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Tatiana Ausema

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began​​ September 2010

Tatiana graduated from the Winterthur/University of Delaware program in Art Conservation in 2003 specializing in paintings and modern materials. Since then, she has worked at the Smithsonian Institution’s Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden as conservator and researcher studying improved approaches to cleaning and protecting that museum’s renowned collection of Color Field paintings. This research has involved collaboration with conservators and conservation scientists at the National Gallery of Art, the Getty Conservation Institute, and Harvard Art Museums. Since 2006, Tatiana has also worked in the Hirshhorn Museum’s collection management department focusing on broader preservation issues surrounding modern and contemporary artworks. Tatiana holds MS (2003) and BA (2000) degrees in art conservation from the University of Delaware and has held internships or fellowships at the Netherlands Institute for Cultural Heritage (ICN), Western Center for the Conservation of Fine Art, and the Getty Conservation Institute.​

​Images: PSP student Tatiana Ausema in front of

 Gamma Pi by Morris Louis (top), and testing 

appropriate treatment methods for a painting

by Color Field artist Kenneth Noland at the 

Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, 

Smithsonian Institution (above).​

Tatiana passed her exams in February 2012, and her proposal presentation in May 2012, and is now working on her dissertation. Her committee members are Joyce Hill Stoner (ARTC co-chair), Roberta Tarbell (ARTC and ARTH, co-chair), Chris Bennett (ARTH), Murray Johnston (CHEM), Tom Learner (External member, Head of Science, Getty Conservation Institute). Tatiana was the recipient of a University Fellowship for the 2013-2014 academic year and is a new program chair of the NEH.​​

TOPIC: Working Methods and Materials of Color Field Painter Morris Louis

Like other Color Field painters of his generation, Louis used the newly available acrylic solution paints poured or dripped onto unprimed cotton canvas to create large, abstract, and groundbreaking paintings.  Between 1954 and his premature death in 1962, the artist created over 600 canvases in his Washington, DC home; however, as many of the works were larger than his studio space, Louis had few opportunities to see his works properly stretched and exhibited. Despite this limitation, the eight years of Louis’s mature career contain four distinctive and fully realized stylistic periods. Using primary source documentation, instrumental analysis, and examination of individual paintings, Tatiana will evaluate the forces that shaped Louis’s stylistic development including changes in paint formulation, methods of canvas preparation, critical influences, and refinement of working techniques. This information will then be used to suggest improved approaches for the storage, display, and long-term preservation of these vulnerable paintings.


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Tatiana Ausema
  • The Department of Art Conservation
  • 303 Old College
  • University of Delaware
  • Newark, DE 19716, USA
  • Phone: 302-831-3489