Enfilade

Conservation on Display in St. Louis

Posted in exhibitions by Editor on August 10, 2009

For this series on conservation issues, our first stop is the St. Louis Art Museum, which is incidentally celebrating a century of free admission! (the achievement is especially impressive as museums across the country are raising prices). From the musuem’s website:

Reviving Antiquity:
Restoring Hubert Robert’s Views of Ancient Ruin

Hubert Robert, "Fantastic View of Tivoli," 1789; oil on canvas; 95 x 75" (Saint Louis Art Museum)

Hubert Robert, "Fantastic View of Tivoli," 1789; oil on canvas; 95 x 75"

This summer, one of the Museum’s main level galleries will become a painting conservation lab, where conservator Mark Bockrath of Philadelphia will clean and restore three large 18th-century landscapes by the French painter Hubert Robert (1733–1808). The three paintings—The Obelisk, The Ruin, and Fantastic View of Tivoli—are part of four landscapes commissioned during the 1780s by unknown Russian clients. Museum visitors may recall that the group of four Robert paintings hung for many years in the corners of Grigg Gallery. Ever since the reinstallation of Grigg Gallery in 2006, the paintings have been in storage, awaiting conservation.

In 1996, Museum Paintings Conservator Paul Haner cleaned and inpainted one of the four (The Column). The Column is currently on loan to the Pulitzer Foundation for the Arts, where it is on view as part of the Pulitzer’s current exhibition, Ideal (Dis-) Placements: Old Masters at the Pulitzer.

hanerinterview

Paul Haner at work on "The Column"

Curated by Judith Mann, curator of European Art to 1800, Reviving Antiquity: Restoring Hubert Robert’s Views of Ancient Ruins, supported by a grant from the Samuel H. Kress Foundation, will be on view in gallery 205.

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Bockrath will be at work in the museum from August 25th until September 6th. He’s available for visitors’ questions on Fridays, Saturday, and Sundays from 2:30 until 3:00. A brief interview with Paul Haner can be found here.

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