Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Back to the Wilds of Pennsylvania

I made a long trip back to Brockway this weekend, where I consumed too much sugar and ended up spending a big portion of my time napping my way out of hyperglycemia.

It was also small-game hunting season.

The Beans (picture shamelessly stolen stole from Michael). Don't judge Bitty Bean harshly because she is rocking a little mullet: we all had those hair moments ourselves too.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Marc Chagall

To continue with my name-dropping streak, I'll share that the same person who brought in the Renoir lithograph also brought in a large color lithograph by Marc Chagall (1887-1985).

Once again, no pictures of the particular object, but several in the same spirit.

People drop by other's benches on a pretty frequent basis. There was a visitor (ie another conservator or a technician) at my bench during the examination of the lithograph. She was trying to make some sense of the imagery, then shrugged and said, "Whatever. It's Chagall. That's how he is."

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Pierre-Auguste Renoir

A recent object that passed through the lab was a black-and-white lithograph by the French Impressionist artists Pierre-Auguste Renoir (1841-1919).

He's really famous for painting nudes.
The Large Bathers, 1887, Philadelphia Museum of Art

Other works you may recognize include:
Girls at the Piano, 1892, Musee d'Orsay

Luncheon of the Boating Party, 1880-1881, The Phillips Collection

I can't post any pictures of the lithograph I examined, but it is similar in style to these two (also, subject = mother and children).

Friday, October 9, 2009


I was recently assigned, and subsequently treated, a pastel portrait by the artist Saint-Memin. Charles Balthazar Julien Fevret de Saint-Memin (lived 1770-1852, worked 1796-1810) was born in France and came to North America as an exile (French Revolution business). In America Saint-Memin took up engraving and eventually ended up running a highly successful portraitist. At first he was partners with Thomas Bluget de Valdenuit, but in 1797 when Valdenuit returned to France Saint-Memin carried on with the business alone.

Saint-Memin traveled up and down the Atlantic coast, working along the way and taking the likenesses of ordinary people as well as the important characters of the day. The pink background is nearly ubiquitous in his drawings: it was a ground layer, like gouache, that he applied to the paper initially. He returned to France in 1817 when his family regain their properties and ended his career as an artist, though he was a strong supporter of the arts for the rest of his life.

Alexander Hanson, 1803-1806

Paul Revere, 1800

Thomas Jefferson (TJ), 1804

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Turkish Marbling

On Sunday I joined a herd of other paper/book conservation people from the Conservation Centre (my new place of employment) at a Turkish Marbling Workshop at Historic RittenhouseTown in Philadelphia. The site of the first papermill in what was British North America, RittenhouseTown is an interpretive historic landmark as well as a center for paper arts, hosting several workshops relating to book/paper arts. Artists are invited in to give these workshops, which are held in a converted barn/studio.

We all had a really fantastic time: this marbling technique is actually very easy. We used up all of the paper stock and all of the silk scarves.

One of the participants is finished floating the paint on the surface of the liquid. There were multiple stations, but nobody minded waiting, as it was so much fun to see what everyone else was working on.

Betty, one of my old paper conservation professors, works at the long scarf-marbling tank.

The weather was perfect for paper drying.

Outside the studio barn, the scarves flutter in the breeze.

My workshop silk scarves.

My papers. Not pictured are all the little marbles scraps I have (bookmarks for everyone!)