of civic pride in Morgan’s leadership. The sword on the table

Williamstown Art Conservation Center | 11


Feature

Chuck Close, 5C (Self-portrait), 1979. Right, detail of top middle section, showing color shift where the prints overlapped. 12 | Art Conservator | Summer 2013


The Push Pin Solution Reframing a Chuck Close Polaroid self-portrait

A

twenty-four-by-twenty inch photographic print was still a bit of a wonder in 1976, and a color photo that size produced instantly a small miracle. That’s what the Polaroid Corporation achieved that year when it began production of instant film in those dimensions, and fabricated the massive cameras to hold it. The technologic marvel was a novelty of sorts, created to help promote Polaroid’s new large format (eight-by-ten inch) peel-apart film to the consumer market. Polaroid invited several of the greatest artists of the day, from Robert Rauschenberg to Andy Warhol, to produce images with the large camera. The list included painter Chuck Close, whose massive photorealist portraits had revitalized the genre in the 1970s. Since then, no artist has become more closely associated with the large Polaroid than Close. For decades, Polaroid owned many of these one-of-a-kind artist’s images, produced in the “20 x 24 Studio,” the common name given to the rooms in various cities where one of the large cameras was installed. The company traveled the photographs to museums across the country, but when the digital age caused the end of mass instant photography (and Polaroid Corp.), the Polaroid Collection was dispersed at auction in 2010. Among the images that became available was Close’s 1979 5C (Selfportrait), purchased by the Frances Lehman Loeb Art Center at Vassar College. To celebrate the new acquisition, as well as the bygone era of instant photography, the Loeb mounted the exhibition The Polaroid Years: Instant Photography and Experimentation from April 12 through June 30, 2013. In preparation for the exhibition, the museum sent the Close photograph to the Williamstown Art Conservation Center’s Department of Paper and Photography. It was treated by Laura Downey Staneff, herself a new acquisition for WACC, having joined the Center as photography conservator in January. The nearly five-foot-square work is made up of five oversized Polaroids, overlapped to create a continuous image and held in place by thirteen push pins, many penetrating more than one print. Each of the five prints isolates a different close-up feature of the artist’s face, emphasizing the astounding detail obtained by the

large camera. Common elements take on an alien presence. Small wrinkles evoke river deltas, facial hairs are adamant as cactus quills. The intimacy is disquieting and thrilling. The photo arrived framed in an unfinished, low-profile wood molding. The back of the frame and mount carried a number of exhibition and gallery labels, including a recent one from Sotheby’s; another from 1999, from the widely traveled exhibition Innovation/Imagination: 50 Years of Polaroid Photography; and a third label, partly in Dutch or German, connected to a 1989 exhibition originating at the University of Delaware. Despite thirty-five years on the road (sometimes without the protection of glazing), on inspection the photograph “looked pretty good,” said Downey Staneff. She began by drawing a template of the print and pin replacement on Mylar for use in reassembly, only to find, when the pins were removed, such a guide would hardly be required. A dramatic color-shift was evident everywhere the photographs had overlapped. The part of each print protected from the light had discolored to a brownish yellow that showed dramatically in the skin tones. A reaction, caused by light, air, or chemistry, of one of the image layers or the fixative coating likely caused the shift. For Downey Staneff, it meant treating the work was simpler than anticipated, as the five pieces went back together easily with the discolored edges as guides. Treatment included mending where print layers had delaminated or cracked, and light surface cleaning of grime, fingerprints and staining that may have been red wine. More complicated was the task of how to remount and frame the work for exhibition. After considering linen tape, it was decided to retain the solution of common push pins. This retained the work’s original, low-tech ethos, and proved surprisingly effective. In addition to securing the print to the new, laminated mount, the pins serve an additional function as auxiliary spacers between the artwork and the non-reflective, museum-grade acrylic glazing. A new frame of black aluminum completed the treatment. Laura Downey Staneff discusses problems and solutions of framing and storing oversized photographs in Tech Notes, p. 19. Williamstown Art Conservation Center | 13


WACC News & Notes

Preserving a Unique Paper Trail in Yellowstone Park

T

he opportunity for a team of Berkshire-based paper

promised to stabilize the ten-by-fifteen-foot room in a single

conservators to work at Yellowstone National Park arose

week. In May, WACC’s full staff of three paper conservators,

suddenly when the federal budget sequestration froze travel

Leslie Paisley, Rebecca Johnston, and Laura Downey Staneff,

expenses for government conservators in March. One of countless

flew west, where they picked up a pre-shipped bin of tools

projects threatened by the budget cuts was Yellowstone’s plan

and supplies, everything they might need for the treatment.

to conserve the so-called “Million Dollar Room,” located in the

There are no conservation suppliers within hundreds of miles of

Lower Hamilton General Store, within sight of the Old Faithful

northwestern Wyoming.

geyser. As Plan B, the park put out bids to non-government

The checks are hung floor to ceiling in measured alternating

conservation firms whose travel and work could be paid directly

rows like brickwork. Issued by the National Park Bank, they

by the Yellowstone Park Foundation, the nonprofit partner funding

contain a prominent oval-shaped logo depicting Old Faithful.

the conservation.

The dark logo creates an overall pattern broadly resembling

The Million Dollar Room was the office of Charles Hamilton,

houndstooth. The effect was largely intact even before treatment,

owner of the general store from 1915 until his death in 1957.

but the individual checks showed signs of age that threatened

Hamilton papered the office walls with the store’s cancelled

the display’s integrity. Some were peeling or lifting, others were

checks, leaving a trail of business transactions that eventually

torn or had missing pieces, and some had been cut, abraded, or

covered the entire room. The room, like the store building it is in,

otherwise damaged. Push pins, nails, cellophane tape, and paint-

is part of Yellowstone’s rich legacy.

spatters also marred the surface.

The Williamstown Art Conservation Center’s successful bid

The “wallpaper” contained a wealth of other visual elements, including handwritten dates and inscriptions, signatures, red bank stamps, and perforations of cancellation, all of which needed to be preserved. Most checks had been applied directly to cellulose wallboard, though in some cases they were overlapping. Treatment began by surface cleaning the checks with soft brushes and dry chemical sponges. Swabs moistened with acetone removed accretions and stains. Once cleaned, the team began the meticulous process of stabilizing and re-adhering the checks to the wall. A variety of adhesives were considered. Aqueous-based methylcellulose and wheat starch paste both presented the possibility of bleed-through or other moisturerelated effects on the paper. The team consensus was EVA, ethylene-vinyl acetate, a co-polymer adhesive that dries clear

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yet remains soluble in water, allowing the work to be reversed if

An American Neoclassical Looking Glass

necessary. The EVA also offered elasticity when dried, so that it would remain pliable as the walls move with changes in humidity or vibrations. Treatment proceeded area by area and check by check. Each piece required varying amounts of attention. Some were partially detached from the wall and in danger of being damaged, while others were intact and required only small repairs. The conservators worked on “seventy-five to eighty percent” of the uncounted hundreds of checks. “There were very few sections where we didn’t do something,” said Leslie Paisley, chief paper conservator. In addition to the checks on the wall, there were check fragments saved over the years. Rebecca Johnston sleuthed the locations of the larger check pieces and reattached them in place. To relieve the strain of extended work at close quarters, the team took lunchtime and after-hour sightseeing forays into the park, observing the wildlife, geology and other natural wonders. “Geyser gazing” from the deck of the Old Faithful Inn, a short

Furniture and frames chief conservator Hugh Glover applies red clay bole to

walk from the job site, was a highlight. Of about a thousand

replacement beads on the crest of an American looking glass, in preparation

geysers estimated to exist worldwide, half are in Yellowstone.

for gilding. The maker of the spruce, pine, and basswood mirror is unknown,

With completion of the stabilization phase, larger preservation concerns for the Million Dollar Room remain. These include checks heavily damaged over the years and large exposed gaps between the wallboard panels. A complete restoration could also involve filling losses with toned paper to unify the room visually. The conservators and park officials also discussed the viability of removing the room’s walls entirely, for reinstallation in a museum.

possibly from Albany or New York. Owned by Historic Deerfield, the glass dates to 1800-1810, the height of neoclassicism, the ornate aesthetic that melded classical and indigenous motifs. Among the carved details are fluted columns, acanthus leaves, a flower basket, urns, a laurel wreath, and wheat stalks, crowned with an eagle bearing a double row of beads. The frame is finished with water gilt gold leaf. Treatment included removal of later overgilding, securing loose parts, and replacement of missing features.

The conservators advised against such a move, which would require cutting the checks to remove the wallboard. The damage and loss of historic integrity would be unacceptable. The final phase of the project, using WACC conservator’s specifications, will be to install a protective acrylic barrier. The park service staff, as well as the seasonal employees at the general store, expressed heartfelt appreciation for the conservation. As the week began, it was clear that the room’s deterioration and neglect had really pained people. They knew irreversible damage was occurring but didn’t know how to protect the room. Their joy and amazement at the results made this project especially rewarding and memorable.

Charles Hamilton in the “Million Dollar Room” at Yellowstone National Park. Far left, a WACC conservator applies adhesive to one of the cancelled checks Hamilton used to paper the office walls of his General Store, in sight of Old Faithful. Williamstown Art Conservation Center | 15


WACC News & Notes

From Tehran to Hyde Park, an exquisite Persian carpet at FDR Museum

D

uring the Tehran Conference of November 1943, President

red swirls. The rectangular design space is framed with wide

Franklin D. Roosevelt received a large and beautiful Persian

borders around the perimeter of the rug that shows the fine knot

carpet as a gift from Mohammad Reza Shah Pahlavi, Shah of Iran. The monumental Isfahan rug, more than twenty-one-by-

count, fifty knots per inch, to great effect. The velvety texture that Ms. Suckley noted in her diary is due

thirteen-feet, is the centerpiece of Roosevelt’s study at the FDR

to the fineness of the wool wefts that form the cut pile of the

Presidential Library & Museum, in Hyde Park, New York.

rug’s surface. The rug is woven with a thin denier cotton warp

Daisy Suckley (pronounced “sookley”), Roosevelt’s distant

and equally fine wool wefts that are wrapped and crossed around

cousin and an early archivist of the Library, suggested the rug’s

every other warp. The high knot count and delicacy of the warp

placement in the study. She wrote in her diary on May 23, 1944,

and weft yarns contribute to the beautiful rendering of even the

that the rug had “…every possible colour & harmonizes with

smallest motifs in the rug pattern. Along the border, a series

everything.” It is likely that the rug was installed on the floor

of four-inch motifs appear as complete as individual rugs. The

that day, as she also noted that it “…feels like velvet.” The rug

curved lines flow as smooth and round in miniature as they do on

designer Imami created this Isfahan rug with an off-white ground

the monumental center. On rugs woven with coarser yarns, the

and central oval medallion surrounded with undulating blue and

edges of the small motif designs often take on a jagged, checked appearance similar to digital pixelation. Equally impressive is the finish used on the five-inch fringe. Formed from the warp ends, the warp yarns were divided into top and bottom layers. In the top layer, the yarns were gathered into groups of twelve and twisted together. In the bottom layer each warp yarn was over twisted so that their length shortened to about three inches and appear corkscrewed. To ‘lock’ the twisting in place, the bottom of each yarn was tied to its left neighbor. Finally the two layers were integrated by pulling the gathered and twisted five-inch top layer through the corkscrewshortened bottom layer. This created a finished fringe that is just as ornate as the other components of the rug. It is no surprise that Ms. Suckley reported that the rug of this size, complexity, and fineness took nearly ten years to produce. With funding from the federal Save America’s Treasures program, the rug was sent to WACC for preservation assessment and treatment as part of the wider preservation and rehabilitation of some of the interiors in the FDR Library. The rug has fared extremely well. Treatment was minimal, consisting of vacuuming the front and back and realigning more than twenty-six feet of fringe—a monumental task. For final installation, the rug was rolled out on a rug pad made from inert materials specified and constructed by WACC. Comparing the unexposed back of the rug to the front demonstrates that the rug has had little to no noticeable fading of its colors, owing to careful stewardship by the Library. It retains all the color complexity that Ms. Suckley described in 1944. —Gretchen Guidess Assistant Conservator for Objects & Textiles Historic photo of the Persian carpet in FDR’s study. Below, after seventy years, the brilliant colors and fine fringe remain intact.

Study courtesy FDR Presidential Librar y & Museum

16 | Art Conservator | Summer 2013


Report from Atlanta

Undoing the Heavy Hand of a Misbegotten Makeover

T

en years ago a misbegotten

delivered the painting to the Atlanta

painting remained. Grime removal

restorer painted the hell

Art Conservation Center in hopes

was followed by varnish removal,

out of this thing!” Such was the

it could be reclaimed. Inspection

then overpaint removal. Original

colorful finding of the curator of

confirmed the portrait (above, left)

varnish was discovered beneath the

the Columbia (South Carolina)

had been over-cleaned, over-filled,

overpaint and this too was removed,

Museum of Art in the 1950s, when

over-painted, and over-varnished.

revealing a fairly intact likeness

the owner of this unsigned mid-

It was decided to completely undo

(center). Filling the areas of loss and

nineteenth-century portrait brought

the earlier “makeover,” a leap

inpainting returned great-great-

it for inspection. Recently, the family

of faith of sorts, as AACC chief

great-aunt Lucinda to her rightful

of the pictured woman, known

conservator Larry Shutts and I could

glory.

affectionately as “Aunt Lucinda,”

not be sure how much of the original

—Thierry Boutet Williamstown Art Conservation Center | 17


WACC Staff

T‌homas Branchick Director; Conservator of Paintings/Dept. Head

Rockwell Mosaic continued from page 8

mosaic is too heavy to be hung directly on a wall. It will be mounted on a small plinth, allowing the weight to be borne by the floor, and secured to the wall. The Rockwell Mosaic will be unveiled later this summer in an annex of the Secretariat Building, returning an icon to public view.

Thierry Boutet Assistant Conservator of Paintings/Atlanta

has a morphology all it’s own,” she noted. “That’s partially because of the way it was pressed into the mortar, and also because the tesserae are different thicknesses. That gives a textural quality that creates a sparkle to the surface, as the glass pieces each catch the light differently.” At some twelve hundred pounds, the

Nate Brulé Office Assistant/ Technician

Origins continued from page 8

John Conzett Office Manager

multitudes in the background. “I spent at least

drawing, he transmuted a passage of the New

Laura Downey Staneff Associate Conservator of Paper and Photography

a month taking the photographs. And I spent

Testament into a universal moral code.

drawing, doing each of the more than seventy

as you would have them do unto you,” is in

Kristan Goolsby Office Assistant/Atlanta

figures in detail.”

fact ageless. Throughout written history,

Hélène Gillette-Woodard Conservator of Objects/Dept. Head

and-three-quarters-inch drawing, however,

the primacy of what philosophers call the

Rockwell lost faith. “Maybe I was getting in

“ethic of reciprocity,” the idea that our

Hugh Glover Conservator of Furniture and Wood Objects/Dept. Head

beyond my depth,” he agonized. “Perhaps

relationship to others should mirror our

it was too ambitious. I turned the charcoal

desires for their relationship with us. Rockwell

to the wall. I couldn’t stand to look at it any

embodied such conduct in all his art, and

more.” He never returned to it, at least not in

nowhere more powerfully than in his painting

that form, and at the time of his autobiography

of the precept itself.

Mary Catherine Betz Associate Conservator of Paintings

Gretchen Guidess Assistant Conservator for Objects & Textiles

another month on the preliminary charcoal

Upon completing the seven-by-fifteen-

considered it among his supreme failures. He

The wisdom of Jesus, to “do unto others

civilizations around the globe have affirmed

In his initial “failure,” Rockwell planted the seeds for a truly “serious picture” with a

Matthew Hamilton Photography Technician

tells the story in a chapter titled, “Flops!”

Teresa Haskins Accounts Manager

Rockwell’s preliminary effort was not his

course, is that the mosaic of faces, races, and

depiction of the UN. It was in the common

creeds he created with his painting became

Rebecca Johnston Conservator of Paper

humanity the organization represents,

an iconic mosaic for the place he wanted

eloquently expressed by the men, women,

originally to celebrate, the United Nations.

Henry Klein Conservation Technician

and children who occupy the background.

Alone, his image may not “save mankind,” but

In 1961, the message was requited in one

it points the way.

Montserrat Le Mense Conservator of Paintings

of Rockwell’s best know Post covers, The

As the world now knows, the genius of

“world-shaking idea.” The triumphant irony, of

—Timothy Cahill

Golden Rule. Using portraits from the earlier

Nor man Rock well Museum /©Nor man Rock well Famil y Agenc y

Leslie Paisley Conservator of Paper/Dept. Head Christine Puza Assistant Conservator of Furniture and Wood Objects Michelle Savant Associate Conservator of Objects/Atlanta Larry Shutts Associate Conservator of Paintings/Atlanta Sandra L. Webber Conservator of Paintings 18 | Art Conservator | Summer 2013

Norman Rockwell’s preliminary charcoal sketch for the unfinished UN painting, 1953.


Tech Notes, Summer 2013

Collection And Preservation Of Oversized Photographs By Laura Downey Staneff Associate Conservator of Paper and Photographs Overview

The past twenty-five years has seen a marked increase in oversized contemporary photographs of both traditional and digital processes. “Oversized,” in this case, refers to prints larger than the traditional “large” size of twenty-by-twenty-four inches. With digital technology, moreover, it is no longer unusual for prints to be six feet or larger in one or both dimensions. This technical bulletin is an overview of some of the many challenges presented by these works regarding use, access, and storage. Oversized photographs demand those involved with their care to adjust expectations for what is necessary and possible, with an understanding that these large prints are extremely delicate. Once damage has occurred it often cannot be remediated. All staff members involved in collections care, including curators, registrars, art handlers, and others, need to understand that, with oversized works, everything is likely to take longer and be more expensive than traditional photographic holdings. It is not unique to photographs that the larger size means larger problems. It is also widely understood that contemporary digital prints can be even more sensitive to damage from light, humidity, and chemical contaminants than traditional photographic processes. Oversized photographs, however, have the additional challenge of extreme physical delicacy, especially if they have not been mounted to a firm support. The layers of paper, gelatin, plastic and other materials in their composition are extremely vulnerable to handling dents and other small but significant damages. This is a problem for photographs of any size, but especially so when the print is large and difficult to handle without uncontrolled flexing of the print. To compound the problem further, the aesthetics of contemporary art tend to demand a pristine surface, without blemish and kept extremely smooth. More and more frequently, that ideal becomes impossible to meet. Along with the larger size of these photographs comes greater weight: larger prints need larger mats, larger frames, larger glazing, etc. More people are needed to move the framed artwork, more space is needed in the storage room, extra time is required to do the simplest of chores such as moving the piece into a print study room for a viewing, and extra attention devoted to wrapping for shipment if the work goes out on loan. Naturally, there is also greater expense and difficulty in shipping such works. Challenges of new materials

The conservator setting out to treat oversized contemporary photographs—or even just to hinge one for an exhibition—has several additional challenges related to the sensitivity and vulnerability of some of the new materials. Time-tested aqueous adhesives such as gelatin, methylcellulose, or wheat starch paste simply will not adhere to the glossy resin-coated papers used in most color processes, including many digital prints. Non-aqueous methods usually involve either heat or solvents, both of which can present problems for the prints. Meanwhile, some of the limited-moisture acrylic emulsions that are used elsewhere in conservation have been found not to pass the Photographic Activity Test.1 They may still be Williamstown Art Conservation Center  |  19


Tech Notes, Summer 2013

At top. the author prepares lining strips of synthetic fabric for edge mounting. Above, an oversized photograph and lightweight honeycomb panel. The panel has an aluminum skin, sealed poplar frame, and aluminum honeycomb core.

useful for inkjet prints, which do not involve photographic chemistry. It is extremely difficult to find out what will be harmful to these new processes and what will not. Useful testing data is scarce, and what tests have been done tend to have been commissioned by the companies that manufacture the materials and are not published. Furthermore, there is a high level of variability within the new materials. Some are so sensitive to humidity that applying any moisture may cause fading. Others may react to a component in the adhesive, or may fade simply because they were printed on the wrong kind of paper. Meanwhile, because most types of color prints are known to fade with light exposure, and because contemporary photographers often want to avoid glazing the work so that it is more immediate to the viewer, sometimes they have been faced with UV-absorbing films or laminates. Unfortunately such laminates do not always adhere well to the photographic surface, producing hazy “bubbles” or air pockets that are visually distracting from the work as a whole. For any of these problems it is usually virtually impossible to test a treatment option locally because any poor results will show. Even if you are fortunate enough to have an “study” print that is ostensibly of the same materials, testing on these may be inaccurate since the mock-up probably comes from a different batch of paper or is a different age or has simply aged under different conditions. The conservator has very little information to work with and tends, with reason, to provide for the worst. Sometimes, however, one must proceed toward some action even when there seem to be no good solutions. Conservators are still looking for the best avenues to recommend in dealing with these contemporary prints. In short, conservators and owners alike must adjust to the needs of the works. For example, both the conservation ideal of reversibility and strictures against overall mounting seem impractical when brought up against the challenges of oversized photographs. When these prints are left unmounted, they quickly begin to show handling dents and other superficial imperfections that become glaringly obvious when a pristine surface is expected. Furthermore, it is very difficult to hinge these works flat to a mountboard—inevitably, one ends up with a rippled surface. With this in mind, photograph conservators, including here at WACC, have resorted to attaching strips of inert synthetic fabric along the entire perimeter of the photograph and wrapping them around the back of a solid support such as a paper-faced aluminum honeycomb panel. Even this solution poses problems, in that it is difficult to adjust the tension so that the print is truly flat. Of course, the materials will continue to change dimension through fluctuations in relative humidity, which can cause transient ripples or even an overall “pillowing” effect. It is also possible that adhesives used in the process may not stand up to the test of time. Techniques of mounting photographs

Photographers have mounted their photographs throughout history, often using inappropriate materials. A remarkable number of these mounted photographs have survived, often in better condition than their unmounted counterparts. Ansel Adams, in fact, insisted on mounting his prints 20 | Art Conservator | Summer 2013


as the best way of preserving them; his method of choice was dry-mounting to museum-quality mat board or, for oversized works, wet-mounting to heavy, oversized paperboard or fiber wallboard such as Homosote, which is hardly archival material. His largest works have suffered somewhat, due to their size and the lack of quality mounting materials available; nevertheless with good care and museum environmental conditions they can be expected to last for decades to come. Contemporary photographers also recognize that their work is easier to handle and better preserved when it is mounted overall, though some have heeded conservators’ strictures against overall mounting. As a group, these photographers have searched for alternatives to mat board as a mounting surface. For one thing, the ability to print on large scale paper has outpaced the largest available mat board dimensions; for another, even the smoothest paperboard produces a subtly dimpled or eggshell appearance that does not suit the pristine aesthetic typical of contemporary works. Richard Avedon was a pioneer in this regard; he mounted the life-size and larger prints for his 1985 In the American West exhibition on sheets of aluminum. Metal is a much smoother surface than mat board, but considerably heavier, and can prove prohibitively expensive for many. More recently, photographers have turned to plastic products such as Sintra (polyvinyl chloride sheet), but concerns about the long-term stability of such materials have prompted a shift to cold-mounting on DiBond (aluminum skin laminated to a polyethylene core), currently the mounting system of choice. What follows are general guidelines for proceeding with the collection and preservation of oversized contemporary photographic materials: Storage

• Keep oversized works framed if possible. Heavy though the frame may be, the photograph is safer during handling if in a frame. Watch out for unintended light exposure in the storage room. • If a work can’t be kept framed, try to keep it flat. Oversized flat files are available; it is also possible to sandwich large prints between layers of oversized mat board, corrugated cardboard, or Coroplast. The layer closest to the artwork should be as smooth as possible, made of paper that passes the Photographic Activity Test. The folder should be stiff enough to prevent creasing. • If it won’t fit in flat storage, it must be rolled. Use a large-diameter, archival-quality tube that is longer than the width of the photograph to avoid crumpling the edges. Interleave with a smooth, high-quality paper, wider than the photograph, preferably in one continuous sheet. If the photograph already has a tendency to curl, roll in that direction rather than against it. Store the roll suspended at the ends so that the portion of the photograph at the bottom is not placed under the weight of the whole roll. • Try to use Optium Museum Acrylic™. This anti-static, non-reflective glazing is the best product we’ve seen to protect the vulnerable surface of oversized photographs (and other artwork), while giving an effect of immediacy comparable to viewing the artwork unglazed. • Loose prints can’t be made perfectly flat. If it isn’t mounted overall, expect some distortions. Handling

• Use as many people as you need. This almost always means two or more; sometimes as many as four. • Try to keep the print as flat as possible. Avoid creases and dents! • Sandwich the print between stiffer material to turn it over. Even a stiff folder can do, but usually mat board or clean cardboard is better. • Make sure your workspace is big enough to handle the print safely. For very large works you may need to use the gallery on a day when it is closed to the public. Williamstown Art Conservation Center  |  21


General

• Know what you have. Get as much information from the artist as you can about the materials used, including details about what type of substrate or paper (manufacturer, model, batch number if possible) and what type of printing. • Use the Photographic Information Record. This is a free pdf available in several languages on the website of the Photographic Materials Group of the American Institute for Conservation (http://tinyurl.com/bhoaz6l). Quoting from the website, “The Photograph Information Record (PIR) represents the effort by many colleagues to create an ‘international standard’ for an artist’s questionnaire form.” • Try to establish the artist’s intent for mounting and presentation. We have heard of several museums that are taking an active role, during the process of acquiring new contemporary work, by requesting that galleries and/or photographers provide their prints already mounted. If for some reason the photographer prefers not to mount the work, s/he must then specify the preferred alternative for storage and presentation. Often artists in this situation have worked out specific ways to care for their work that may also be the best solution within the museum. In other cases, the institution may find that adjustments can be made to the recommended care in order to better preserve the work within the museum environment. • Establish a policy/protocol for mounting accessioned works. Some institutions will prefer not to be responsible for mounting contemporary photographs at all, and with good reason. We suggest that collections staff should at least discuss the question and have a policy about whether or not it can be done. If the institution may sometimes choose to mount a photograph overall, there should be a written protocol outlining the circumstances in which this may be done. The artist’s intent must be taken into consideration. Only recently made and recently acquired prints should be considered for mounting (but how recent is an open question); and liability for mounting problems should be established in case there is an accident and the print is damaged during the process. 1. The Photographic Activity Test, or PAT, is an international standard test (ISO18916) for evaluating photo-storage and display products. Developed by the Image Permanence Institute, a nonprofit, university-based laboratory devoted to preservation research, this test explores interactions between photographic images and the enclosures in which they are stored. The PAT is routinely used to test papers, adhesives, inks, glass and framing components, sleeving materials, labels, photo albums, scrapbooking supplies and embellishments, as well as other materials upon request.

Laura Downey Staneff graduated from the Art Conservation Department at the State University College at Buffalo in 1994, majoring in paper conservation, after completing her third-year internship at the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco. She worked for three years as Assistant Paper Conservator at the Balboa Art Conservation Center, a regional art conservation center in San Diego. Laura participated in the Mellon Collaborative Workshops in Photograph Conservation and earned a second master’s degree in Art History (History of Photography) at the University of Arizona, where she served as Ansel Adams Intern at the Center for Creative Photography. She was a Mellon Fellow in the first cycle of the Advanced Residency Program in Photograph Conservation at the George Eastman House. 22 | Art Conservator | Summer 2013


Members of the Consortium

Williamstown

Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art,

Roland Gibson Gallery, State

Art Conservation Center

Cornell University

University of New York

227 South Street, Williamstown, MA 01267

—Ithaca, NY Historic Deerfield, Inc. —Deerfield, MA Hood Museum of Art,

Addison Gallery of American Art, Phillips Academy —Andover, MA Albany Institute of History & Art —Albany, NY Alice T. Miner Colonial Collection —Chazy, NY

Dartmouth College —Hanover, NH T‌he Hyde Collection —Glens Falls, NY T‌he Lawrenceville School —Lawrenceville, NJ Mead Art Museum,

T‌he Arkell Museum

Amherst College

—Canajoharie, NY

—Amherst, MA

Arnot Art Museum —Elmira, NY Art Complex Museum —Duxbury, MA Bennington Museum —Bennington, VT Berkshire Museum —Pittsfield, MA Bowdoin College Museum of Art —Brunswick, ME Charles P. Russell Gallery, Deerfield Academy —Deerfield, MA

Memorial Art Gallery, University of Rochester —Rochester, NY Middlebury College Museum of Art —Middlebury, VT Mount Holyoke College Art Museum —South Hadley, MA

—Hartford, CT T‌he Daura Gallery at Lynchburg College —Lynchburg, VA Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art —Amherst, MA Farnesworth Art Museum —Rockland, ME Fort Ticonderoga —Ticonderoga, NY

—Hartford, CT Neuberger Museum,

—Purchase, NY New Hampshire Historical Society —Concord, NH New York State Office of General Services, Empire State Plaza Art Collection —Albany, NY Norman Rockwell Museum at Stockbridge —Stockbridge, MA Picker Art Gallery, Colgate University —Hamilton, NY Portland Museum of Art —Portland, ME Preservation Society of Newport

Vassar College

County

—Poughkeepsie, NY —Ogdensburg, NY Gershon Benjamin Foundation, —Clayton, GA

Smith College Museum of Art,

of our cultural heritage; to provide

—Northampton, MA Springfield Library and Museums

examination, treatment, consultation

Association

and related conservation services

—Springfield, MA

for member institutions, and for

Sterling and Francine Clark Art

other nonprofit organizations,

Institute

corporations and individuals; to

—Williamstown, MA Suzy Frelinghuysen and George L.K. Morris Foundation

conduct educational programs with respect to the care and conservation of works of art and objects of

—Lenox, MA

cultural interest; to participate in the

Union College

training of conservators; to promote

—Schenectady, NY

the importance of conservation

Vermont Historical Society

and increase the awareness of the

—Montpelier, VT Williams College Museum of Art —Williamstown, MA

issues pertinent to collections care; and to conduct research and dis-

—Utica, NY Museum of Connecticut History

Frances Lehman Loeb Art Center,

Frederic Remington Art Museum

conserve and maintain the objects

seminate knowledge to advance the

Purchase College, State University

Connecticut Historical Society

nonprofit institution, is to protect,

—St. Johnsbury, VT

profession.

of New York

—Waterville, ME

St. Johnsbury Athenaeum

‌he mission of the Williamstown Art Conservation Center, a

Munson Williams Proctor Arts

Manchester Historical Society —Manchester, CT

T

—Potsdam, NY

Institute

T‌he Cheney Homestead of the

Colby College Museum of Art

Mission Statement

Atlanta Art Conservation Center 6000 Peachtree Road Atlanta, GA 30341

Alabama Historical Commission —Montgomery, AL Booth Western Art Museum —Cartersville, GA Brenau University —Gainesville, GA Columbia Museum of Art —Columbia, SC T‌he Columbus Museum —Columbus, GA High Museum of Art —Atlanta, GA Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts —Montgomery, AL Telfair Museum of Art —Savannah, GA

—Newport, RI Rhode Island School of Design Museum of Art —Providence, RI T‌he Rockwell Museum of Western Art —Corning, NY

Williamstown Art Conservation Center | 23


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Art Conservator | Volume 8 No. 1  

Restoring the Normal n Rockwell Mosaic at the United Nations The Push Pin Solution: Reframing a Chuck Close Polaroid Self-Portrait An Ameri...

Art Conservator | Volume 8 No. 1  

Restoring the Normal n Rockwell Mosaic at the United Nations The Push Pin Solution: Reframing a Chuck Close Polaroid Self-Portrait An Ameri...