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Conservation for Cultural Heritage Collections: Museums, Libraries and Archives: HSAR 403

Course Overview

HSAR 403 


Course Lecturer and Organizer:

Theresa Fairbanks Harris, Chief Conservator, Works on Paper, Yale Center for British Art and Yale Art Gallery

Guest Lecturers:

Catherine Sease, Senior Conservator, Peabody Museum

Barbara Shailor, Deputy Provost for the Arts

This course is designed for graduate and undergraduate students majoring in art history and fine arts.  It is intended to provide students with information on techniques and materials that are essential for understanding how works of art are made and how their appearance can change over time due to natural aging, the methods used to create them, the quality and types of materials used, and restoration or conservation treatments.  The major areas covered will be Western painting, graphic arts, photographs and books.  Modern examination techniques will be used as tools for connoisseurship, dating and authentication.

General concepts of preservation and conservation will be covered.  The course will include:  the examination of artworks in the Yale art museums, and visits to conservation studios.  Guest lectures are by Barbara Shailor, Deputy Provost for the Arts and Catherine Sease, Senior Conservator at the Peabody Museum.

Artists’ techniques and materials will be studied through visits to studios, assigned reading and direct examination of artwork.  Assignments will include writing three short papers, completing two gallery observation study packets, an oral presentation, and reading responses.  Class participation is important.  (Graduate student papers should be longer!)  Because we are using actual works of art in small studios with specialized examination equipment class enrollment must be restricted to 15 students.

Short Selected References:

How Prints Look, William M. Ivins

Seeing Through Paintings, eds. Andrea Kirsh and Rustin S. Levenson

Metamorphoses in Nineteenth-Century Sculpture: An Exhibition. Arthur, Beale. Jeanne Wasserman (ed.). Cambridge, Ma: Harvard University Press, 1975. [Catalogue of Exhibition, November 19, 1975 – January 7, 1976, Fogg Art Museum, Harvard University.]

Small Bronze Sculpture from the Ancient World. “Scientific Approaches to the Question of Authenticity.” Arthur, Beale. Papers delivered at a Symposium  Organized by the Departments of Antiquities and Antiquities Conservation Held at the J. Paul Getty Museum. Malibuu, CA: J. Paul Getty Museum, 1990.

Wash and Gouache: A Study of the Development of the Materials of Watercolor. Marjorie B. Cohn. Cambridge, MA: Center for Conservation and Technical Studies, Fogg Art Museum, 1977.

Albrecht Durer, 1471-1528: A Study Exhibition of Print Connoisseurship. Richard Field. Philadelphia: Philadelphia Museum of Art, 1970.

 Old Master Prints and Drawings: A Guide to Preservation and Conservation. Carlo James et al. Translated and edited by Marjorie B. Cohn. Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press, 1997.

Ethics in Conservation. Hanna Jedrzejewska.

“The Unique Qualities of Paper as an Artifact in Conservation Treatment.” Keiko Mizushima Keyes. The Paper Conservator. 3 (1978): 4-8.

English Artists Paper: Renaissance to Regency. John Krill. London: Trefoil, 1987.

Philosophy of Conservation. Jose Orraca. Toronto: Society of American Archivists, 1974.

“Crimes Against the Cubists,” John Richardson. New York Review of Books, vol. 30, no. 10 (June 16, 1983). Reprinted in Historical and Philosophical Issues in the Conservation of Cultural Heritage (Los Angeles, Getty conservation Institute, 1996), pp. 185-192.

The Medieval Book: Catalogue of an exhibition at the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library. Barbara A Shailor. New Haven, CT; Yale University Library, 1988.

 “A Review of the History of Patination.” Phoebe Dent Weil

National Bureau of Standards Special Publication #479 on Corrosion and Metal Artifacts: 77-92.

Kline Science Library Qc1 V63.

Papermaking and the Art of Watercolor in Eighteenth–Century Britain. Theresa Fairbanks Harris and Scott Wilcox. New Haven, CT; Yale University Press, 2006.

“‘All Good Pictures Crack’ Sir Joshua Reynolds’s practice and studio.” M. Kirby Talley, Jr. Reynolds. Nicholas Penny (ed.) Royal Academy of Arts, London, 1986.