Watson on Conservation

George Caleb Bingham, Thomas Hoyle Mastin, 1871 (374) (before restoration)

George Caleb Bingham, Thomas Hoyle Mastin, 1871, Oil on Canvas, 24 x 27 inches, Kenneth B. McClain Collection, Independence, MO (before restoration)

George Caleb Bingham, Thomas Hoyle Mastin, 1871 (374) (after restoration)

George Caleb Bingham, Thomas Hoyle Mastin, 1871, Oil on Canvas, 24 x 27 inches, Kenneth B. McClain Collection, Independence, MO (after restoration)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So. You have your wonderful fine art piece. The Art Detectives have assisted you in determining the identity of the artist. Whether it is a portrait of a distant ancestor, or a work that speaks to you on another level, you love that piece and want to display it proudly. But…you may have noticed a small tear in the canvas, perhaps some yellowing or some cracking or peeling paint. You think repairs may be necessary, but where do you go? A good start is the AIC – American Institute of Conservation of Historic and Artistic Works – website. I spent quite a bit of time poking around this site. It is a treasure trove of information about fine art conservation. You will find that an extensive education is required to become a conservator, and links to find the best-qualified conservators in your area. There are tips for proper display and environmental conditions – e.g. temperature and humidity – that are best for preservation. You will even find detailed instructions on when and how to dust it! Remember, if repairs are made, keep the paperwork with the piece. It is important for a conservator to know what already has been done. Elementary.

-Watson

About Patricia Moss

Patricia Moss is an art historian, or art detective if you will, who solves mysteries of 19th century American portraits. She located nearly 70 of Bingham’s lost portraits, a feat acknowledged by the Smithsonian’s Research and Scholar’s Center. From expertise with portraits of George Caleb Bingham (1811-1879), she developed skills that evolved into a comprehensive system based on the scientific method that conforms to the legal and ethical standards of art authentication. Moss served as a guest curator for the Bingham Bicentennial Exhibit, “Steamboats to Steam Engines: George Caleb Bingham’s Missouri: 1819-1879,” (March 10-September 8, 2011) at the Truman Presidential Museum and curated the opening exhibition, “George Caleb Bingham: Witness to History,” (September 2013 –), Jackson County Art Museum, Independence, Missouri. She is also the principal researcher for Fine Art Investigations.
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  1. Pingback: Sherlock Adds to Watson’s Conservation Blog | Fine Art Investigations

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