Friday, June 3, 2011

Collection Dialogues: Conservation Discoveries and Quandaries

Braving tornado warnings on Wednesday night, the audience for our second Collection Dialogue, Conservation Discoveries and Quandaries, had a close-up view of some of the conservation successes, disappointments, and challenges facing objects in the Addison collection. Curators Allison Kemmerer and Susan Faxon shared over a dozen works from the collection, from iconic oil paintings such as John La Farge’s Sketch of Maua, Apia, One of our Boat Crew, which was featured in the recent La Farge show this winter, to multimedia works on paper and album pages of Peter Sekaer’s photographs.

Each work posed a unique set of questions, including what to do when a figure had been painted over by the artist but was, after many years, bleeding through the top layer of paint; how often to exhibit fragile watercolors that fade when exposed to light; and how to restore a painting that had been cleaned overzealously in a previous conservation effort.

One of the most memorable stories involved George Inness’s The Coming Storm. Inness’s son George Inness Jr., who was also a painter, had painted a large canvas depicting a pair of oxen which he had left with his father. Unbeknownst to the son, George Sr. appropriated this canvas and created his own landscape, thus obliterating his son’s work. Years later, George Jr. saw his father’s painting The Coming Storm on exhibition. The light hit the painting in such a way that the underpainting of the oxen was clearly visible. Allison and Susan showed an x-ray of the painting that revealed the painting underneath, and with close inspection, the audience for our Collection Dialogue was also able to see the outline of the team of oxen in The Coming Storm.

We hope you’ll join us for our final Collection Dialogue, American and British Silver, which offers another opportunity to closely explore another aspect of the Addison’s collection:

Thursday 16 June 3:00 pm
American and British Silver
with Brian Allen, The Mary Stripp and R. Crosby Kemper Director
Be among the first to see a newly acquired teapot that belonged to Phillips Academy founders Phoebe Foxcroft Phillips and Samuel Phillips, Jr., along with other examples of eighteenth- and early nineteenth-century silver

Collection Dialogues are free and open to the public and are held in the Museum Learning Center in the Addison’s Sidney R. Knafel Wing. Please enter through the Elson Art Center.

For more information, please visit our website.

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