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.

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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.

A Way to Look at Things

Stieglitz Presents Sever Americans... Arthur Dove poem

"A Way to Look at Things", a poem by Arthur G. Dove published in Alfred Stieglitz's catalog for his exhibition, "Seven Americans", 1925. From the Phillips Collection Library, Gift of the Robert and Dana Quittner Family Trust.

In 1925, Alfred Stieglitz organized a show called Seven Americans to commemorate the 20th anniversary of his gallery, “291″. To support the works selected for the exhibition, he published four writings in the brief catalog, one of which is the poem shown above by artist Arthur Dove. Ann Lee Morgan, in her definitive book Arthur Dove: Life and Work, cites Stieglitz’s response to the poem, which addresses abstraction in art, as “a classic.” Morgan says that Dove occasionally took up poetry but that the poem printed in Seven Americans is the “most successfully constructed.”

The Artist Sees Differently: Rachel Goldberg

Rachel Goldberg, Manager of School, Outreach, and Family Programs

Self-portrait by Rachel Goldberg

How did you learn about the Phillips?

I learned about the Phillips while researching Georgia O’Keeffe’s process for distributing her husband, Alfred Stieglitz’s, collection of photographs to major museums after his death. She chose very specific works for each museum to which she gave the work—the Phillips was given a small group of Stieglitz’s Equivalents.

Do you feel you are inspired by the Phillips artwork?

Definitely.

Do you work in digital or film — and do you listen to anything when you work on your photographs?

I work in whatever photographic medium best suits my current project. I have a particular interest in historic, 19th-century photographic processes, but I also enjoy the immediacy of digital.

What I’m listening to when I’m working on my photographs really depends on where I am in the process. When I’m out in the world photographing, I think the sounds of my surroundings inform the way I compose the images. When I’m in the darkroom I’m usually listening to something pretty mellow on my iPod, and at the computer I like to stream my favorite radio station back in Denver. Continue reading “The Artist Sees Differently: Rachel Goldberg” »