Sailing along the coast of the Eastern Mediterranean Sea, an ancient seafarer would likely happen upon the infamously rancid smell of rotting fish, supplied by the thousands of sea snails drying in the sun for the production of a precious commodity: the color purple.
The Center has conserved and digitally replicated everything from family albums, all types of journals, archives, letters, and rare or cultural materials that are irreplaceable. This story focuses on how The Center assisted a client with creating two digital and archival scrapbooks that documented the original material from personal memories and events. The custom made digital scrapbooks were then bound in leather with custom designed clam shell boxes for protection and safe handling. This is an example of how The Center continually strives to save, preserve, and protect works - whether a family heirloom or a rare work of art.
Art has the incredible ability to take hold of you, transfix you, and then transport you into another state of mind. That’s exactly what happens to one of our clients when he gazes at “The Trinity with the Virgin and Two Donors,” a painting attributed by one expert to Marten de Vos, a Flemish history painter and portraitist of the late 16th century.
As the weather grows colder here in Chicago, we are constantly dreaming of our next getaway. One classic that captures our wanderlust is Audrey Hepburn’s “Roman Holiday.” Unfortunately, Rome is a little far, but luckily, we had the opportunity this month to watch the treatment of a Greco-Roman painting instead.
Last month we had the pleasure of hosting a private tour of our conservation laboratory and warehouse in collaboration with the Glessner House Museum. The museum previously brought us a ceramic piece from their collection that had shattered. When the tour came through in the first week of the month, the group was fortunately able to see the piece mid-treatment.
We are continuing our Pigment of the Month series with another autumn-appropriate color, a rich brown called Sienna. This natural pigment is one that dates back millennia when it was used in some of the first known cave paintings. Sienna is made from clay composed of iron oxide and manganese oxide, two minerals that are common in soil. In fact, Sienna gets its name from the Italian ‘terra di Siena,’ meaning “earth of Siena.” Siena, a small city in the region of Italy known as Tuscany, also used to manufacture the pigment. Other names to which this pigment is referred are terra rossa (red earth) or terra gialla (yellow earth).
Over the years, the Furniture Department of The Conservation Center has helped conserve many works of antique and fine furniture, both from museums and private clients. So this month, as the weather chills and we all get cozy in our big comfortable chairs, we wanted to highlight them, their work, and what we think are their best treatments.
Amadeo Modigliani was an Italian painter who lived and worked during La Belle Époque. Like many other artists during this period, he resided in Paris where he created some of his most famous sculptures, drawings, and paintings. Although Modigliani was prolific and created hundreds of pieces, he was destitute for most of his tragically short life. The artist is well-known for his portraits, which depict faces influenced by the Baule masks and figures from the Ivory Coast. His distinctive style is characterized by long necks and faces, and by his signature small, hazy eyes. We recently encountered one of his drawings in need of minor treatment and cleaning.