Conservation

Preserving art and culture for the future, from field projects around the world to conservation science in the Getty’s own state-of-the-art labs

Also posted in Getty Foundation, Philanthropy

Website Offers Insider’s View of Westminster Abbey’s Cosmati Pavement Conservation Project

The first coat of microcrystalline wax being applied to the surface of the pavement. Courtesy of Westminster Abbey.
The first coat of microcrystalline wax being applied to the surface of the pavement. Courtesy of Westminster Abbey.

The Cosmati Pavement, the incredible medieval tile mosaic floor in front of Westminster Abbey’s High Altar, where Prince William and Kate Middleton took their vows last year, was rarely visible in past due to its age and condition, but all… More»

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Also posted in Art, Behind the Scenes, Sculpture and Decorative Arts

Waxing and Waning of Summer in Decorative Arts & Sculpture Conservation

Applying a protective wax coating to Jack Zajac's Big Skull and Horn in Two Parts II

Every Monday—when the Museum is closed to visitors and Getty staff soldier on despite the closure of the coffee carts—the Getty’s outdoor sculptures get washed and rinsed of the week’s helping of dirt, pollution, bird guano, and spider webs. This… More»

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Also posted in Behind the Scenes, Getty Conservation Institute, Research

Mars Rover Technology Helps Unlock Art Mysteries

Giacomo Chiari, head of the science department at the Getty Conservation Institute, examines the painting on the west wall in the tomb of King Tutankhamen

This coming weekend, NASA’s latest Mars Rover, Curiosity, is scheduled to touch down on the Red Planet to begin two years of scientific discovery, helping scientists unlock some of the planet’s as yet undiscovered secrets. Interestingly, the same technology being… More»

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Also posted in Behind the Scenes, Getty Foundation, Paintings, Philanthropy

Rubens’s Masterful “Triumph of the Eucharist” Series to be Conserved

Detail from Triumph of the Eucharist over Idolatry, Peter Paul Rubens, 1625-6, oil on panel. ©Museo Nacional del Prado, Madrid.
Detail from Triumph of the Eucharist over Idolatry, Peter Paul Rubens, 1625-6, oil on panel. ©Museo Nacional del Prado, Madrid.

Thanks to a two-year grant from the Getty Foundation as part of the Getty’s ongoing Panel Paintings Initiative, the Museo Nacional del Prado is now conserving a magnificent series of six panel paintings completed in 1626 by artist Peter Paul… More»

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Also posted in J. Paul Getty Museum, Sculpture and Decorative Arts

The Case of the Broken Wax Banana

Untitled with broken peel / Robert Graham

This is the third in a series of conservators’ reflections on artworks in Pacific Standard Time. Robert Graham’s sculpture Untitled came to the Museum last October for Crosscurrents in L.A. Painting and Sculpture 1950-1970. It’s a small wax banana resting… More»

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Also posted in Antiquities, Behind the Scenes, J. Paul Getty Museum

In Search of the Berthouville Treasure

Map of France showing the relative locations of Paris and Berthouville

The present whereabouts of the Berthouville Treasure are not a mystery. In December 2011 this priceless hoard of ancient Roman artifacts discovered by chance in the French countryside over 180 years ago was temporarily transferred from its permanent home in the… More»

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Also posted in Behind the Scenes, Getty Conservation Institute, J. Paul Getty Museum, Paintings

Getty to Conserve Jackson Pollock’s Watershed Work “Mural”

Jackson Pollock (American, 1912-1956) Mural, 1943 Oil on canvas, 8’ ¼” x 19’ 10” Gift of Peggy Guggenheim, 1959.6 University of Iowa Museum of Art Reproduced with permission from The University of Iowa
Jackson Pollock (American, 1912-1956) Mural, 1943 Oil on canvas, 8’ ¼” x 19’ 10” Gift of Peggy Guggenheim, 1959.6 University of Iowa Museum of Art Reproduced with permission from The University of Iowa

It’s official—abstract expressionist painter Jackson Pollock’s seminal work Mural (1943) will be undergoing technical study and conservation at the Getty Center as part of a new collaboration between the Getty and the University of Iowa Museum of Art. The painting… More»

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Also posted in Behind the Scenes, Education, Getty Villa

Backyard Archaeology at the Villa Ranch House

Site of a training excavation at the Getty Villa for students in the UCLA/Getty conservation program

Students in the UCLA/Getty Conservation Program recently dug up ancient wall paintings buried on the grounds of the Getty Villa. Not real ones, of course—it was all part of a classroom exercise for us conservators-in-training to better understand how conservation… More»

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Also posted in Behind the Scenes, Getty Conservation Institute, J. Paul Getty Museum, Sculpture and Decorative Arts

Looking Under Judy Chicago’s Car Hood

The back (wall) side of Judy Chicago's Car Hood

This is the second in a series of conservators’ reflections on artworks in Pacific Standard Time. In 1964 Judy Chicago created this wall-mounted sculpture, Car Hood, from a steel car hood and traditional automotive paint. The work was on loan… More»

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Also posted in Behind the Scenes, Sculpture and Decorative Arts

Art with an On-Off Switch: Restoring Stephan von Heune’s Tap Dancer

Tap Dancer by Stephan van Huene, with base panels removed to reveal components inside base

This is the first in a series of conservator’s reflections on artworks in Pacific Standard Time. Stephan van Huene is recognized for his acoustical sculptures—which he called “machines”—that combine movement and sound. With the flip of a switch, the sculpture… More»

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