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Student Blog: MFA Houston

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  • Claire Curran Filling small loss with dyed wax under 10x magnification.  Photo courtesy of Jane Gillies.
  • claire Curran Louise Bourgeois, The Age of Condom Come, First State (1989), Overall.  Photo courtesy of Mathew Golden.
  • claire Curran Louise Bourgeois, The Age of Condom Come, First State (1989), detail of cracking. Photo courtesy of Mathew Golden.
  • claire curran Louise Bourgeois, The Age of Condom Come, Second State (1989), Overall. Photo courtesy of Mathew Golden.
  • claire curran Repaired corner after re-assembly, filling, and aesthetic compensation.
  • claire Curran Creating acrylic trays for storage and display with a sanding drum attachment. Photo courtesy of Ingrid Seyb.
  • Claire Curran Storage container before sealing objects in an anoxic environment.

In this blog post, WUDPAC Class of 2015 Fellow Claire Curran shares her continuing exposure to the wonderful and unique world of modern and contemporary art provided by an internship in objects conservation at the Museum of Fine Arts Houston, and discusses her treatment of a cast latex work by artist Louise Bourgeois.

Art conservation and ancestral memories

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  • ARTC eblast January 2015. WUDPAC  Fellow Pamela Johnson removing surface dirt and grime from the painting with a 2.5% chelating citrate solution at pH 6.
  • ARTC eblast January 2015. WUDPAC  Fellow Pamela Johnson removing surface dirt and grime from the painting with a 2.5% chelating citrate solution at pH 6.
  • ARTC eblast January 2015. Blackish-colored dirt and grime being removed from the bottom of the painting.
  • ARTC eblast January 2015. Pamela alongside  the newly-assembled stretcher.

When the 113-year-old, full-length portrait of two well-dressed society women from Philadelphia was discovered rolled up in a New England barn, it was covered with dirt and grime. The canvas, though unframed and without a stretcher, was structurally sound and family members of the women in the portrait asked if it could be a project for the Winterthur/University of Delaware Program in Art Conservation.

Student Blog: Pre-program experience

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  • ARTC Senior Maddie Cooper digitizing a Flemish manuscript (photo: Ariel Tabritha)
  • ARTC Senior Maddie Cooper consolidating iron gall ink from a 13th century Flemish manuscript (photo: Linda Owen)

How do students prepare themselves to apply to a conservation training graduate program? In this blog post, University of Delaware ARTC undergraduate student Maddie Cooper talks about her “pre-program” preparations and her plans to continue her training after graduation this spring.

Art conservation and historical alchemy

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  • ARTC eblast December 2014. Cathie Magee using a sewing frame to attach the Polygraphice to original and new sewing supports
  • ARTC eblast December 2014. Cathie Magee using a sewing frame to attach the Polygraphice to original and new sewing supports
  • ARTC eblast December 2014. Cathie Magee using a light table to reattach a torn piece in one of the illustrations.
  • ARTC eblast December 2014. Cathie Magee using a light table to reattach a torn piece in one of the illustrations.
In what must have been a very busy life, William Salmon (1644-1713), who called himself ‘Doctor’ though he had no formal medical training, sold his own medicinal mixtures and practiced alchemy. One of his most popular books, the Polygraphice, offers advice on subjects such as drawing and painting the human figure, draperies, mixing pigments and preparing perfumes. This fall, a well-worn 1678 edition of Polygraphice in the collection of the Winterthur Library became a treatment project for second-year WUDPAC Fellow Cathie Magee.

Fulbright Blog: The adventure continues!

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  • Alyssa Hull, fulbright, Examining Munch's painting "The Murderer" (Moderen) using handheld XRF, with conservator Jin Strand Ferrer.
  • Alyssa Hull, fulbright, Presenting conservation science research at the Norwegian Nobel Institute.
  • Alyssa Hull, fulbright, Sunset in Laerdal, on the southern side of the Sognefjord.

ARTC graduate Alyssa Hull was recently awarded a Fulbright grant to spend the next academic year in Norway working with staff and collections at the Munch Museum and the University of Oslo. In her first blog post, we learned what drew Alyssa to the Munch Museum and shared her first days in Oslo. In this new post Alyssa updates us on her travels throughout Scandinavia and her work at the Munch Museum assisting in the study of altered pigments on Munch’s paintings and helping to create a database of the artist’s materials in the first half of the 20th century.

Conservation of a Magi

A new blog post from the Denver Art Museum features the conservation of an eighteenth-century polychrome Nativity sculpture, a treatment currently underway by WUDPAC alumna Courtney Von Stein Murray.

Student Blog: Building a three-legged stool at the National Gallery of Art

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  • michelle sullivan Working in transmitted illumination to remove attachments from corners of verso while print remains damp after bathing. NGA
  • michelle sullivan Working in transmitted illumination to remove attachments from corners of verso while print remains damp after bathing (detail). NGA
  • michelle sullivan Reducing glue from surface of print with warm alkaline water and strips of desiccated blotter. NGA
  • Michelle Sullivan Float washing print. NGA
  • michelle sullivan Removing print from bath. NGA
  • Jacob Matham (Dutch, 1571 – 1631), The Three Graces, engraving on laid paper. National Gallery of Art, Gift of the Estate of Leo Steinberg (2011.139.16).

In this blog post, WUDPAC Class of 2015 Fellow Michelle Sullivan talks about employing a balance of skills and studies during her internship in paper conservation at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., her work with staff and WUDPAC alumnae throughout the museum, and her treatment of works ranging from 16th-century Dutch engravings to 20th-century Abstract Expressionist ink drawings.

Art conservation as an example of student-centric education

UD's art conservation program was spotlighted in a video from the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School of Business. Art conservation was included as an example of student-centric education at the University of Delaware, where "educators are no longer thinking about how they want to teach students — instead, they’re focusing on how students want to learn, and on creating the multidisciplinary, multi-generational learning communities needed to solve the complicated issues facing the world today."

Art conservation and conversation pieces

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  • ARTC eblast November 2014. Emily Wroczynski performing cleaning tests on a “dummy board” figure depicting a man in Turkish costume.
  • ARTC eblast November 2014. mily Wroczynski performing cleaning tests on a “dummy board” figure depicting a man in Turkish costume.
  • ARTC eblast November 2014. he dummy board  during cleaning.
The life-sized, wooden cut-out figure in stylized Turkish attire provides a mystery for 21st-century viewers. Who is he, where did he come from, and what was his role in in the home of one of Philadelphia’s most historic families more than 200 years ago? All these are questions WUDPAC Second-Year Fellow Emily Wroczynski, a paintings major with a minor in paper, is working to answer while she also treats the figure’s conservation needs.

A history hidden in the details

The recent conservation treatment of an early Netherlandish panel painting in the collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art prompted a close comparison of the work with a similar panel painting in Copenhagen. The examination and resulting discoveries about how the painting was produced is now detailed on the Met's web site, in a blog post co-authored by WUDPAC Class of 2013 alumna Laura Hartman when she was the museum's Mellon Fellow in Paintings Conservation.

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