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What are you looking at? Conserving a Portrait of a Young Anne Bellows

by Cecile Mear, Conservator of Works on Paper

5/30/2024

paper conservation, lithograph, Anne Bellows, George Bellows

To help this artwork look her best for CAM’s fall exhibition, George Bellows: American Life in Print, she stopped by the Paper Lab for conservation treatment.

Behind the Scenes in Conservation: Blue Dress Boogaloo?

by Obie Linn, Textile Conservator

5/23/2024

CAMConservation, textile conservation, 1910s fashion

Remember the blue dress from a few weeks ago? This week she’s back—with a secret.

Behind the Scenes in Conservation: Who’s counting?

by Serena Urry, Chief Conservator

5/9/2024

CAMConservation, paintings conservation, Sir Joshua Reynolds, British catalog project, John Steuart Curry

Boy with Grapes, by Sir Joshua Reynolds (1723–1792), is the 45th painting examined in the paintings conservation lab over the last eighteen months, for the British catalog project.

Behind the Scenes in Conservation: The Light Touch

by Obie Linn, Conservator of Textiles

4/25/2024

textile conservation, CAMConservation, 1910s fashion

This week in the textile conservation lab, I am working on a day dress dating to the 1910s. It has a very delicate silk net stand-up collar edged with a metal ribbon and stiffened with wire stays.

Behind the Scenes in Conservation: Reconstructing a Japanese Teapot Spout

by Kelly Rectenwald, Conservator of Objects

4/18/2024

Miss Mariko Okinawa, objects conservation, CAMConservation, teapot, Japanese Art, tea set

In our last post about the Miss Mariko Okinawa doll’s tea set, we discussed re-joining all of the tiny ceramic fragments.

Behind the Scenes in Conservation: Charming Portrait of the Honorable Augusta Herbert

by Serena Urry, Chief Conservator

4/11/2024

British catalog project, Hoppner, paintings conservation, bituminous paint

This charming portrait of the Honorable Augusta Herbert, by British artist John Hoppner (1758–1810), is long overdue for cleaning.

Behind the Scenes in Conservation: A chemical peel?

by Serena Urry, Chief Conservator

3/14/2024

CAMConservation, British portraiture, paintings conservation, Henry Raeburn, British catalog project, CAM British Painting catalog, CAM British Paintings

As paintings conservators, we may use chemicals, but we certainly don’t give facials.

Behind the Scenes in Conservation: Innovator of Printing and Design

by Cecile Mear, Conservator of Works on Paper

3/7/2024

CAMConservation, William E. Hentschel, paper conservation, air brush, printmaking, brayer painting

Two prints by Willim Hentschel came through the paper lab with old hinges and pressure sensitive tapes. The artist’s work is unlike any other in the collection.

Behind the Scenes in Conservation: Shoes with the Blues

by Obie Linn, Conservator of Textiles

2/29/2024

CAMConservation, textile conservation, museum pests, silverfish, historic Cincinnati

These elegant pale blue kid leather shoes came to the lab for a new storage tray and interior padding, but they are interesting because they bear tell-tale damage from a specific collection pest: silverfish.

Behind the Scenes in Conservation: Micromosaic Jewelry

by Kelly Rectenwald, Objects Conservator

2/22/2024

objects conservation, CAMConservation, micromosaic jewelry, fashion

This week in objects conservation, we are working on several pieces of micromosaic jewelry made in Italy during the late-19th century.

Behind the Scenes in Conservation: Macro-Scanning Cézanne’s Still Life

by Serena Urry, Chief Conservator

2/15/2024

CAMConservation, Cezanne, paintings conservation, hidden paintings, X-ray, XRF macro-scan

Last month, three Northwestern scientists brought their highly specialized scanning and imaging equipment to the museum and spent a week in our Paintings/Objects lab.

Behind the Scenes in Conservation: Preparing Woo Chong Yung for Display

by Cecile Mear, Conservator of Works on Paper

2/8/2024

paper conservation, Woo Chong Yung, C.Y. Woo, Wu Zhongxiong, Asian Art, Asian painting conservation

Preparations are well underway for the upcoming exhibition From Shanghai to Ohio: Woo Chong Yung (1898-1989). In fact, we have been developing the show for more than four years.

Behind the Scenes in Conservation: Putting Our Best Foot Forward

by Obie Linn, Conservator of Textiles

2/1/2024

CAMConservation, textile conservation, Rei Kawakubo, behind the scenes, Historical Shoes, Comme des Garcons

Something is afoot with these shoes! Can you put your finger (or toe) on the difference?

Behind the Scenes in Conservation: Reconstructing a Shattered Glass Shade

by Kelly Rectenwald, Objects Conservator

1/25/2024

CAMConservation, objects conservation, glass lamp shade, rejoining fragments

This iridescent green shade came to the lab in a box of fragments. Piece by piece, I built the individual fragments back into a shade.

Behind the Scenes in Conservation: Cleaning a Visitor Favorite: Girl Eating Porridge

by Serena Urry, Chief Conservator

1/18/2024

CAMConservation, Bouguereau, surface cleaning, visitor favorite, paintings conservation

This visitor favorite, Girl Eating Porridge, by French artist Adolphe William Bouguereau (1825–1905), was acquired by the museum in 1884, a mere ten years after the artist painted it.

Behind the Scenes in Conservation: Treatment of Cincinnati’s Galt House

by Cecile Mear, Conservator of Works on Paper

1/11/2024

paper conservation, Galt House Cincinnati, Emil Klauprecht, historic Cincinnati, lithograph, CAMConservation

In my post of November 30, I promised to explain what it took to improve the appearance and the mechanical condition of Emil Klauprecht’s 1830s lithograph, Galt House.

Behind the Scenes in Conservation: Small Wonders: Tiraz Textile Fragments

by Obie Linn, Conservator of Textiles

1/4/2024

CAMConservation, tiraz textiles, textile conservation

Check out some small wonders from the world of textile artwork!

Behind the Scenes in Conservation: Reconstructing a Japanese Doll’s Tea Set

by Kelly Rectenwald, Objects Conservator

12/28/2023

CAMConservation, objects conservation, tea set, Japan, Japanese Art, Miss Mariko Okinawa

These tiny ceramic fragments are part of a Japanese doll’s tea set. I am working on putting these pieces back together so that they can be displayed with their doll in the future.

Behind the Scenes in Conservation: A Portrait’s Curious Characteristics

by Serena Urry, Chief Conservator

12/7/2023

CAMConservation, paintings conservation, Weir, Twachtman, X-ray, hidden paintings

This small painting by American artist Julian Alden Weir (1852–1919) was donated to the museum by the artist in 1911.

Behind the Scenes in Conservation: Traveling for the Holidays?

by Cecile Mear, Conservator of Works on Paper

11/30/2023

Galt House Cincinnati, Emil Klauprecht, CAMConservation, works on paper, paper conservation

At first glance it is obvious the print has had a rough life.

Behind the Scenes in Conservation: Getting technical with textiles! What’s “selvage”?

by Obie Linn, Conservator of Textiles

11/16/2023

CAMConservation, selvage, Art Deco, fabric, textile conservation

We’ve got it all! All the width of this 1920s embroidered voile (fine soft sheer fabric), that is.

Behind the Scenes in Conservation: Revealing the Details of an Egyptian Scarab Ring

by Kelly Rectenwald, Objects Conservator

11/9/2023

CAMConservation, objects conservation, ancient egypt, scarab ring, bronze, bronze disease

Several small copper alloy objects, pieces of jewelry and articles of adornment, are all showing signs of bronze disease.

Behind the Scenes in Conservation: Gainsborough’s Ladies

by Serena Urry, Chief Conservator

11/2/2023

CAMConservation, paintings conservation, Thomas Gainsborough

These three portraits by 18th-century British artist Thomas Gainsborough are in the paintings conservation lab to be examined for the British catalog project.

Behind the Scenes in Conservation: Repairing an Ancient Egyptian Jar

by Kelly Rectenwald, Objects Conservator

10/12/2023

ancient egypt, ceramic jar, objects conservation, challenging repair, CAMConservation

In the Conservation Lab, we are working on this large ceramic jar from Dynasty I Egypt (3100–2900 BCE).

Behind the Scenes in Conservation: A Twisted Tale

by Serena Urry, Chief Conservator

10/5/2023

CAMConservation, paintings conservation, panel paintings

This small round painting, attributed to the studio of the 17th century Dutch artist Frans Hals, was recently in the paintings conservation lab to have its discolored varnish removed.

Behind the Scenes in Conservation: Ready for a Closeup? Hawes’ Flag Dress

by Obie Linn, Textile Conservator

9/21/2023

textile conservation, Elizabeth Hawes, Flag Dress, before and after, CAMConservation, textiles

There are few things more satisfying than seeing some really dramatic “before and after” photos when a conservation treatment is complete! Conservation of Elizabeth Hawes’ “flag dress” or Geographic (1940) has wrapped up, and now you can flip through a whole album of “before/after” pairs showing the transformations of many of the flags that cover the dress.

Behind the Scenes in Conservation: Jain Shrine—Now on Display!

by Kelly Rectenwald, Objects Conservator

9/14/2023

behind the scenes, objects conservation, CAMConservation, Jain Shrine

If you’ve been following our Conservation blog posts, you may have seen several updates as we carried out treatment over the past two years.

Behind the Scenes in Conservation: Reflection by Raphael Soyer

by Cecile Mear, Conservator of Works on Paper

8/31/2023

Raphael Soyer, prints, paper conservation, CAMConservation

In 2019 and 2020 the museum received three prints by American artist Raphael Soyer (1899–1987), the first of his prints to enter the museum’s collection.

Behind the Scenes in Conservation: Summery White Dress—Only 150 Years Old!

by Obie Linn, Conservator of Textiles

8/24/2023

CAMConservation, textile conservation, historic childrenswear

The forecourt display case in the Conversations Gallery is fresh! A new rotation arrived last week, and it is practically aglow with summery white freshness. How does a 150-year-old child’s dress look this crisp and breezy?

Behind the Scenes in Conservation: Removing Varnish, Brightening a Landscape

by Serena Urry, Chief Conservator

8/10/2023

CAMConservation, paintings conservation, Theodore Robinson, Impressionism, American Impressionism

We’ve had this painting by American Impressionist Theodore Robinson (1852–1896) listed for varnish removal for a while. That’s because curators and conservators know that Impressionist artists rarely varnished their paintings.