About: Melissa Abraham

Posted in Conservation, Getty Foundation

Getty Foundation Grant Allows Newly Conserved Cosmati Pavement to Be Unveiled at Royal Wedding

Conservators consolidating the Purbeck marble tracery within one of the original remaining roundels. Courtesy of Westminster Abbey.

The Cosmati Pavement, the medieval tile mosaic floor in front of the Abbey’s High Alter where Prince William and Middleton are expected to take their vows, has in past been rarely visible due to its age and condition, but the floor has been newly conserved thanks in large part to a grant from the Getty Foundation. More»

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Posted in Conservation, Getty Conservation Institute

What Do You Mean, “Sustainability and Cultural Heritage”?

Gold Rush-era building in Nevada City, California

When I talk about the importance of sustainability and cultural heritage, most people nod their heads—we’ve all heard the word “sustainable” in terms of the green revolution—but then a second later they usually ask, “Wait, what exactly do you mean?”… More»

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Posted in Conservation, Getty Conservation Institute, Getty Foundation, Paintings

Dürer’s Conserved Adam and Eve Unveiled at the Prado

Conservator George Bisacca from the Metropolitan Museum of Art working on a panel. Image courtesy of the Museo del Prado

In 1507, German Renaissance painter Albrecht Dürer painted life-size figures of Adam and Eve, defining their forms with a fluid and continuous line.  These spectacular oil-on-panel paintings, which have just undergone a lengthy conservation, went on display again last week… More»

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Posted in Conservation, Getty Conservation Institute, Research

Ancient Greek Pottery Lends Its Secrets to Future Space Travel

XANES maps a) optical image showing black gloss (right) and coral red (left), b) distribution of Fe2+ species (measuring iron present in an oxidation state), and c) distribution of Fe3+ species (measuring specific minerals present).  Getty Conservation Institute

What do cutting-edge research into future space travel and the investigation of ancient ceramic pots have in common? More than you’d think. More»

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Posted in Art, Getty Foundation

Finding Art (and Baskets) Online

Strawberry basket by Kelly Church (Ottawa/Chippewa) at the Autry

Bringing collections online in such a comprehensive way is a huge undertaking, encompassing not only cataloguing and technology but also photography, rights issues, and more. More»

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Posted in Conservation, Getty Conservation Institute, Photographs, Film, and Video

Photographic History Smells Oh So Sweet

Le Cardinal d'Amboise, Joseph Nicéphore Niépce, (1765–1833), about 1826. Heliograph on pewter. The Royal Photographic Society Collection at National Media Museum

I’m always amazed when science can provide a new glimpse into the life and works of an artist who lived long before my time. It makes me feel closer to the artist’s intention to be able to understand how he or… More»

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Posted in Conservation, Getty Conservation Institute, Paintings

Inside the Getty Conservation Institute’s Modern and Contemporary Art Research Lab

Local conservator Chris Stavroudis and GCI Senior Scientist Tom Learner work on a painting by artist Doug Wheeler.
Local conservator Chris Stavroudis and GCI Senior Scientist Tom Learner work on a painting by artist Doug Wheeler.

I popped by the Getty Conservation Institute’s science labs this week to be met with a surprise:  a large white Doug Wheeler painting (1964, Untitled, acrylic) alongside the beakers and other scientific equipment.  Wheeler is best known for his neon… More»

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Posted in Conservation, Getty Conservation Institute, Paintings

Conserving David Siqueiros’ “América Tropical”

Leslie Rainer, GCI senior project specialist, working on América Tropical

América Tropical, the only surviving public mural by David Alfaro Siqueiros in the United States, is one step closer to being on view to you and me. At El Pueblo Historic Monument in downtown Los Angeles, project leaders today broke… More»

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Posted in Conservation, Getty Conservation Institute, Sculpture and Decorative Arts

What Does Plastic Have to Do with Art?

Vestito Blu, Enrica Borghi, 2005. Mineral water bottles, plastic bags, and plexiglas, 85.8 x 85.8 x 263.3 in. (220 x 220 x 675 cm). Collection Mamac, Nice. Photo: Muriel Anssens. © Enrica Borghi

Many types of plastic used in artworks are now beginning to exhibit serious signs of deterioration – discoloration, crazing and cracking, warping, becoming sticky, and in extreme cases, turning completely to powder. The sheer number of plastics available constitutes a huge challenge for the conservation profession. More»

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      From you have I been absent in the spring,
      When proud-pied April, dressed in all his trim,
      Hath put a spirit of youth in everything,
      That heavy Saturn laughed and leaped with him,
      Yet nor the lays of birds, nor the sweet smell
      Of different flowers in odor and in hue,
      Could make me any summer’s story tell,
      Or from their proud lap pluck them where they grew.
      Nor did I wonder at the lily’s white,
      Nor praise the deep vermilion in the rose;
      They were but sweet, but figures of delight,
      Drawn after you, you pattern of all those.
      Yet seemed it winter still, and, you away,
      As with your shadow I with these did play.

      —William Shakespeare, born April 23, 1564

      Vase of Flowers (detail), 1722, Jan van Huysum. The J. Paul Getty Museum

      04/23/14

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