In the Conservation Studio with William Christenberry


Collections Care Manager Laura Tighe in the Phillips’s conservation studio

We were saddened to hear of the passing of beloved Phillips trustee emeritus and distinguished artist William Christenberry earlier this week. His work continues to resonate and impact in our galleries and beyond. Here, Collections Care Manager Laura Tighe is matting and preparing a microclimate frame for two color photographs by the artist. The works (“Bread of Life,” near Tuscaloosa, Alabama, 1989/printed 1995 above at left; “Church across Early Cotton (Vertical View),” Pickinsville, Alabama, 1964/printed 2000 below and to right) will be part of an upcoming solo exhibition in December 2016 at Maryland Institute College of Art.

Picasso’s Blue Period From A Conservator’s Perspective

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Associate Conservator Patricia Favero presenting at Museu Picasso in Barcelona.

Last week, Associate Conservator Patricia Favero headed to Museu Picasso in Barcelona along with colleagues from the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, the National Gallery of Art, and the Art Institute of Chicago to present findings at The Blue Period: New Interpretations by Means of Technical Studies, a seminar of restoration and conservation. You may recall news from last June that a portrait of a man was discovered under the Phillips’s painting by Pablo Picasso, The Blue Room; Patti discussed the research and process behind this revelation.

UPDATE: For a limited amount of time, you can watch the full presentation video on the Museu Picasso’s website.

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Associate Conservator Patricia Favero presenting at Museu Picasso in Barcelona.


Stieglitz and Marin: Together, Apart, and Together Again, Part 1

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

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(left and middle) Marius de Zayas, Alfred Stieglitz and John Marin, 1914. Photogravure, 22.1 x 16.5 cm. Gift of Fern M. Schad, 2004 (right) Camera Work, the source of the piece

This photogravure, Alfred Stieglitz and John Marin, is a work of art that was made from an original drawing by Marius de Zayas and printed onto very thin Japanese tissue. This piece was included in a collection of artists’ works published in the periodical Camera Work XLVI, 1914. Camera Work was a well known publication put together by Stieglitz to support and promote photography as an art form. He included photogravures because they were made from original negatives and often supervised by the artist or even at times printed by the artist himself. As such, they represented the original works very closely. The publication showcased the best examples of photogravure printing.

The photogravure process is the transfer of the original photo negative to a transparency as a positive image. It is then contact printed onto light sensitive paper from which it is then transferred to a copper plate as a negative image. The plate is etched in acid, inked up, and printed as a positive image. As you can imagine, it was a very sophisticated and complicated process that required a lot of finesse.