Grant recipients

Since the program's inception, we have extended support to the following institutions around the world. Explore below to view recipients by year, or download PDFs of 2015, 2014, 2013, 2012 and 2010-11 recipients for more detailed information.

José Clemente Orozco
(Mexican, 1883 – 1949)
La Familia
(The Family), 1926
Location: sixth panel, second floor
Fresco 118” × 131” (300 × 330 cm)
© 2015 Artists Rights Society (ARS),
New York / SOMAAP, Mexico City

Antiguo Colegio de San Ildefonso
Mexico City

Forty-one murals by Emilio García Cahero, Ramón Alva de la Canal, Jean Charlot, Fernando Leal, José Clemente Orozco, Fermín Revueltas and David Alfaro Siqueiros

The year 1921 marked the end of the Mexican Revolution and the beginning of a major cultural shift in Mexico. The new government concluded that education and arts support would be civilizing and pacifying forces in the heavily fractured nation. The Minister of Public Education suggested that murals painted on the walls of public buildings would be an effective tool for educating the masses. In one of the first mural projects, a group of artists decorated the walls of the Antiguo Colegio de San Ildefonso, the national public high school in Mexico City. This effort marked the formation of a new artistic movement, Muralism, hallmarked by Diego Rivera’s monumental The Creation, 1922.

Conservation efforts will focus principally on the mural paintings housed in the hallways and staircases of the building. Dust and other contaminating particles deposited over decades on the outdoor-facing murals have proved to be a particular conservation challenge. By treating the murals and maintaining them in an optimal state of presentation, conservators will also protect an essential part of Mexico´s cultural heritage.

Buddha Amitābha (Buddha of the Western Paradise)
585 C.E. Sui dynasty (fifth year of the Kaihuang Era)
Hebei, Northern China  
Marble, wood and iron Height: 19’ (5.78 m)

British Museum, London

Marble figure of the Buddha Amitābha

Among the highlights of the British Museum’s collection is a colossal marble statue made for the Chongguang temple in Hancui village, Hebei Province, Northern China in 585 C.E. It represents the Buddha Amitābha, the Buddha of the Western Paradise, and stands at nineteen feet (5.78 meters) tall on a lotus base.  This important statue is on permanent display in the North Stairwell of the British Museum, highly visible to its 6.7 million annual visitors. 

Due to difficulties of physical accessibility, it has not received full conservation treatment in more than 25 years. This project will facilitate its comprehensive analysis and cleaning for the first time. Using in-situ scaffolding, conservators will examine the Buddha’s surface condition, rectify dust build-up and discoloration through careful cleaning, and repair its interior and exterior fixtures. Wider renovations will improve the statue’s plinth and lighting conditions. It is hoped that through such work, the Buddha will be enhanced and preserved for future generations.

The Mellow Pad, 1945 – 1951
Oil on canvas
26 1/4” × 42 1/8”  (66.7 × 107 cm)
Bequest of Edith and Milton Lowenthal
Art © Estate of Stuart Davis/Licensed by
VAGA, New York, NY

Brooklyn Museum, New York

Stuart Davis (American, 1892 – 1964)

Stuart Davis was one of the most original American Modernists at work during the first half of the twentieth century. He created a distinctive aesthetic that merged the formal breakthroughs of Synthetic Cubism with subjects and forms rooted in the evolving popular culture of modern America. The Mellow Pad, which preoccupied Davis for six years, is considered to be the artist’s most important statement of the 1940s. This complex painting’s colorants and stratigraphy (layer structure) will be analyzed in a thorough technical study. The results will help illuminate how and why some of the materials have changed over time, which will benefit both preservation and interpretive efforts. The painting will also be stabilized in preparation for In Full Swing: The Art of Stuart Davis, organized by the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, and the National Gallery of Art, Washington.

Portrait of a woman (possibly Hon. Elizabeth Boyle, wife of James Barry,
4th Earl of Barrymore), 1704
Pastel on paper
17½” × 13½” (44.5 × 34.3 cm), framed 12” × 9” (30.5 × 22.9 cm) unframed

Gibbes Museum of Art
Charleston, South Carolina

Henrietta de Beaulieu Dering Johnston
(American, b. Ireland, 1674 – 1729)

Two portraits

Henrietta de Beaulieu Dering Johnston, who arrived in the colony of South Carolina in 1708, is widely considered the first professional woman artist in America. She is the only artist associated with South Carolina during the first quarter of the eighteenth century and was the first artist in America to work in pastel. Forty-three works are attributed to her. In 2014, the Gibbes Museum of Art acquired two pastel paintings that depict Irish subjects thought to be James Barry, 4th Earl of Barrymore, and his wife, Elizabeth Boyle.

While both paintings are in remarkable condition, the paper supports are extremely fragile, and their acidic mounts will cause further damage. The stabilization and conservation process will involve removal of each fragile paper from its acidic mount as well as elimination of adhesive residues. All tears will be mended, and losses will be filled or strengthened. An archival backing, mounting and hinging arrangement will be constructed to further protect each painting prior to returning it to its original eighteenth-century frame.

Woman in Evening Dress
(Femme en robe de soirée),
1877 – 1880
Oil on canvas
68 5/8” × 32 7/8”  (174.3 × 83.5 cm)
Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum,
New York, Thannhauser Collection,
Gift, Justin K. Thannhauser, 1978

Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum
New York

Édouard Manet (French, 1832 – 1883)

Édouard Manet’s Woman in Evening Dress (Femme en robe de soirée), a painting of a fashionable Parisian bourgeois woman, is a prime example of how Manet chronicled modern life through depictions of representative characters that were favorite subjects of popular literature in the late nineteenth century. 

In its current state, Woman in Evening Dress appears dull and flat, with a discolored varnish that is not original to the painting and that obscures Manet’s vibrant and dramatic brushwork. In treating this painting, conservators will determine its layer structure and identify the pigments used. They will also identify the type of varnish coating used on the painting and determine how to remove it safely. 

Conservation of Woman in Evening Dress will reveal the richness and form of the painting, provide deeper insight into Manet’s materials and artistic process and forward scholarship on Manet in significant ways. At the conclusion of the project, the painting will rejoin the Thannhauser Collection, which is on permanent view.

Harriet Beecher Stowe
(American, 1811 – 1896)
Yellow Jessamine and Spanish Moss 
c. 1870
Gouache on paper
22 5/8” × 293/8” (57.5 × 74.6 cm) 

Harriet Beecher Stowe Center
Hartford, Connecticut

Four paintings in original frames

Abolitionist and novelist Harriet Beecher Stowe, author of Uncle Tom’s Cabin, 1852, acquired a large collection of art that she exhibited in her home in Hartford, Connecticut. She was also an active painter in her own right. Over the course of 23 years, Stowe’s home was the setting for discussion and debate about race, class and gender equity – seminal issues to which many of the pieces of fine and decorative art displayed in her home had a direct connection. 

Four paintings in Stowe’s collection, two by Stowe herself, are to be treated. Each is instrumental in helping visitors to the Stowe Center envision what inspired Stowe to write the anti-slavery story that became the most widely read novel of the nineteenth century.

Doug Hyde
(Nez Perce/Assiniboine/Chippewa, b. 1946)
Navajo Water Girl, c. 1990s
Sculpture, limestone
66 1/2” × 24” × 27”
(168.9 × 61 × 68.4 cm)
© Doug Hyde 

Heard Museum
Phoenix, Arizona

Eight sculptures by American Indian artists

The Heard Museum is conserving eight sculptures by four world-renowned American Indian artists. In each work, the sculptor presents a contemporary vision of his ancestral culture, giving the viewer new perspectives on American Indian art. The conservation project, on view to the public as the process unfolds, will create new opportunities for the museum as well as an educational venue for members and visitors. The project will also allow the museum to engage the local community, as well as international visitors.

In 2001, the Heard received a donation of Hyde’s large-scale sculpture Navajo Water Girl, which expresses Hyde’s interest in cultural diversity and heritage in the Southwest. It has never been exhibited at the Heard. The original owner had the sculpture positioned outdoors, where city pollution resulted in grime and discoloration. Conservation will restore the sculpture to its original patina.

Enclosed Field with Ploughman, 1889
Oil on canvas
21 1/4” × 25 3/4” (54 × 65.4 cm)
Bequest of William A. Coolidge
Photograph © Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

Museum of Fine Arts (MFA), Boston

Vincent van Gogh (Dutch, 1853 – 1890)

Two paintings

In the autumn of 1889, Vincent van Gogh painted Enclosed Field with Ploughman in southern France. The following summer, he created Houses at Auvers northwest of Paris. Both works were to be completed in the final year of his life. 

Vibrant colors, textures and brushstrokes characterize Van Gogh’s paintings, and it is believed that he left them unvarnished. Over time, however, conservators have added varnish layers, obscuring some of the inherent variations of the painted surface. Removing this varnish will reveal a truer, more subtly varied and animated surface with more of the original texture and tonal range. Conservators will also provide Enclosed Field with Ploughman with a historically accurate frame. 

The project will also afford the opportunity to study the materials and techniques of these two paintings to better understand them in relation to other late works by Van Gogh.

Carved and molded monumental stucco panel with figural scenes
Iran, Seljuk period
Twelfth century (one of three panels)
140” × 60” × 4” (353 × 151.5 × 9 cm)

Museum of Islamic Art (MIA), Doha, Qatar

One stucco panel

The Museum of Islamic Art houses one of three monumental stucco panels known from the Seljuk period, and the MIA panel is the only one currently scheduled for permanent public display. The panel is decorated with the “princely cycle,” detailing feasting, hunting, music-making and the enjoyment of nature in the traditions of Persianate art and culture. 

Over the years, scholars have studied the panel and its narrative extensively, but modern-day breakthroughs in conservation research methods have revealed glimpses of as-yet unknown details in the composition. Researchers have discovered partially hidden or heavily restored figures, a greater variety of polychrome pigments (many long obscured by previous restoration work) and new clues about methods used to construct the panel.

Conservators and curators will use the new data to provide a completely revised interpretation and presentation of this work. The conservation process will also reveal original and historic methods of construction and restoration.

Emiliano Di Cavalcanti
(Brazilian, 1897 – 1976)
Fazenda de Café (Coffee Farm), 1954
Oil on wood agglomerate
98 3/8” × 28 1/2” (250 × 715 cm)
© Emiliano Di Cavalcanti.
Photo: Pedro Ribiero

OCA Museum, São Paulo

Four paintings and one mural

The five works to be restored were created for the inauguration of Ibirapuera Park, designed by Oscar Niemeyer, as part of the IV Centennial celebration for the City of São Paulo in 1954. Tarsila do Amaral, Emiliano Di Cavalcanti and Clóvis Graciano – important Brazilian Modernists of the first half of the twentieth century – provided three large paintings on wood. Manuel Lapa, a Portuguese Modernist, executed a fourth painting and probably the mural as well.

In 2000, the mural was found behind a false wall constructed in the basement of the Lucas Nogueira Garcez Pavilion – commonly known as OCA. The massive dome-shaped structure derives its name from the Portuguese word “oca,” meaning “hut,” because it resembles a Native American dwelling.

Beyond their artistic relevance, these paintings and the mural are important cultural artifacts, reflecting the history of mid-century São Paulo. All of these works are part of the São Paulo City Art Collection.

Oil on canvas
30” × 17” (76 × 43.5 cm)

Sakıp Sabancı Museum, Istanbul

Osman Hamdi Bey (Turkish, 1842 – 1910)

Six paintings, c. 1870 – 1900

Osman Hamdi Bey, regarded for his leading role in introducing Western painting to the Ottoman world, is one of the most important artists, archaeologists, educators and museologists in Turkish history.

Osman Hamdi Bey turned to figurative painting and portrayed Ottoman life in a positive light, contrary to Western Orientalists. He also depicted Ottoman women in a manner dramatically different from that of other artists of the time – open to the outside world. 

Six Osman Hamdi Bey paintings from the Sakıp Sabancı Museum Painting Collection will be conserved. Before work commences, the paintings will be evaluated at the Sabancı University’s research center in order to determine optimal conservation techniques. The results from conservation and technical investigation will then be published in professional journals and disseminated to a wider audience through an exhibition at the Sakıp Sabancı Museum.

Jo-no-Mai (Noh Dance Prelude), 1936  
Painting, color on silk
91 3/4” × 55 5/8” (233 × 141.3 cm)
Important Cultural Property

The University Art Museum
Tokyo University of the Arts

Uemura Shōen (Japanese, 1875 – 1949)

Uemura Shōen, famed for her bijin-ga works portraying beautiful women, is one of the most significant female Japanese-style painters in Japan. She was the first woman to be awarded Japan’s prestigious Order of Culture, as well as the first woman painter in Japan to be invited to join the Imperial Art Academy. 

Part of her inspiration came from her interest in Noh plays and songs. One of these pieces, Jo-no-Mai (Noh Dance Prelude), is her greatest achievement. 

Jo-no-Mai has deteriorated significantly, as is evident from its peeling. Due to its fragile condition, it rarely travels to other museums. Conservation and restoration will concentrate on measures to preserve the painting from cracking and peeling, in order to stabilize its condition and prevent further loss of paint layers.

Otto Dix
(German, 1891 – 1969)
Redheaded Girl
(Rothaariges Mädchen), 1922
Watercolor, ink and pastel on paper
29 1/4” × 23 1/4” (74.3 × 59.1 cm)
The Ludwig and Rosy Fischer Collection 
Gift of the Estate of Anne R. Fischer
© 2015 Artists Rights Society (ARS),
New York / VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn

Virginia Museum of Fine Arts (VMFA), Richmond

Highlights from VMFA’s Ludwig and Rosy Fischer Collection

Sixty works on paper by German Expressionists

The Ludwig and Rosy Fischer Collection boasts exceptional examples of early twentieth-century drawing and printmaking from the German Expressionist movement, including sixty significant graphic works by Max Beckmann, Peter August Böckstiegel, Otto Dix, Conrad Felixmüller, Erich Heckel, Ernst Ludwig Kirchner and Emil Nolde. The Fischers assembled this vibrant body of work in Germany between 1905 and 1925. Brought to the United States in 1934, it became the last refugee collection of German Expressionism to enter a U.S. museum when it was acquired by VMFA in 2009. 

The collection has a strong emphasis on Die Brücke – “The Bridge” – a pivotal movement within German Expressionism. While a small portion of the collection has been treated, most of the works on paper have never been conserved and are not in a suitable state for display.

The goal of each treatment is to maximize the appearance of the work for display. This will involve stabilizing the design layer and paper support, including the removal of surface soil accumulation and improper acidic masking tapes, as well as reducing stains and discoloration.

Zen Lotus, 1970
Ink and color on paper

Gift of the Friends of the
Art Museum in honor of
Victoria Firth

Art Museum of the Chinese University of Hong Kong

Lui Shou-kwan (Lü Shoukun) (Chinese, 1919–1975) 

Thirty paintings

Lui Shou-kwan, the most innovative and influential painter in Hong Kong during the twentieth century, took the first steps toward what may be described as a distinct Hong Kong genre. Lui created an artistic identity for Hong Kong and contributed to the birth of the city’s rich artistic landscape. Although trained in the monochrome ink painting of the wen-ren (Literati) painters and the highly refined delicacy of the Court style, he nonetheless tried to free himself from the rigidity of classical tradition.

The paintings that will be researched and preserved were donated to the museum by the artist’s family. They and the museum recognize that the need to preserve Lui’s work is tantamount to preserving the artistic legacy of Hong Kong, which has been regarded only recently as a fertile ground for emerging artists.

In 1971, the British Government awarded Lui Shou-kwan an MBE (Most Excellent Order of the British Empire) for his distinguished contribution to the arts. Indeed, he strongly influenced a great number of painters. A groundbreaking exhibition is planned in 2015/2016 that will feature Lui’s paintings, conserved with support from the Art Conservation Project, and works by living artists whom he influenced.

Carl Otto Czeschka
(Austrian, 1878–1960)

The Wittgenstein Vitrine (for the 1908 Kunstschau), Wiener Werkstätte
(Vienna Workshops), 1908 (detail)

Silver, moonstone, opal, lapis lazuli, mother-of-pearl, baroque pearls, onyx,
marble, ivory, enamel, glass and
Macassar ebony veneers

Dallas Museum of Art
The Eugene and Margaret McDermott
Art Fund, Inc.

Dallas Museum of Art (DMA)

In recent years, the DMA has sought to complement its vast holdings of nineteenth and twentieth century silver by adding select works that provide an international context for American design of the last two centuries. In December 2013, the DMA acquired an exceptional example of Viennese silver: the Wittgenstein silver vitrine. This display case is a masterpiece, the largest and most lavish known example of the silverwork of the Wiener Werkstätte (Vienna Workshop), a guild of artists and artisans practicing in Austria in the early twentieth century.

The vitrine is made of solid silver encrusted with enamel, pearls, opal and other stones—it was intended to be as much a work of art as any precious object placed within it. Designed by Werkstätte member Carl Otto Czeschka and presented at the 1908 Vienna Kunstschau (Art Show), which was conceived by numerous artists around Gustav Klimt, this vitrine marks a crucial moment not only in the development of Viennese design but also in the evolution of early modern design in Europe and the Americas. The vitrine is the centerpiece of the exhibition Modern Opulence in Vienna: The Wittgenstein Vitrine.

The proposed treatment of this object, which includes technical study and restoration, will enable myriad educational opportunities for the Dallas/Fort Worth region, as well as the international curatorial and conservation fields.

No title, from the series
Le troisième angle
(The Third Angle), 1976
Gelatin silver print and ink on paper,
mounted on paper
40 2/5” x 27” x 1 3/5”
(102.5 x 68 x 4 cm)

© 2014 Artists Rights Society (ARS),
New York / BUS, Stockholm

Moderna Museet, Stockholm

Eva Klasson (Swedish, b. 1947)

Forty-three photographs

Eva Klasson was an early student of Christer Strömholm, whose photographs and methods have inspired many generations of Swedish photographers. Forty-three photographs from three Eva Klasson series—Le troisième angle (The Third Angle), 1976; Ombilic, 1977; and Parasites, 1978—were analyzed and conserved.

Le troisième angle (The Third Angle) is a series of remarkable self-portraits. At once sensual and disturbing, Klasson’s near abstract close-ups transform the human body into a billowing landscape.

The photographs were triaged according to condition and treatment needs. Conservators needed to remove the works from their acidic mounts, remove previous adhesives that caused planar distortion, attach them to archival supports and place them in museum-standard frames.

It was discovered that most of the works had previously detached from their mounts and had been re-attached with a wide range of adhesives, which in turn had failed or functioned poorly. The variety of adhesives used has proven to be the greatest challenge during the removal process and at the same time provides insight into the types of products the artist used, presumably spray mount, glue stick, double-sided tapes and white glue. Samples of these can potentially serve future research.

Twenty-seven of the conserved, newly framed photographs will be shown in the exhibition A Way of Life – Swedish Photography from Christer Strömholm until Today at the Moderna Museet. Sponsored by Bank of America Merrill Lynch, it is on view through February 2015.

Salvador Dalí (Salvador Domingo Felipe Jacinto Dalí i Domènech)
(Spanish, 1904 – 1989)
Man Ray (Emmauel Radnitzky)
(American, 1890-1976)
Retrato de Joella (Portrait of Joella),
Plaster sculpture, wood and glass case

© Salvador Dalí, Fundació Gala-Salvador Dalí, Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York 2014

© Man Ray Trust / Artists Rights Society (ARS), NY / ADAGP, Paris 2014

Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, Madrid

This painted sculpture was the result of the collaboration between the Surrealist artists Salvador Dalí and Man Ray. Man Ray fashioned the head, leaving Dalí to add the striking painted dream landscape to its surface.

Joella was produced when Dalí was deeply engaged in his “paranoid-critical method.” Formulated in the early 1930s by Dalí himself, the method helped artists tap into their subconscious minds through systematic irrational thought and a self-induced paranoid state. The Surrealists believed that, by inducing this state, they could forego all previous notions, concepts and understanding of reality in order to view the world in new and more unique ways. The sculpture is representative of Dali’s evolution toward mass media and the notion of society as spectacle.

Conservation will take eight months and will include multispectral image study, analytical study and a treatment phase. The treatment has two main purposes: The first is restoration, aimed at consolidating and fixing the layers of polychrome (multi-colored paint) and the materials of which the object was made. The second is conservation, focused on the presentation and exhibition of the work; it will involve the development of new systems for holding the elements that comprise the piece together so that it can be transported safely and exhibited in galleries.

Barco el Adelaida (The Adelaide Boat), 1966
Painting on cardboard

Colección de Arte Banco de la República

Museo de Arte del Banco de la República, Bogotá

Noé León (Colombian, 1907–1978)

Ten paintings

Noé León is widely regarded as the most respected primitivist painter in Colombia. He depicted the magic of the Caribbean and the bank of the Magdalena River in Colombia, using a style that diverged from the leading artistic trends of the 1970s and 1980s. León’s paintings were largely ignored for many years because their naïveté and poetic simplicity had fallen out of favor; however, a renewed respect for Primitivism today has led to a revival of interest in his work.

This series of works was commissioned by Noé León in the 1960s and was exported when the original owner left Colombia. Recently, the works were offered to the Banco de la República and returned to the country, due to their cultural importance. The ten paintings to be conserved represent a significant portion of the eighteen works by León in the museum’s collection.

The conservation program for the ten Noé León paintings will include technical studies and analysis; cleaning, consolidation and adhesion of layers; the removal of overpainting; and color integration. The process will enable the paintings to be exhibited and loaned, and it will also help researchers gain a better understanding of the artist’s working methods.

David Alfaro Siqueiros
(Mexican, 1896-1974)
The Apotheosis of Cuauhtémoc, Cuauhtémoc Revived, 1950-51
Pyroxylin on celotex, mineral pigments on calcium carbonate

© 2014 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / SOMAAP, Mexico City

Museo del Palacio de Bellas Artes (The Palace of Fine Arts Museum), Mexico City

Seventeen murals

The Palace of Fine Arts Museum in Mexico City, which celebrated its eightieth anniversary in 2014, has the greatest collection of Mexican murals in the world, viewed each year by thousands of visitors. The museum is deeply committed to caring for these murals, ensuring that they remain on view for future generations. 

Seventeen large-scale murals by Mexico’s masters of the medium will be conserved. Artists include David Alfaro Siqueiros, Diego Rivera, José Clemente Orozco, Rufino Tamayo, Roberto Montenegro, Manuel Rodríguez Lozano and Jorge González Camarena.

These murals reveal a wide range of styles, themes and ideologies within the Muralist movement, which helped to define the image of a unified Mexico in the early twentieth century as well as to circulate post-Revolution ideals. With support from the Bank of American Art Conservation Project, these ten murals will be carefully analyzed, researched, restored, conserved and cleaned. Once again, the museum’s collection will stand as the leading reference for Mexican mural painting, both within the country and around the world.

Wifredo Lam (Cuban, 1902–1982)
The Eternal Presence (An Homage to Alejandro Garcìa Caturla), 1944
Mixed media on jute

Nancy Sayles Day Collection of Modern Latin American Art

© 2014 Artists Rights Society (ARS),
 New York / ADAGP, Paris

Museum of Art, Rhode Island School of Design (RISD), Providence

Wifredo Lam is one of the remarkable figures of twentieth-century art. Born in Cuba of a Chinese father and a mother of African, Indian and European decent, Lam would develop an artistic style that was truly international. He combined elements of European Modernism, Latin American traditions and African mystique and iconography while maintaining the authenticity of the original components. Merging human, animal and plant forms in abstracted fashion, and taking clues from jungle scenery and Voodoo rituals, Lam produced angular forms that often resulted in menacing imagery.

After studying in Havana, Lam went to Madrid, where he received most of his training. In 1938, he settled in Paris and remained there for most of his career. When he returned home, he established friendships with other Cuban artists, including the composer Alejandro Garcìa Caturla, to whom he dedicated The Eternal Presence. Completed while Lam was in Haiti with surrealist poet André Breton, its themes are primitive and threatening, referencing Afro-Cuban culture, the Santería religion and Carl Jung’s texts on archetypes of the collective unconscious.

The painting sustained water damage while on loan to an exhibition in Paris soon after its purchase by RISD. The large-scale work is painted and drawn on loosely woven jute fibers, which are deteriorating. The conservation process includes replacement of its lining as well as the installation of a new stretcher.

Henri Matisse (French, 1869–1954)
The Swimming Pool (La Piscine), late summer 1952
Maquette for ceramic (realized 1999 and 2005); gouache on paper, cut and pasted, on painted paper; installed as nine panels in two parts on burlap-covered walls

The Museum of Modern Art, New York, Mrs. Bernard F. Gimbel Fund, 1975
© 2014 Succession H. Matisse, Paris / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York.

The Museum of Modern Art, New York

Henri Matisse: The Cut-Outs, an exhibition on view at the Museum of Modern Art from October 12, 2014 until February 8, 2015, was sparked by a multi-year initiative to conserve the monumental cut-out. This iconic work has been restored to its original color balance, height and configuration. Matisse’s largest and only cut-out composed for a specific room—the artist’s dining room in his apartment in Nice, France—The Swimming Pool depicts swimmers splashing in water and leaping through the air in a reduced palette of blue and white, fulfilling Matisse’s ambition to work at the scale of an environment. The artist said of this work, “I have always adored the sea, and now that I can no longer go for a swim, I have surrounded myself with it.”

After leaving Matisse’s dining room, The Swimming Pool was mounted on burlap fabric that decayed over time. A large component of the four-year conservation process involved painstakingly removing the cut-out panels from the old, discolored, acidic burlap backing by unweaving the fabric, thread by thread. Further efforts involved surface cleaning the white frieze and reducing discoloration in the blue forms. Acquired by the museum in 1975, The Swimming Pool had not been on view for more than twenty years, and has returned to the museum’s galleries as the centerpiece of the exhibition. The cut-out is shown in an architectural structure approximating Matisse’s dining room, with a doorway on one side, enabling visitors to experience the work as the artist originally envisioned it.

Hughie Lee-Smith
(American, 1915–1999)
Untitled, 1959–1960
Oil on Masonite 

Collection of the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History & Culture

© 1959 by Hughie Lee-Smith/Licensed by Visual Artists & Galleries Association, Inc. (VAGA), New York, NY

National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC), Washington, D.C.

Nine paintings

The National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC), scheduled to open in the spring of 2016, is the only national museum devoted to documenting African American history and culture. The NMAAHC’s Visual Arts Gallery and Collection is specifically dedicated to the works of American artists of African descent. By doing so, the museum will raise the profile of these important artists from the periphery of the American art canon to its center.

Since 2007, the NMAAHC has procured more than 300 works of art, including, paintings, sculptures, work on paper and mixed media, through both purchase and donation. Many of the most important artworks in the museum’s collection were stored, prior to their acquisition, in less-than-ideal environments, resulting in the need for substantial treatments to prepare them for long-term exhibition.

With support from the Art Conservation Project, The NMAAHC will conserve eight paintings and one work on paper, planned for long-term exhibition in the Visual Arts Gallery. Spanning the course of two centuries, the selected works were created by both noted and lesser-known artists, including Joshua Johnson, Purvis Young, Thelma Johnson Streat, Mavis Pusey, Hughie Lee-Smith, John Biggers, Earle Richardson, Thornton Dial Sr. and Ed Clark. The conservation process will comprise rehousing of the paintings, inpainting, consolidation, cleaning, varnishing, varnish removal, re-stretching, preservation through rehousing and/or mounting, frame restoration, stabilization and relining.

Gilbert Stuart (American, 1755–1828)
George Washington (Lansdowne Portrait), 1796
Oil on canvas

National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution. Acquired as a gift to the nation through the generosity of the Donald W. Reynolds Foundation.

National Portrait Gallery, Washington, D.C. 

George Washington was an extraordinary man living in a critical time for America. He was the commander of American military forces in the Revolution for American independence. Washington was also the first President of the United States. The Lansdowne portrait, an iconic and historically important work of art, serves as the centerpiece of the National Portrait Gallery’s permanent exhibition America’s Presidents and has been regarded as being as significant as the Declaration of Independence or the Constitution. Gilbert Stuart, one of the most talented artists of the early national period, painted the portrait in 1796, helping to define Washington’s image not as a king but as an elected officer. The painting was acquired by the Portrait Gallery in 2001 and is viewed annually by more than one million visitors from around the world.

Now more than 218 years old, this masterpiece requires critical conservation treatment and attention to ensure its proper presentation for generations to come. Not having had a full restoration in some time, there are now several layers of varnish on the surface of the painting; the black coat especially has become discolored and uneven. Eighteenth- and nineteenth-century blacks are very difficult to clean, but with modern techniques for removing varnish from sensitive paint surfaces, the Lansdowne portrait should be vastly improved with treatment.

The museum plans to offer education and public outreach programs during the conservation, including a portable learning station, gallery educators and an online video documenting the conservation and the value of safeguarding the nation’s national treasures.

William Hesthal (American, 1908-1985)
Railroad and Shipping, 1934

San Francisco Arts Commission, California

Coit Tower, Telegraph Hill (completed in 1933)

Twenty-seven murals from the Public Works of Art Project (PWAP)

After the renovation of the National Historic Landmark Coit Memorial Tower in San Francisco’s North Beach neighborhood, the 27 historic murals located inside the tower underwent restoration and conservation. These murals from 1934 are among the most significant in the United States, as they were created under the PWAP, the precursor program to the historic and highly influential Works Progress Administration (WPA) movement. These murals represent the largest assemblage of frescoes on the West Coast of the United States, inspired in part by the revival of this ancient painting technique by such Mexican muralists as Diego Rivera and José Clemente Orozco. The murals’ depictions of life in California—Central Valley agriculture, rail development, prospecting, civic life and urban activities, economic struggles, recreation and entrepreneurship—still resonate today.

The 25 Coit Tower muralists represent a diverse group both culturally and aesthetically, and include some of the most prolific and respected twentieth-century artists—Lucien Labaudt, Bernard Baruch Zakheim, Ralph Stackpole, Frederick Law Olmsted, Jr., José Moya del Pino, Victor Mikhail Arnautoff, Edith Hamlin, John Langley Howard and Jane Berlandina.

Magna Carta, 1215 
Manuscript on vellum, copied from a discarded draft from the negotiations at Runnymede between May and June 1215 and discovered in the Society of Antiquaries of London’s Black Book of Peterborough (MS60), a volume of thirteenth-century documents relating to Peterborough Abbey

Society of Antiquaries of London, England

Founded 1707, Royal Charter, 1751

Copies of Magna Carta

Magna Carta, 1215
Magna Carta, 1225

The Society of Antiquaries of London, founded in 1707, is one of the oldest independent learned societies in Britain. Its purpose, articulated by its Royal Charter of 1751, is “the encouragement, advancement and furtherance of the study and knowledge of the antiquities and history of this and other countries.” Today, the Society has one of the largest antiquarian libraries in the world, with materials dating from the tenth century. Among its treasures are three copies of Magna Carta: the 1215 charter in a late thirteenth-century Register of Peterborough Abbey; the 1225 third reissue in an early fourteenth-century collection of Statutes; and a unique roll copy of the 1225 reissue.

The 800th anniversary of the sealing of Magna Carta is in 2015. The Society will participate in a national program commemorating the anniversary with a six-week public lecture program about Magna Carta.

Both copies are on vellum and bound with other contemporary documents. The fourteenth-century collection of Statutes is in particularly poor condition; its original cover has been lost, with just a few scraps of the vellum wrapper remaining, and its pages are distorted. The Register is in better condition, with only a few repairs needed to fix the binding and tightly sewn folios that restrict the opening of the volume. Conservation on both will include repairs to the contents, rebinding and boxing for protection.

Thorn river, c. 1930s-1940s
Watercolor on paper

© Rock Art Research Institute, University of Witwatersrand, Johannesburg

Rock Art Research Institute, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa

Walter Battiss, (South African, 1906–1982)

Collection of tracings and redrawing in paint on cellophane paper

Walter Battiss was an artist and teacher. He was influenced and inspired by the style and subject matter of the San rock art of southern Africa. To study these paintings, Battiss traced and redrew several rock art sites, painting-in the colors of the images onto cellophane paper as he went along. Complete site coverage was not an aim for Battiss; he focused only on the panels that interested him. Several of the sites that Battiss documented have been damaged by the elements, such as dust and mineral deposits from water runoff or the direct impact of rain. As a result, Battiss’ work is important to rock art researchers and art historians who seek to reconstruct these panels.

The Walter Battiss collection of rock art materials was donated to the Rock Art Research Institute by Battiss’ son, Giles, in 2008. The Battiss collection consists of approximately 2500 pieces comprising a variety of materials, including tracings and drawing in paint on cellophane paper. Much of the material, particularly the cellophane, has become extremely brittle. The aim of the project is to conserve the cellophane copies, which number more than 100. Conservation will be primarily aimed at stabilizing and safely housing the materials.

The Bad Thief to the Left of Christ (interior, fragment of an altarpiece-wing painted on both sides), c. 1430
Mixed media on oak

Frankfurt am Main, Städel Museum

Städel Museum, Frankfurt

The Master of Flémalle (Belgian, 1375–1444)

The Bad Thief to the Left of Christ (interior, fragment of an altarpiece-wing painted on both sides), c. 1430

Saint John the Baptist (exterior, fragment of an altar-wing painted on both sides), c. 1430

Mixed media on oak

The Master of Flémalle is considered a leading light in early Flemish and Dutch painting. A panel by the artist, which has been in the Städel’s collection since 1840, is painted on both sides and is the only surviving fragment from a large altarpiece destroyed during an iconoclastic campaign in the late sixteenth century. Showing on one side the crucified thief standing at Christ’s left and on the other, a fragment of Saint John the Baptist, this painting is a highlight in the museum’s collection.

Conservation has been scheduled to be completed in time for the Städel Museum’s 200th anniversary in 2015. The museum has begun the process of conservation and restoration. The chief focus is the scene’s background, which consists of gold brocade. In its present state, this original relief structure is no longer discernible, due to the large number of material losses and invasive treatments that the painting has suffered during its history. The original gold ground is among the earliest known applications of the so-called pressed brocade technique in Netherlandish painting. This extremely sophisticated technique impressively simulates the effect of space and textile materiality.

The Book of Dimma, late eighth century
Manuscript on parchment, possibly produced at Roscrea Co. Tipperary
Copy of the four gospels with tenth and eleventh century additions

Trinity College Library Dublin

Four Medieval Irish manuscripts
500–900 C.E.

Gospel books were the most significant illuminated manuscripts produced in Irish ecclesiastical foundations between the late sixth and early twelfth centuries C.E. By the seventh century, they had developed a unique format, with decoration focused on evangelist portraits and the embellishment of the initial words and phrases of each Gospel. This characteristic arrangement was later adopted in the early ninth-century imperial scriptoria of the Emperor Charlemagne and subsequently throughout Europe—emphasizing the contribution of the Irish to Western art and learning during this time.

Although numerous copies of the Gospels were probably produced in Irish scriptoria of the period, fewer than thirty of the very early period survive in a whole or fragmentary state.

The Art Conservation Project will support the treatment, technical examination, digitization and art historical study of four of most important early medieval Irish manuscripts, Codex Usserianus Primus, The Garland of Howth (also known as the Codex Usserianus Secundus), the Book of Dimma and the Book of Mulling. These, along with the Book of Kells, the Book of Durrow and the Book of Armagh, make up the preeminent collection of early Christian book art in Trinity College Library Dublin.

Bowl with lotus petal pattern in
transmutation glaze, Changsha kiln
Tang Dynasty

Shanghai Museum

Ceramics from Qinglongzhen, Tang Dynasty (618–907 A.D.)

Qinglongzhen, located in Qinglong in the Qingpu District, Shanghai, was an important town in the Tang and Song dynasties. In 2010 and 2012, the Archaeology Department of the Shanghai Museum conducted an excavation at the Qinglongzhen site. They unearthed homes, workshops and gravesites from the Tang and Song dynasties, yielding an abundance of ceramics, including important examples of Yue and Changsha ware. The findings at this ancient site reveal that, as early as the Tang Dynasty, Shanghai had become an important harbor.

Many of these pieces are significantly damaged. Some of the ceramics to be restored, such as a Tang Dynasty paigu drum (waist drum) in brown glaze from the Changsha kiln, are extraordinarily rare. The collection also includes decorated bowls and ewers (pitchers) from the Changsha and Yue kilns; a floral-pattern basin from the Song Dynasty; and a vase from the Longquan kiln. These pieces are significant discoveries in the history of Chinese ceramics and also provide a vital window into the history of Shanghai.

Stone figure guarding a grave
Han Dynasty
(206 B.C. – 220 A.D.),
second century

Beijing Stone Carving Art Museum

Fourteen stone sculptures

The Beijing Stone Carving Art Museum is located at the site of Zhenjue Temple (Five Pagodas Temple), Haidian District, Beijing. Zhenjue Temple (pronounced zhēn jué si) was built in the Yongle Period (1403–1424) of the Ming Dynasty. It is the most complete and beautiful Vajrasana (Diamond Seat) pagoda in China, finished in 1473. It is an Indian-style temple that underwent major renovations in 1761 but was burned to the ground one hundred years later. Almost all wooden structures were burned, and only the Diamond Seat pagoda was left. In 1961, it was listed among China’s first group of important cultural relics to be protected, and the Beijing Stone Carving Art Museum was established in 1987.

The museum’s stone works to be conserved date from the second century to the nineteenth century and include a doorframe with a relief of a child playing with lotuses, a figure guarding a grave, Siamese animals, a lying horse, a tombstone and steles. These works show, to varying degrees, signs of weathering, fissuring, staining and scaling, as well as damage from pollution. Moreover, some of the works are marred by missing or detached parts or have been improperly repaired in the past. The artifacts at the museum represent an extensive history of stone carving in Beijing, and their conservation will be invaluable to the cultural heritage of China.

Portrait of Takami Senseki, 1837
Color (animal glue and pigment) on silk

Tokyo National Museum

Watanabe Kazan (Japanese, 1793–1841)

Three paintings

Portrait of Takami Senseki, 1837
Draft for Portrait of Master Tsubouchi, 1818
Portrait of Master Tsubouchi, 1818

Watanabe Kazan was a senior counselor who served the lord of the Tahara Domain at his residence in Edo (present-day Tokyo). He produced highly realistic portraits by utilizing skillful shading techniques. Undoubtedly influenced by Western painters, he established a unique style and enjoyed popularity in his own time.

Portrait of Takami Senseki is a masterpiece by Watanabe Kazan. The face is rendered in a highly realistic manner through the use of intricate brushwork and delicate shading, while the robe is rendered in broader, more expressive brushstrokes.

Creases are evident in the mounting and painting surface of the works, and the glue applied to the backing paper is deteriorating. The paint has also deteriorated, as evidenced by flaking and loss of pigment. The works require full conservation treatment, which will include the disassembly and complete replacing of the backing paper, so that they can be displayed to the public again.

Frederick McCubbin
(Australian, 1855 –1917)
The North wind, 1891
Oil on canvas on plywood

Felton Bequest, 1941 (1119-4)

National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne

Frederick McCubbin, with several well-known colleagues, established an artists’ camp that attracted many famous painters of the day, giving birth to a distinctive Impressionist landscape movement that became known as the Australian “Heidelberg School.” The North wind is an iconic work from this period.   

The North wind is too damaged to hang in the gallery and is currently on loan to the Office of the Premier of Victoria. It has been subjected to a failed attempt to clean its surface, followed by considerable overpainting. There is also evidence that the format of the picture has been modified and the original frame removed. Conservation will begin with historical scholarship and technical analysis to identify the extent and nature of materials to be removed from the original surface, followed by reconstruction of the damaged surface and reframing.

Queen Elizabeth I (Phoenix Portrait),
c. 1575,  Associated with Nicholas
Hilliard (English, c. 1547–1619)
Oil on panel

National Portrait Gallery, London

Four portraits

Queen Elizabeth I (Phoenix Portrait), c. 1575  
Queen Elizabeth I (Armada Portrait), c. 1588
King Edward VI, c. 1542
King Edward VI and the Pope, c. 1570

Three historically significant portraits from the Tudor period will be conserved. Among them are a portrait of Queen Elizabeth I associated with Nicholas Hilliard; a portrait of Edward VI by an unknown artist after Hans Holbein the Younger; and an unusual portrait of Edward VI and the Pope by an unknown artist. Technical analysis will also be undertaken in order to contextualize the production of a fourth painting, a version of the “Armada Portrait” of Elizabeth I.

Queen Elizabeth dates from the middle of Elizabeth’s reign, when the queen was in her early forties and the iconography of the “Virgin Queen” was well established. Once properly conserved, the painting will clearly display the skill of Tudor artists.

The Armada Portrait of Elizabeth I depicts the Tudor queen surrounded by symbols of imperial majesty against a backdrop representing the defeat of the Spanish Armada in 1588. The version in the National Portrait Gallery has been cut down at both sides, leaving just a portrait of the queen. Technical analysis will be used to contextualize its position in relation to other surviving versions of the composition.

King Edward VI was probably painted c. 1542, when Prince Edward was five years old. This painting is an early depiction of the young prince, demonstrating the production and dissemination of images of Edward at an early stage.

King Edward VI and the Pope was made during the reign of Elizabeth I to commemorate the earlier anti-papal and reforming policies of Edward VI. The painting depicts Henry VIII on his deathbed, pointing towards his successor Edward VI.

Portrait of Máire Nic Shiubhlaigh,
Leading Actress
, 1904
Oil on canvas

Abbey Theatre, Dublin

John Butler Yeats (Irish, 1839–1922)

Four portraits

Portrait of W.G. Fay, Leading Actor, 1904
Portrait of Frank Fay, Leading Actor, 1904
Portrait of Máire Nic Shiubhlaigh, Leading Actress
, 1904
Portrait of Annie Horniman, Benefactor of the Abbey Theatre, 1904

The Abbey Theatre, Ireland’s national theatre, was founded by W.B. Yeats and Lady Augusta Gregory. Since it first opened its doors in 1904, the theatre has played a vital and often controversial role in the literary, social and cultural life of Ireland.

These four portraits by John Butler Yeats were commissioned in 1904 by Annie Horniman, patron of the Abbey Theatre, and are significant to the history of Ireland’s national theatre and cultural heritage. They are also central to the Abbey Theatre’s art collection and depict subjects who were instrumental in the theatre’s inception.

These portraits have been on display to the public at the Abbey Theatre since 1904 but occasionally have been loaned to other museums. The Abbey portraits comprise a living, expanding collection that already charts some of the most significant theatre artists of the twentieth century, a collection that began when these four portraits were first commissioned. Conservation will commence in 2013, and installation will coincide with the 110th anniversary of the Abbey Theatre in 2014.

Ludwig Meidner (German, 1884–1966)
Revolution (Barrikadenkampf),
Reverse: Apokalyptische Landschaft,
Oil on canvas

© New National Gallery,
State Museums of Berlin

© Ludwig Meidner-Archiv,
Jüdisches Museum der Stadt
Frankfurt am Main

Neue Nationalgalerie
(New National Gallery – National Museums)

Ludwig Meidner was a German Expressionist painter and printmaker born in Bernstadt, Silesia. In 1912, he began a series of paintings that marked a radical departure in style and would make his reputation. His Apocalyptic Landscapes series anticipates the horrors of the First World War by several years. Produced rapidly during a heat wave, these are some of the purest Expressionist works, portraying the terror of the modern city in catastrophic settings.

The painting ranks among the highlights of the museum’s collection, and its most distinctive feature is that the canvas is painted on both sides. It is framed in such a way that both sides are visible to the viewer. The painting in its present condition is extremely fragile. However, because of its great popularity, it has continued to be exhibited in recent years. This has taken its toll on the work. Conservation will take between seven and ten months and will commence in October 2013.

Titian (Tiziano Vecellio)
(Italian, c. 1488–1576)
Ecce Homo, 1543
Oil on canvas

Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna

Titian’s celebrated Ecce Homo is signed and dated 1543 and was executed for the merchant Giovanni d’Anna in Venice. It was acquired by the Archduke Leopold Wilhelm in 1649 and became part of the Imperial collection; it is now a key work in the Kunsthistorisches Museum’s Italian collection.

The painting depicts the biblical scene when Roman governor Pontius Pilate shows the captured Jesus to the crowd that wants to crucify him, stating: "Behold the man!"

Until recently, conservation had not been possible, since it required more time and expert work than the daily routine of the museum’s restoration lab could allow. Now, all of the preliminary examinations, X-rays, infrared reflectography and cross-sections of pigments have been completed, and conservation can begin.

Rembrandt Harmenszoon van Rijn
(Dutch, 1606–1669)
Scholar in His Study, 1634
Oil on canvas

National Gallery in Prague

Scholar in His Study is the only known Rembrandt painting in the Czech Republic and a declared cultural monument. One of the iconic masterpieces of European Baroque art in general and Dutch art of the Golden Age in particular, it is on permanent display.

This imposing, life-sized depiction of an elderly scholar wearing an exotic robe is a testament to Rembrandt’s artistic ambitions and creative prowess during his early years in Amsterdam. Portrayed is the moment in which the scholar, absorbed in his thoughts, turns with a questioning glance to the viewer, whose appearance has interrupted him at his studies.

Due to its fragile condition, the painting has not left Prague in decades and cannot be loaned. The conservation will stabilize the condition and prevent further losses of paint layers. The thinning of yellowed varnish and removal of old retouching will restore the painting´s original splendor.

Gustave Courbet
(French, 1819–1877)
L’Atelier du peintre.
Allégorie réelle déterminant une
phase de sept années de ma vie
artistique et morale
(The Painter’s Studio: A Real
Allegory Summing Up Seven
Years of my Artistic and Moral Life)
Oil on canvas

Musée d’Orsay, Paris

Through his powerful realism, Courbet became a pioneering figure in the history of Modernism. Courbet was 36 years old when he exhibited his masterpiece, The Painter’s Studio, and in some respects it was the climax of his career.

Conservation of this historic canvas has begun with scientific imaging by the laboratory of the Centre de Recherche et de Restauration des Musées de France. The painting has a very yellow and thick varnish that must be removed, as well as deformations and tears. The entire restoration will be carried out in situ, visible to the public. In this way, visitors will be able to explore the restoration process.

Antonio Canova
(Italian, 1757–1822)
Napoleone come Marte
Pacificatore (Napoleon as
Mars the Peacemaker)
Bronze statue

National Art Gallery of Brera
(Associazione Amici di Brera e dei Musei Milanesi), Milan

The National Art Gallery of Brera opened in 1809. It is located in the Brera’s palace, which houses other cultural institutions, such as the Brera Library, the Astronomic Observatory, the Botanical Garden, the Lombard Institute of Science and Letters, and the Academy of Fine Arts.

Antonio Canova’s bronze statue, commissioned in 1807, represents Napoleon as the Roman god Mars. Conservation will begin with the investigation of the structural security of the statue’s marble pedestal and the substitution of the deteriorated and detached marble parts of the collar and the base. The marble will be cleaned, along with the bronze external and internal surfaces of the statue.

The entire restoration is taking place in situ, within a transparent glass fence designed to allow the public to view the process. 

Qur’an, late Umayyad Period, eighth century
Wood, leather, vellum, brown ink,
Hijazi script, 20–23 lines, 62 folios

Museum of Turkish and Islamic Arts, Istanbul

This eighth-century Qur’an was in a deteriorated state when the museum acquired it. Portions of the vellum, leather and wooden components are missing due to fire damage, and extant portions are marred by soot, dirt and dried mud as well as deformation and moisture stains resulting from water damage. The sudden rise in temperature due to fire caused the vellum to dry and contract; this has led to increased tension that has triggered disintegration and cracking, especially on the bindings. On the moving parts of the bindings, breakage and separation are particularly apparent. In addition, the paint and ink on the vellum has suffered significant deterioration. Restoration and conservation should require eight to ten months’ work.

The Vegetable Cart, c. 1947
Oil on board

Johannesburg Art Gallery (JAG), South Africa

Gerard Sekoto (South African, 1913–1993)

Ten paintings

Two Friends, 1941
Yellow Houses, 1940
Girl with an Orange, c. 1942
The Vegetable Cart, c. 1947
Village Gossip, c. 1942
Mine Boy, 1946
Beyond the Gate, c. 1945
Mother and Child, c. 1946
Street Bonhomie, c. 1944
Gossip in Eastwood, c. 1945

Gerard Sekoto, a South African artist and musician, is recognized as a pioneer of urban black art and social realism. The period between 1945 and 1947 is known as the artist’s “golden years.” The township of Eastwood and its surroundings provided inspiration for some of Sekoto’s most accomplished works, and he was able to capture the poignant and transient moments of everyday township life.

In 1947, he left South Africa to live in Paris under self-imposed exile. Sekoto’s paintings, which had often reflected socio-political commentary, became increasingly political in the 1970s. As the political situation in South Africa deteriorated, his commentary become more acerbic and direct and echoed his opposition to apartheid in his home country.

The ten Sekoto paintings that the JAG has restored all date from the 1940s and had suffered various degrees and forms of deterioration. Following their restoration, Sekoto’s vibrant colors can be seen once again.

Amilcar de Castro
(Brazilian, 1920-2002)
Frown (Carranca), 1978
Corten Steel
Credit: Collection Museu de
Arte Moderna de São Paulo
Gift of the Artist
Photograph: Romulo Fialdini

Museu de Arte Moderna de São Paulo, Brazil

Conservation and restoration of the Sculpture Garden artworks

The Sculpture Garden was created in 1993 and contains thirty works. Taken together, they provide a compelling glimpse into the work of Brazilian sculptors of the second half of the twentieth century.

To improve access to the Sculpture Garden and to increase visitation, the museum has embarked upon a twelve-month conservation project, which will include the installation of a new lighting scheme for the artworks, as well as nameplates and general signage for the garden and for each work. Under this initiative, the museum will also develop and publish a new Sculpture Garden brochure, which will be made available to all visitors. All phases of the project, including technical details, will be documented in videos and photographs and made available on the museum’s website.

Portrait of photographer
Guillermo Kahlo,
Frida Kahlo’s father
Gelatin-bromide silver
on paper
c. 1920

La Casa Azul (The Blue House) –
Frida Kahlo Museum, Mexico City

In La Casa Azul (The Blue House), Frida Kahlo, one of the most renowned Latin American artists, came into this world, lived and took her last breath. Fascinating not only for the collections and personal effects of two great artists – Kahlo and her husband Diego Rivera – the museum also provides a window into the lifestyles of affluent Mexican bohemians during the first half of the twentieth century.

In 2005, the museum began cataloguing the archive in La Casa Azul. While sorting through the material, a rich variety of documents emerged – letters, notes, telegrams, postcards, photographs, writings, posters, maps, blueprints, lithographs, drawings, sketches and newspaper clippings – covering a wide range of subjects.

A complete study of the photographic archive of Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera was concluded in 2010. Sixty-five percent were identified as needing conservation treatment. Conservation of 369 photographs will commence in July 2013 and will take six months.

Valentin de Boulogne
(French, 1591–1632)
Abraham Sacrificing Isaac
Oil on canvas

The Montreal Museum of Fine Arts

Valentin de Boulogne was the greatest French follower of Caravaggio and one of the outstanding artists of his time in Rome, where he spent his entire career. He died relatively young, at the peak of his fame, leaving few works. The genius and central importance of Valentin in the adoption, transmission and re-invigoration of Caravaggism in Rome in the 1620s and early 1630s is only now coming to be fully appreciated. This renewed interest is being met by a major exhibition to be on view at The Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Louvre, and Abraham Sacrificing Isaac will be featured at both venues. Due to its condition, this work has not appeared in exhibitions in more than forty years.

Based on technical findings and a thorough review of existing scholarly research, the MMFA’s conservation team will devise a protocol intended to restore the legibility of the composition and to bring the painting closer to the artist’s original intention.

Pharmaceutics, 1932  
Gift of the artist
© 2014 Banco de México
Diego Rivera Frida Kahlo
Museums Trust, Mexico
D.F. / Artists Rights Society
(ARS), New York

Detroit Institute of Arts

Diego Rivera (Mexican, 1886–1957)

Thirteen mural cartoons

Figure Representing the Black Race (Second Version)
, 1932
Pharmaceutics, 1932  
Vaccination, 1932
Manufacture of Poisonous Gas Bombs, 1932
Infant in the Bulb of a Plant, 1932
Figure Representing the Black Race (First Version), 1932
Figure Representing the White Race, 1932
Figure Representing the Yellow Race, 1932
Figure Representing the Red Race, 1932
Woman Holding Grain, 1932
Woman Holding Fruit, 1932
Agricultural Scene, 1932
Commercial Chemical Operations, 1932

The Detroit Institute of Arts (DIA) is home to Diego Rivera’s Detroit Industry fresco cycle, an iconic work of art. Rivera painted the cycle in 1932 and 1933 and considered it to be one of his finest works. The DIA will conserve the full-size cartoons Rivera made in preparation for the Detroit Industry murals, shown only twice since their creation, which will help visitors gain better insight into his artistic process.

Rivera gave thirteen cartoons to the DIA after the murals were complete, but between 1933 and 1978, they remained unseen, languishing in museum storage. They were discovered and carefully conserved, and custom mounts were created for their eventual display in the 1986 exhibition Diego Rivera: A Retrospective. Because of their fragile media – unfixed charcoal and chalk – the cartoons are not loaned to other museums and have only been displayed twice.

All thirteen cartoons will be unrolled and examined by museum conservators and curators. New digital photographs will be taken, which will allow for detailed study by scholars, and digital reproductions may be used by other museums that wish to represent the cartoons in exhibitions.

Simon Rodia
(American, b. Italy, 1879–1965)
Watts Towers of Simon Rodia,
Collection of seventeen structures
Steel rods wrapped in wire mesh
coated with cement and embedded
with shards of ceramics, bottles,
tiles, shells and scraps
Watts Towers of Simon Rodia,
State Historic Park/DCA,
City of Los Angeles
Photo © 2013 Museum Associates

The Los Angeles County Museum of Art

Constructed between 1921 and 1955 by Italian immigrant artist Simon Rodia, the Watts Towers, consisting of seventeen steel reinforced cement stucco sculptures, have become an iconic monument to the City of Los Angeles. The Watts Towers are registered as a National Historic Landmark and a State of California Historic Park.

In 1921, Rodia purchased the triangle-shaped lot and began to construct his masterpiece, which he called “Nuestro Pueblo” (meaning “Our Town”). For 34 years, Rodia worked single-handedly to build his towers without the benefit of machine equipment, scaffolding, bolts, rivets, welds or drawing board designs.

A comprehensive plan of day-to-day care and maintenance and long-term preservation of the Watts Towers involves monitoring the loss of decorative elements and the movement of cracks and fissures; monitoring the movement of the Towers and foundations and the environmental conditions at the site; and documenting the state of preservation and structural stability of the individual sculptures.

Untitled, c. early 1980s
Wood, paint
© 2014 Estate of
Louise Nevelson
/ Artists Rights Society
(ARS), New York

Miami Art Museum

Louise Nevelson (American, b. Ukraine, 1899–1988)

Dream House XLIII, 1973
Untitled, c. early 1980s

Louise Nevelson, born Leah Berliawsky, is one of the most important American sculptors of the twentieth century. Like many female artists of her generation, Nevelson achieved recognition later in her career – she was 42 before she had her first solo show, and her big break came at 60, when her sculptures were included in Sixteen Americans at The Museum of Modern Art, New York, in 1959.

Nevelson is best known for monochromatic wood assemblages made from street-salvaged remnants such as baseball bats, milk crates, driftwood, and picture frames, which she typically painted black or white. She was influenced by Marcel Duchamp’s sculptures made from found materials, and her aim was to reinvigorate found objects with a spiritual life.

While both sculptures are in structurally stable condition, their painted surfaces are unstable and fragile. Research is currently under way to determine treatment for the works.

Max Beckmann
(German, 1884–1950)
Blindman’s Buff, 1945
Oil on canvas
Minneapolis Institute of Arts
Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Donald Winston
© Artists Rights Society (ARS),
New York / VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn

Minneapolis Institute of Arts

Blindman’s Buff is the largest, and the most important, of Beckmann’s nine great triptychs. He painted the work by candlelight during his exile in Amsterdam between September 1944 and October 1945. In updating the triptych format, Beckmann brought the medieval Gothic altarpiece into the twentieth century.

Blindman’s Buff is the only triptych by Beckmann in which the three panels represent one continuous space. The painting is loaded with puzzles to decipher and conundrums to decode, which are all part of Beckmann’s commentary on the psychosocial emotional decadence of the modern world.

Since the MIA acquired the work in 1955, it has been on continuous view in the galleries, with the exception of only three loans to outside exhibitions. After conservation, the painting will be able to travel, and an upcoming exhibition on the evolution of German Expressionism will feature this masterpiece, critical towards understanding the development of this important chapter in modern art history.

One: Number 31, 1950, 1950
Oil and enamel paint on canvas
The Museum of Modern Art, New York.
Sidney and Harriet Janis Collection Fund
(by exchange)
© 2014 Pollock-Krasner Foundation /
Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

The Museum of Modern Art, New York

Jackson Pollock (American, 1912–1956)

Three paintings
Number 1A, 1948, 1948
One: Number 31, 1950, 1950
Echo: Number 25, 1951, 1951

This project includes the conservation of three iconic Jackson Pollock works in The Museum of Modern Art’s collection: Number 1A, 1948; One: Number 31, 1950; and Echo: Number 25, 1951. They date to the period when Pollock eschewed painting at the easel, brush to canvas, and chose instead to spread his canvas across the studio floor, standing and crouching over it as he dropped, dripped and poured his paint. Over time, these works have sustained wear, tear and discoloration associated with nearly constant display, as well as with travel to other institutions.

Number 1A, 1948 and One: Number 31, 1950 have both been restored in the past, and the effects of those early treatments have become evident over time. The Museum of Modern Art will conserve and restore these three works of art and bring them as close as possible to their original appearance, ensuring their availability for presentation and study long into the future. The project involves research, conservation treatment and scientific examination.

El Greco
(Doménikos Theotokópoulos)
(Spanish, b. Crete, 1541–1614)
The Penitent Magdalene,
c. 1580–1585
Oil on canvas

The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art
Kansas City, Missouri

The Penitent Magdalene is among El Greco’s most appealing works. The painting is frequently requested for national and international exhibitions but is not able to travel due to its fragile condition.

Despite the painting’s importance, it is in a poor state of preservation. In the last 400 years, various restoration campaigns have badly skinned off original paint throughout. The subject’s arm is severely damaged, with larger areas missing original paint. At some point in its history, the entire upper-right corner of the canvas was folded over the painting; it has since been folded back into plane, but scarring remains. It was most recently restored in 1949, and the restoration paint no longer matches the original. Moreover, much of the earlier paint skinning has not been properly addressed, and what should be smooth transitions of color look rough and abraded. The varnish applied in 1949 has discolored and dulls the vibrancy of the original colors.

Mount Sir Donald, 1889
Oil on canvas

New Bedford Free Public Library
New Bedford, Massachusetts

Albert Bierstadt (American, b. Germany, 1830–1902)

Three paintings

Sunset Light, Wind River Range of the Rocky Mountains, 1861
Salt Lick in Sunset Glow, c. 1886
Mount Sir Donald, 1889

Albert Bierstadt became internationally renowned for his beautiful and enormous paintings of the newly accessible American West, and his works found their way into public and private collections at staggeringly high prices for his time. His popularity and wealth rose to tremendous heights only to fade as the interest in the Boston School and Impressionism turned public taste away from his highly detailed landscapes suffused with golden light.

The three paintings to be treated are important to America’s cultural patrimony and to the southeastern Massachusetts community. All three paintings are in vital need of treatment to stabilize tearing of the embrittled canvases and remove layers of yellowed synthetic varnish.

Augustus Saint-Gaudens
(American, b. Ireland,
Diana, 1892/94
Copper sheets,
made in United States,
North and Central America

Philadelphia Museum of Art

The celebrated American sculptor Augustus Saint-Gaudens created Diana as the crowning ornament for the second Madison Square Garden building in New York City, designed by his equally renowned friend and frequent collaborator, Stanford White. Saint-Gaudens’s graceful rendering of the Roman goddess of the hunt makes reference to classical sculpture, but her athletic frame and elongated proportions are strikingly modern.

The figure was originally gilded and fitted with a billowing drapery to catch the wind. On her 300-foot-high tower, Diana became the highest point in the city and was the area’s first statue to be illuminated at night by electric lighting. Diana remained a New York landmark until the structure was torn down in 1925, and the sculpture was acquired by the Philadelphia Museum of Art in the early 1930s.

Restoration of Diana will begin with analyzing and correcting the mechanical instability of the sculpture’s base. Then, surface deformations and corrosion on the sheet copper will be removed, and the statue will be gilded with gold leaf, returning the goddess to her original glory.

Qianlong Great Buddhist Canon
(Qing Dynasty) Carved Woodblock
Conservation Project

Capital Museum, Beijing 

The Qianlong Great Buddhist Canon is a Tripitaka compiled during the reign of Emperor Qianlong in the Qing Dynasty (1735–1796). A Tripitaka contains systematically assembled Buddhist sutras (scriptural narratives). Tripitaka means “three baskets,” from the way in which it was originally recorded; the text was written on long, narrow leaves, which were sewn at the edges and then grouped into bunches and stored in three “baskets” of teachings.

The Qianlong Great Buddhist Canon is composed of 724 cases carved on 79,036 woodblocks. Each case has ten volumes, for a total of 7,240 volumes. It is a complete collection of 1,669 sutras, teachings, treatises and other literature.

Twenty to thirty percent of the carved woodblocks have deteriorated and are in need of conservation. After conservation, a special collection of the woodblocks and resulting prints will be on display in the museum. It is a treasure to China and to the world’s Buddhist community.

Jian (Water Vessel), Dragon Pattern
c. early 6th–5th century B.C., Bronze

Shanghai Museum

A jian is a water vessel used for bathing and for storing water and ice. Jians were commonly used during the Spring and Autumn period (770–476 B.C.) and the Warring States period (475–221 B.C.) Some jians were elaborately decorated, inlayed with turquoise and engraved with subtle decorative patterns. A jian might also be adorned with animal-shaped feet and exquisitely crafted handles formed in the shape of a dragon.

The Shanghai Museum has a particularly strong collection of ancient bronzes, and this jian will be a significant addition, permanently and prominently displayed. However, this large bronze jian had been shattered into pieces when it was unearthed. Conservation will begin with piecing the fragments of the vessel together and patching the areas for which parts have been lost. After this, the conservator will repair and trim the dragon pattern meticulously to restore its original glory.

Kanô Eitoku
(Japanese, 1543–1590)
Hinoki-zu (Cypress Tree)
Eight-fold Screen
Azuchi-Momoyama period (16th century)
Ink on paper covered with gold leaf

Tokyo National Museum

This folding screen by Kanô Eitoku, the leading Japanese artist of his day and one of the most influential painters, is a highly celebrated work representative of the monumental polychrome-and-gold painting style of the Azuchi-Momoyama period (1573–1615). It became a Treasure of the Imperial Collection.

It is believed that the paintings on these screens were originally sliding-door paintings in the Hachijônomiya residence, which was completed in 1590. They are therefore thought to be a very late work by Kanô Eitoku. Against a backdrop of gold-leafed ground and clouds, the powerful form of a cypress tree fills the screen.

The Japanese government has designated this work as a National Treasure. After thorough analysis of the current condition of the screen, the project will be submitted to the Commissioner for Cultural Affairs. Upon approval, it will be treated to prevent the peeling of paint, gold leaf and paper. It will then be cleaned, retouched, patched and reframed.

Attributed to Chen Rong
(Chinese, c. 1200–1266)
Five Dragons, Southern Song Dynasty
13th century, China
Traditional Chinese handscroll format
Ink and light color on paper

Tokyo National Museum

Chen Rong was a poet and painter who lived during the end of the Southern Song Dynasty. He passed the Imperial civil-service examination in 1235 and subsequently held a number of official state posts. After years of frustration with political life, he began to paint dragons with India ink. Five Dragons carries a typical seal at the end of the roll and is thus said to be a work by Chen Rong. The painting came to Japan during the fifteenth century, and the Japanese government has designated the work as an Important Cultural Property.

Upon restoration, the handscroll will be displayed in the Tokyo National Museum’s Asian Gallery, currently under renovation.

Mughal Emperor Akbar’s Court
Anvar-I Suhayli, c. 1575
Manuscript Illustrations
Tempera on handmade paper

Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya (CSMVS) Museum, Mumbai

The Panchatantra, a compilation of five books of charming animal fables, is believed to have originated in India around the fourth century and was translated and enriched over the centuries by a variety of civilizations. The Persian version in the CSMVS – known as Anvar-I Suhayli – was created in the second half of the sixteenth century by the court of the Mughal emperor Akbar, possibly for his young son, and contains more than two hundred illustrations.

The folios, badly burned in the nineteenth century, were salvaged, and the surviving illustrations and fragments were mounted into an album. The album was later purchased at a sale at Sotheby’s in London in 1938 and bequeathed to the CSMVS in 1973.

Conservation will begin with comparative analysis and research on similar illustrated texts in order to mount all the fragments in the correct format and to reintegrate the text and illustrations. Work will then continue with the restoration of all of the illustrations.

William Charles Piguenit
(Australian, 1836–1914)
The Flood in the Darling 1890

1895 (detail pictured)
Oil on canvas

Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney

Few canvases in Australia match the cinematic aplomb of The Flood in the Darling 1890, Piguenit’s best-known work. This painting has gained iconic status due to the sparkling sweep of the composition; its sense of a scene observed firsthand and faithfully reported; and the dazzling manner of its application, leading to near-miraculous evocations of water and sky.

Tasmanian by birth, printmaker, photographer and painter Piguenit traveled widely and worked prolifically, understanding nature as a spectacle both beautiful and cruel. His 23 years as a draftsman with the Colonial Survey Department served him in good stead when he began his second career as an artist. In 1872, he left his job and became Australia’s first native-born professional painter and a major artist working in the nineteenth-century Romantic landscape tradition, capturing the form and spirit of the vast Australian landscape. After his death, his unsold works were destroyed, as stipulated in his will.

This painting requires cleaning and repairs to the canvas, along with a major restoration of the frame.

Leonardo di ser Piero da Vinci
(Italian, 1452–1519)
Codex Trivulzianus
(Codice Trivulziano),
c. 1487–1490
Pen and ink on paper

Castello Sforzesco, Milan

The Codex Trivulzianus, one of the most important works in the Castello Sforzesco’s collection, is an early manuscript by Leonardo da Vinci. It contains long lists of words in Italian and Latin that the artist copied from authoritative lexical and grammatical sources in an attempt to broaden his linguistic knowledge. Also within the manuscript are portraits and studies of military and religious architecture, including plans for a crossing-dome for Milan Cathedral. Although the document originally contained 62 sheets, only 55 remain.

Due to its fragile condition, the Codex Trivulzianus is not typically on view to the public. Utilizing sophisticated technology, conservators are creating a digital reproduction of the manuscript, allowing visitors to browse the document using state-of-the-art touch screens that will be positioned in key points throughout the castle.

Bartolomé Esteban Murillo
(Spanish, 1617–1682)
Three Boys, c. 1670
Oil on canvas

Dulwich Picture Gallery, London

Although he is best known for his religious works from the Baroque period, Bartolomé Esteban Murillo also produced a considerable number of genre paintings. These lively, realist portraits of flower girls, street urchins and beggars constitute an extensive and appealing record of everyday life. Considered somewhat sentimental today, his genre scenes nevertheless represented a new way of relating to and portraying this subject matter. Murillo’s style was imitated throughout Spain and its empire, and he was the first Spanish painter to achieve fame outside the Spanish realm.

Three of these works – The Flower Girl, Invitation to a Game of Argolla and Three Boys – are widely recognized as the most important Murillo paintings in the UK and are the centerpiece of the Dulwich Picture Gallery collection. These canvases, all masterpieces of seventeenth-century Spanish painting, had a profound effect on the appreciation of Spanish art in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.

The works require full conservation and cleaning prior to exhibition.

Ferdinand Hodler (Swiss, 1853–1918)
Die Wahrheit (The Truth), 1902
Oil on canvas

Kunsthaus Zürich
Museum for Modern Art, Zürich

Ferdinand Hodler was one of the most significant Swiss painters of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. His work evolved to combine influences from several genres, including Symbolism and Art Nouveau, and he eventually developed a style that he called Parallelism, characterized by groupings of figures symmetrically arranged in poses that suggest ritual or dance.

Die Wahrheit (The Truth) (First Version) was painted in 1902. The second, far more stylized version, also in the Kunsthaus collection, followed in 1903 for the exhibition at the Vienna Secession in 1904.

Conservation and restoration work chiefly will involve measures to preserve the painting, which is cracking and peeling, in order to maintain its current condition and prevent further damage.

Jacopo Robusti Tintoretto (Italian, 1519–1594)
Il Paradiso (Paradise), 1588
(detail pictured)
Oil on canvas

Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza, Madrid

Tintoretto is best known for his monumental religious paintings. One of the great exponents of Mannerism during the Renaissance, Tintoretto was highly influential in his time; his impact on El Greco’s work is particularly notable. Tintoretto is considered the second-most important sixteenth-century Venetian painter, after Titian.

Paradise is one of the most significant paintings in the Thyssen’s collection. The work was Tintoretto’s submission for a competition to replace the destroyed fresco on the main wall of the Sala del Maggior Consiglio of the Palazzo Ducale in Venice. After Tintoretto was awarded the commission in 1588, he began work on a much larger painting based upon the smaller version now housed in the Thyssen.

The conservation of Tintoretto’s preliminary version of Paradise will be the first project undertaken as part of the Thyssen’s Twentieth Anniversary celebration. The entire conservation process will be executed in situ – for the first time, a Spanish museum will allow the general public to view a restoration project from start to finish, in real time.

Simplicia Cabinet, Delft,
The Netherlands, 1730

Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam

This exceptional cabinet was the showpiece of the Collegium Medico-Pharmaceuticum in Delft. The exterior is veneered with the finest olivewood and embellished with gilt bronze mounts. Inside is a luxurious mini-apothecary with Delftware paintings and gilded sculptures. Behind the display, the cabinet’s one hundred concealed drawers contain hundreds of medicinal ingredients, a reference for apothecary students. The cabinet houses 92 apothecary jars from Delft as well as more than one hundred glass bottles containing an extensive collection of pharmaceutical samples typical of an eighteenth-century apothecary. The cabinet will be on view in the new Rijksmuseum in 2013.

The cabinet and its integrated display of Delftware, paintings, sculptures and marquetry will be conserved and cleaned. The well-preserved pharmaceutical ingredients will be studied and catalogued in cooperation with the University of Amsterdam.

Nimrud Ivories, 9th–7th century B.C.

Iraqi Institute for the Conservation of Antiquities and Heritage

The Nimrud ivories are carvings that illustrate the beliefs and stories of the ancient Assyrian civilization. Art historians believe the ivories were brought to Nimrud from Syria and Egypt to decorate furniture and other items in Assyrian royal palaces. Excavated during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, the Nimrud ivories are exquisite treasures of the ancient world and works of great significance to the cultural heritage of Iraq.

Treatment will take place at the Iraqi Institute for the Conservation of Antiquities and Heritage (Iraqi Institute), located near the 800-year-old citadel of Erbil in northern Iraq. American, Iraqi and other international conservators, archaeologists and heritage professionals have been collaborating to help Iraqis redevelop conservation and heritage-management skills. This important and high-profile conservation project, to be executed in partnership with the U.S. Department of State, will enable the display of the famous Nimrud ivories, while at the same time provide training for Iraq’s burgeoning conservation professionals.

Urartian Jewelry Collection
Urartian Bracelets, 9th–7th century B.C.

Rezan Has Museum, Istanbul

Rezan Has Museum’s Urartian jewelry collection is the most comprehensive of its kind in Turkey. It contains nearly 1,000 items, including hairpins, diadems, hair coils, earrings, rings, necklaces, medallions, pectorals, amulets, armlets, bracelets, anklets, fibulæ and buttons. Many of the items are decorated with religious or magical motifs, reflecting the religious beliefs and traditions of Urartian society.

Items of clothing and jewelry have always provided an indication of social status, especially in societies shaped by religion. It is also likely that the preponderance of religious decorations on Urartian jewelry reveals an ancient belief that such representations held divine power to protect the wearer from evil and to bring luck, prosperity and happiness.

Conservation of items in this collection will include cleaning, repairing cracks, finishing, stabilization and overall preservation.

Lovers, 1929
Oil on canvas

© 2014 Artists Rights Society (ARS),
New York / ADAGP, Paris

Tel Aviv Museum of Art

Marc Chagall (French, born Belarus, 1887–1985)

The Musician with the Red Beard, 1919
Jew with Torah, 1925
Lovers, 1929
The Wailing Wall, 1932
Solitude, 1933

Marc Chagall, one of the most important and influential artists of the twentieth century, created his own style of modern art often based on Eastern European Jewish folk culture. He fused fantasy, nostalgia and religion together to create otherworldly images.

Chagall, one of very few artists whose work was exhibited at the Louvre in his or her lifetime, was also deeply involved in the establishment of the Tel Aviv Museum of Art, playing an active role in building its first collections. Chagall donated his painting Jew with Torah, which became the initial work of art the museum acquired, as well as The Wailing Wall and Solitude.

The conservation project will begin with analysis of and research on the works mentioned above, along with The Musician with the Red Beard and Lovers. After restoration, all the works will be on permanent display.

El hombre en el cruce de los caminos
(Man at the Crossroads)
c. 1933 (detail)

Museo Diego Rivera Anahuacalli,
Mexico City

Diego Rivera (Mexican, 1886–1957)

Three sketches from El hombre en el cruce de los caminos (Man at the Crossroads), c. 1933
One sketch from Agua, origen de la vida en la tierra (Water, Origin of Life on Earth), c. 1949

The Anahuacalli Museum holds an important collection of 17 of Diego Rivera’s sketches for his murals; four are under conservation through the Art Conservation Project. Between 1922 and 1953, Rivera painted murals throughout Mexico, as well as in San Francisco, Detroit and New York City. His large wall works helped to establish the Mexican Mural Renaissance.

Among the sketches in the collection are those for the controversial Man at the Crossroads, which the painter began for Rockefeller Center in 1933; the piece was destroyed because it contained a portrait of Vladimir Lenin. The museum also houses a sketch for Water, Origin of Life on Earth, which Rivera painted for the water distribution chamber of the Dolores Waterworks of the Lerma River in Chapultepec, Mexico City. This is a sketch of the wall that portrays the builders and engineers of the Dolores Waterworks.

All of these sketches have unique historical value. After conservation, the museum will be able to exhibit the complete collection.

Victor Meirelles de Lima
(Brazilian, 1832–1903)
Moema, 1866

Museu de Arte de São Paulo

Victor Meirelles studied art in Paris but painted most of his works in and around his native Brazil. His religious and military paintings helped him become one of the most popular and celebrated Brazilian painters. Meirelles’ The first Mass in Brazil was the first Brazilian painting to be accepted in the Salons of Paris and is one of the best-known paintings in his native country. It has been reproduced in practically every Brazilian elementary-school history book.

Moema is considered an iconic depiction of Indian romance, showing the abandonment of an Indian woman by her Portuguese lover. The character Moema appeared in the epic poem Caramuru (1781), by Brazilian Augustinian friar Santa Rita Durão, and became an important symbol of Brazilian culture.

The painting requires full conservation and stabilization.

George Washington
(Vaughan-Sinclair portrait), 1795
Oil on canvas

National Gallery of Art,
Washington, D.C.

Gilbert Stuart (American, 1755–1828)

Up to sixteen historical portraits including:
Stephen Van Rensselaer III, 1793/1795
Lawrence Reid Yates, 1793/1794
Captain Joseph Anthony, 1794
George Washington (Vaughan-Sinclair portrait), 1795
Abigail Smith Adams (Mrs. John Adams), c. 1800/1815
John Adams, 1800/1815
Commodore Thomas Macdonough, 1815/1818
Joseph Coolidge, 1820

The National Gallery of Art (NGA) is fortunate to have in its collection 45 works by the pre-eminent portraitist of the Federal period, Gilbert Stuart. Most renowned for his famous images of George Washington, Stuart painted virtually all of the important political figures and notable families of his time. No artist has provided a more complete or more vivid visual record of the men and women of the early republic.

Aside from a core group of about fifteen portraits, the remaining works have not undergone recent conservation treatment. These works are compromised by a variety of issues that preclude their being seen to best advantage. Conservation will begin with the restoration of eight of these Stuart portraits.

Jackson Pollock
(American, 1912–1956)
Sea Change, 1947

© 2014 The Pollock-Krasner Foundation/
Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

Seattle Art Museum

Sea Change is from a breakthrough group of early transitional works that Jackson Pollock created in 1947, which led away from figuration toward a fully abstract application of his drip technique. Its title, like others in this thematic grouping, comes from Shakespeare’s The Tempest and lends extra narrative content to the composition, suggesting an impending meteorological event.

The aesthetic character of this important painting was altered by the application of a restorer’s varnish coating in the 1970s. Conservation will begin with high-resolution digital photography of the painting and analytical research to determine the nature and solubility of the existing coating. Work will continue with testing of the adhesion of the pebbles, research into the protective effect of coatings on aluminum paint and the removal of the existing coating. Finally, the painting will be protectively framed.

Pablo Ruiz Picasso
(Spanish, 1881–1973)
Woman Ironing
(La repasseuse), 1904

© 2014 Estate of Pablo Picasso/
Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum,
New York

Perhaps no other artist in the early twentieth century depicted the plight of the disenfranchised with more sensitivity or emotion than Pablo Picasso. Woman Ironing (La repasseuse), spring 1904, painted during his pivotal Blue Period (1901–04), is recognized as one of Picasso’s quintessential images of the working poor.

A study of Woman Ironing completed in 1989 revealed the presence of an earlier painting, an apparent portrait of a man, beneath the surface of this Blue Period composition. Limited access to sophisticated technology has impeded subsequent research on the underlying portrait, until now. The current project will involve a comprehensive study of the earlier portrait, incorporating the most advanced imaging techniques, scientific analysis, historical research and comparative viewings of related works in an effort to identify the male subject and enhance existing scholarship on Picasso’s working methods and materials. Conservation treatment of the painting is another central component of the project and will include overall cleaning and editing of old and mismatched restorations.

Cone Yak, 1990
Painted steel

© 2014 John Chamberlain/
Artists Rights Society (ARS),
New York

The Menil Collection, Houston

John Chamberlain (American, 1927–2011)

Conservation of Twelve Sculptures
Untitled, c. 1964
Cat-Bird Seat, 1966
Nanoweap, 1969
Clytie II (Only Women Bleed ... for Alice), 1976
Rooster Starfoot, 1976
Artur Banres, 1977
Kunststecher, 1977
Folded Nude, 1978
Elixir, 1983
Wall Sculpture, 1983
American Tableau, 1984

American sculptor John Chamberlain is known internationally for his long career of creating vibrantly colored sculptures from crushed, twisted and bent automobile parts. While also experimenting with a variety of sculptural media, as well as with film and painting, he greatly impacted generations of artistic movements, including Minimalism and Pop Art, and continued to create inventive work until his recent death.

The Menil has amassed one of the most extensive collections of Chamberlain’s work, including twelve large-scale sculptures that have never received a thorough condition survey or treatment. Conservation will address the complex deterioration issues inherent in works made from industrial materials, such as flaking automotive paint, metal fatigue and corrosion, broken welds and missing or damaged parts.

Hashem el Madani
(Lebanese, b. 1928)
Studio Shehrazade
Saida, Lebanon, 1970s
A woman and her son,
Lebanese immigrants
from Africa

Arab Image Foundation, Beirut

Hashem el Madani
(Lebanese, b. 1928)
Studio Shehrazade

Latif el Ani
(Iraqi, b. 1932)

The AIF features a collection of more than 300,000 photographs generated through artist- and scholar-led projects throughout the world. Latif el Ani established the photography department and official news agency of Iraq’s Ministry of Information. His photographs document various modes of living (agriculture, industry, society) in different regions of Iraq. Hashem el Madani's unique collection documents more than a half century of life in the Lebanese port city of Saida, which has experienced major political and societal shifts.

Project: Archive, clean and digitize two collections comprising more than 1,000 photographs.

Jacopo Carucci Pontormo
(Italian, 1494–1557)
Road to Calvary
Lunette from the fresco cycle of The Passion
Fresco (transferred)

Monastero della Certosa del Galluzzo, Florence

A Carthusian monastery originally commissioned in 1341, it has been plundered over the centuries but still houses important works of Renaissance art.

Project: One of four works of art to be restored through the Fondazione Palazzo Strozzi and loaned to the exhibition Bronzino, Artist and Poet at the Court of the Medici at the Palazzo Strozzi, Florence.

Peter Paul Rubens
(Flemish, 1577–1640)
Cain Slaying Abel, 1608–1609
Oil on panel

© The Samuel Courtauld Trust
The Courtauld Gallery, London

The Courtauld Institute of Art, London

An independent college of the University of London for the study of art history and conservation, it is also home to one of the world’s finest small museums.

Project: Conservation of Rubens’ painting Cain Slaying Abel, which was bequeathed to The Courtauld by Count Antoine Seilern as part of the Princes Gate Collection in 1978. It is one of the most important works by the artist in The Courtauld’s world-class collection of Rubens’ paintings.

Agnolo Tori di Cosimo di Mariano Bronzino
(Italian, 1503–1572)
Crucified Christ, c. 1540
Oil on panel

Musée des Beaux-Arts, Jules Chéret, Nice

Opened in 1928 in a former mansion built in 1878, the museum houses a collection of art spanning the past four centuries.

Project: One of four works of art to be restored through the Fondazione Palazzo Strozzi and loaned to the exhibition Bronzino, Artist and Poet at the Court of the Medici at the Palazzo Strozzi, Florence.

Winged Victory of Samothrace
Greek, 190 BC
Marble sculpture

© 2006 Musée du Louvre /
Daniel Lebée et Carine Deambrosis

Musée du Louvre, Paris

The Louvre Palace dates back to the late 12th century. Converted into a museum in 1793, its vast, unrivaled display of 35,000 works spans the globe and millennia.

Project: Winged Victory of Samothrace, an icon of Western art, has not been fully restored since the late 19th century. There are three main goals to the conservation of the sculpture: to restore the original hue of the marbles, in order to regain the contrast between the white marble of the statue and the darker base shaped like a ship; to dismantle and reassemble the 32 blocks of the ship and the statue for an enhanced presentation; and to considerably improve the museography surrounding the sculpture.

Pablo Ruiz Picasso
(Spanish, 1881–1973)
Woman in Blue, c. 1901
Oil on canvas

© Succession Picasso /
DACS, London 2014

Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, Madrid

The Museum, which features modern and contemporary works by artists from Spain and other countries, opened its doors in 1990 in a building designed by Francesco Sabatini in the 18th century.

Project: One of the most important Picasso paintings in Spain, this work was painted at the beginning of his Blue Period. It is a highlight of the collection of the Reina Sofia Museum because it is the only work from the Blue Period that is usually exhibited there.

Daniel Maclise
(Irish, 1806–1870)
The Marriage of Strongbow and Aoife, 1854
Oil on canvas

National Gallery of Ireland, Dublin

The National Gallery of Ireland was founded in 1854 and opened ten years later. It houses an extensive collection of Irish paintings and European fine art.

Project: Painted in 1854, when Maclise was at the height of his powers, the painting depicts the 12th-century marriage of Aoife, the daughter of the acquiescent Leinster King, Dermot MacMorrough, and Strongbow, the Norman warrior, after the fall of Waterford. Maclise’s picture, which will undergo full-scale conservation, is one of the National Gallery of Ireland’s best-known and most celebrated works.

Agnolo Tori di Cosimo di Mariano Bronzino
(Italian, 1503–1572)
Portrait of Lorenzo Lenzi
c. 1527–1528
Oil on panel

Pinacoteca del Castello Sforzesco, Milan

Located in a castle dating to the late 14th century, the gallery houses more than 1,500 works of Italian Renaissance art, of which 230 are on view.

Project: One of four works of art to be restored through the Fondazione Palazzo Strozzi and loaned to the exhibition Bronzino, Artist and Poet at the Court of the Medici at the Palazzo Strozzi, Florence.

Portrait of Catherine the Great
in her Coronation Robes
, 1762
Oil on canvas

The State Hermitage Museum,
St. Petersburg

Virgilius Eriksen, (Danish, 1722–1783)

Portrait of Catherine the Great
in her Coronation Robes
, 1762
Oil on canvas

Portrait of Grigory Orlov in Roman Armour
c. 1766–1772
Oil on canvas

Portrait of Alexey Orlov in Turkish Dress
c. 1766–1772
Oil on canvas

Begun with the construction of the Winter Palace in 1762 and declared a state museum in 1917, the collection includes more than three million works of art and artifacts from around the world.

Extensive research and conservation including cleaning, stretcher replacement, canvas and paint replacement, removal of overpainting, varnish regeneration and retouching.

Scene in a Forest (Moritzburg Ponds) (recto)
c. 1910
Oil on canvas

The Städel Museum, Frankfurt

Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, (German, 1880–1938)

Scene in a Forest (Moritzburg Ponds) (recto)
c. 1910
Oil on canvas

Nude in the Studio
c. 1910
Oil on canvas

Founded in 1815 as a civil-law foundation, the Städel Museum is the oldest and most prominent museum foundation in Germany. Its collection exhibits outstanding European paintings from the 14th century to the present day, works on paper and sculptures.

Project: Dating from the artist’s Brücke period in Dresden (1905–1911), the rare, newly discovered two-sided canvas poses a unique conservation challenge, as the condition of each side requires different treatment. Extensive research will precede the restoration and conservation process.

Agnolo Tori di Cosimo di Mariano Bronzino
(Italian, 1503–1572)
Venus, Cupid and Envy
c. 1550
Oil on panel

Szépmuvészeti Múzeum, Budapest

Opened in 1906, the eclectic neoclassical style building houses a collection of more than 100,000 works including all periods of European art.

One of four works of art to be restored through the Fondazione Palazzo Strozzi and loaned to the exhibition Bronzino, Artist and Poet at the Court of the Medici at the Palazzo Strozzi, Florence.

Ndebele Tribe
(South African)
Isiphephetu (Beaded Aprons)
c. 1950s–1980s
Beads and textile

Wits Art Museum, Johannesburg

Opened in 2011, the museum houses the University of the Witwatersrand’s collection of more than 9,000 works of African art, which has been built up over seven decades and spans the continent and centuries of history. Wits was the first institution in South Africa to collect African art objects both for their ethnographic interest and for their aesthetic value.

Project: The conservation of a group of 25 isiphephetu (beaded aprons) created from the 1950s to the 1980s, which were traditionally made for a young Ndebele girl entering puberty by her mother or grandmother. All require some degree of stabilization, cleaning and repair.

Cosmati Pavement, mosaic tile, 1268

Photo:© Dean & Chapter of Westminster

Westminster Abbey, London

An active church and treasure house of paintings, stained glass, pavements, textiles and other artifacts, it has been the coronation church since 1066, and the final resting place of seventeen monarchs.

Project: A selection of significant items for conservation: national treasures, coronation materials, rare objects, manuscripts and books, documents and drawings.

(Detail pictured)
Photo:© Dean & Chapter of Westminster

Cosmati Pavement, mosaic tile, 1268

One of the Abbey’s crowning features, the floor of the Sacrarium, or High Altar, was part of Henry III’s Abbey. It measures fifty square meters and is composed of 88,000 pieces. It has undergone its first-ever major conservation.

Photo:© Dean & Chapter of Westminster

Portrait of Richard II Enthroned
in Coronation Robes

Paint on wooden panels, c. 1398
(Elaborate frame is from 1872)

The earliest-known contemporary painted portrait of an English sovereign, it requires a full condition survey and conservation.

Photo:© Dean & Chapter of Westminster

Catherine of Aragon
Stained glass panel
Early 16th century

Formerly in the East Window of St Margaret’s Church (small church next to the Abbey and within its precincts) and removed by Henry VIII after his divorce from Catherine in 1533, it requires a conservation survey, cleaning and conservation.

Photo: © Dean & Chapter of Westminster

Liber Regalis
Illuminated manuscript on vellum
c. 1382

One of the great Abbey treasures, this manuscript coronation book was written on vellum with fine illuminations made for the crowning of Anne of Bohemia (Queen Consort of Richard II). One of the prime sources for the history of the medieval coronation ceremony and liturgy, it provided the order of service for all subsequent coronations up to, and including, that of Elizabeth I. The Liber Regalis remains the basis for all later coronation liturgies up to that of Elizabeth II. It requires assessment and conservation.

Photo: © Dean & Chapter of Westminster

Silk Embroidery Panels for Regalia Table
and Royal Boxes, 1953

Silk Embroidery Panels for Regalia Table and Royal Boxes, 1953. These fine silk panels were made for the Coronation of Elizabeth II. They require assessment, cleaning and conservation.

Photo: © Dean & Chapter of Westminster

James II Coronation Music
Composed by Henry Purcell, 1685

The Abbey’s library holds an important collection of music and manuscripts. Amongst them is music by Purcell (the Organist of the Abbey) for the coronation of James II (1685). Basic conservation is required.

Photo: © Dean & Chapter of Westminster

Portrait of Elizabeth I
Paint on wooden panels, 1594
Painted over in the mid-18th century

Presented to Westminster Abbey in the mid-18th century, current restoration is underway, with x-rays having revealed the face to be an 18th century overpainting from the original of 1594. It is undergoing complete cleaning, repair and conservation.

Photo: © Dean & Chapter of Westminster

Mary II Coronation Chair, 1689

A special coronation chair was designed for Mary II when she and William III were crowned in 1689, as the first and only joint sovereigns in British history. William used the original medieval coronation chair. It requires a condition survey and conservation.

Photo: © Alan Williams

Wren Model, c. 1720

An important wooden architectural model by Sir Christopher Wren of the Abbey as he envisaged it with a spire over the tower and crossing. It requires a condition survey, conservation and repair.

Photo: © Dean & Chapter of Westminster

Charter of 1560

The original Charter written in 1560 under Elizabeth I which established the Abbey as The Collegiate Church of St Peter, Westminster and as a Royal Peculiar, making it accountable directly to the Sovereign and not the Archbishop of Canterbury. It requires conservation and stabilization.

Photo: © Dean & Chapter of Westminster

Chaucer’s Lease, 1399

Chaucer’s Lease, 1399, The original lease document for a house let to Geoffrey Chaucer, author of The Canterbury Tales, who was also Clerk of Works to the Abbey. It requires conservation and stabilization.