Stieglitz and Marin: Together, Apart, and Together Again, Part 3

In this three part series, Conservation Assistant Caroline Hoover outlines the process of treating a photogravure by Marius de Zayas. Read Part 1 here and Part 2 here.

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(clockwise from top left) Spraying to wet up for pulp fills; using an eye dropper to get blended color matched pulp; dropping pulp into loss areas to correct thickness and transparency on light box; adjusting pulp fills to correct thickness

Paper pulp was prepared from a high quality artist paper to fill in the losses around the edges of the brittle backing paper. The backing paper was wet up in order to attach these areas of pulp. Using an eye dropper and tweezers, the pulp was dropped into the areas of loss and built up to the same thickness of the original paper. Excess water was removed and the fills were then coated with a sizing agent to ensure attachment. The paper, with its new fills, was dried between felts. Afterwards, the pulp fills were trimmed to the edge of the original paper.

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(left) Using a bone folder to get rid of excess water and flatten fills (center) coating fills with methyl cellulose to size (right) drying whole piece with fills

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(left) photogravure next to pulp filled paper (right) detail of fills

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(left) trimming excess fills (right) Alfred Stieglitz and John Marin backing page

Two tiny, thin Japanese tissue hinges were used to re-attach the photogravure to its backing paper at the top edge to secure the artwork. The picture is now ready to join its companions in a future exhibit.

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Attaching hinges

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The piece after treatment

Nordic Wonderland Family Program

Photos: Andrea Kim Taylor and Brooke Rosenblatt

Photos: Andrea Kim Taylor and Brooke Rosenblatt

As a part of our Nordic Cultural Initiative, the Phillips recently hosted our first Nordic Wonderland family program in collaboration with the embassies of Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, and Sweden. Over 120 guests created art activities from Denmark and Norway, experienced storytelling from Iceland, viewed a Moomin cartoon from Finland, and watched a St. Lucia parade from Sweden.

During the program, we debuted our new Winter Warm Up “Art-Venture.” The digital scavenger hunt is a fun way to navigate the Phillips. You can play with your family, friends, or even by yourself! The Winter Warm Up “Art-Venture” is available to visitors all season long and can be accessed using your mobile device, or you can access it here: http://edventurebuilder.com/phillips/winter.

One family described the “art-venture,” saying “The questions were good ones and a great way to learn about art and the museum.” Another said, “The event was wonderful… For the older kids, the scavenger hunt was really fun!”

 

 

Stieglitz and Marin: Together, Apart, and Together Again, Part 2

In this three part series, Conservation Assistant Caroline Hoover outlines the process of treating a photogravure by Marius de Zayas. Read Part 1 here.

post 2_before treatment

Marius de Zayas, Alfred Stieglitz and John Marin, 1914, Photogravure

CONDITION
This photogravure on Japanese tissue was attached in the top left corner to a backing paper with a European watermark so that it could be included in the Camera Work book. Due to the single attachment, however, the tissue had swung on this point from the back page and this action had caused creasing around the attachment. The backing paper was brittle and had many losses around the edges which left the photogravure vulnerable. In addition, both the tissue and the backing paper had discolored with age. Since the piece could not be displayed with the other seven photogravures by de Zayas in its present condition, the decision was made to treat the work so that it could be included in the set.

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Detail of watermark on backing paper

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Removing photogravure from backing page

CONSERVATION TREATMENT
First, the Japanese tissue was carefully separated from the backing paper using a Goretex sandwich and a microspatula. The Goretex sandwich softened the adhesive without wetting the paper. When the two papers were separated, the backing paper’s sensitivity to the ink in the photogravure was revealed. Both photogravure images, from the adjacent images in the Camera Work volume appeared on the front and back of the European paper.

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(left) backing page BT reverse, back print transfer (right) detail of adhesive stain

The backing paper was washed in alkaline water to remove any discoloration and acidity. It was then dried between felts.

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Conservator Caroline Hoover sprays the backing page before washing in ~pH 8 water

The Japanese tissue was humidified in a Goretex sandwich and then also washed in alkaline water to remove any discoloration.

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Humidifying Japanese tissue before washing

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Washing and drying the Japanese tissue

After washing, both papers appeared lighter in color. The European paper regained flexibility.