Connect to Conservation: IMLS Summer Internship Experiences

This summer, three interns were selected to complete an internship at VMFA’s Center for Advanced Study in Art Conservation. Generously funded by the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) as part of the “Connect to Conservation” program, the internship was designed to provide training and professional development to individuals considering a career in art…

Zulu Beaded Ensembles: Materials Analysis

After the departure of beading expert Hlengi Dube, work continues on the survey of the Zulu ensemble components in order to pair the cultural and structural examination with a scientific materials study. With the insights into the importance of materials choice afforded by this consultation, I sought to characterize as many materials as possible using…

Painting Conservation Report and Research Project conducted in anticipation of the 2017 exhibition Frédéric Bazille and the Birth of Impressionism at the National Gallery of Art, Washington DC

By Carol Sawyer, Margaret H. & William E. Massey Sr. Conservator of Paintings  Jean-Frédéric Bazille, The Artist’s Studio, Rue Visconti, Paris, 1867; oil on canvas, 25 ½ in x 19 in. Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Collection of Mr. and Mrs. Paul Mellon, 83.4. Unlike Nicolas Poussin’s Achilles among the Daughters of Lycomedes, which contains…

Peptide analysis of a material imbedded into the abdomen and sides of this Songye Community Nkisi (VMFA 89.27)

Beneath the Surface of African Art: Leather, Bone and Blood- Proteomics in Art Conservation

By Casey Mallinckrodt, Andrew Mellon Assistant Conservator Conservators carry out technical analyses to identify materials to guide our decision-making, if treatment is required, and to predict and prevent future deterioration by ensuring that objects are handled and stored appropriately. In addition, technical information contributes to our understanding of an object within its cultural context and enhances what…

How the Authenticity Question Surrounding Achilles Among the Daughters of Lycomedes, a Painting by Nicolas Poussin, was Resolved

By Carol Sawyer, Margaret H. & William E. Massey Sr. Conservator of Paintings The Painting Conservation Department performs treatments, examinations and research related to the VMFA painting collection. In the course of doing this work questions regarding the authenticity of a work of art sometimes arise. Technical analysis and in-depth examination of the materials and…

Manet’s Painting, On the Beach, Boulogne-sur-Mer

By Bruce Suffield While studying Édouard Manet’s painting, On the Beach, Boulogne-sur-Mer (Accession # 85.498), in the painting conservation studio, it was noted that the artist had used numerous and different brush strokes around one of the compositional elements.  He had most likely changed the area around the edges of the bathing machine or bathing…

Zulu Necklace

Beneath the Surface of African Art: Zulu Beaded Ensembles, An Orientation

By Kathryn Brugioni Gabrielli, Assistant Conservator As an objects conservator and an emerging professional, I have had limited experience thinking beyond the theoretical when it comes to the care, preservation, and treatment of textiles. As such, I was especially excited at the prospect of my first project during my fellowship at the VMFA. After my…

Beneath the Surface of African Art: The Importance of Wood Identification

By Casey Mallinckrodt, Assistant Conservator The conservation initiative in African art funded by the Andrew W. Mellon foundation is allowing the VMFA Conservation Center to deepen capacity by acquiring analytic equipment, engaging specialist consultants, and also by developing specialized expertise within the Conservation staff. This winter Assistant Conservator Casey Mallinckrodt participated in an intensive course…