Conservation of an Albrecht Dürer Print

After Treatment

The Mass of St. Gregory, Albrecht Dürer, Woodcut Print on Paper, 13.25 x 8.25 in. Treatment by Chief Conservator of Works of Art on Paper David Chandler.

A private collector brought this print to The Center several months ago. To a critical eye, the print was in poor condition: the sheet was soiled and distorted, and there were two tears that were barely visible except upon close inspection (see figs. 1-3). The tears required intricate repair work to realign the edges and provide necessary structural support to the compromised sheet, while keeping the repair as discreet as possible. After the piece was safely returned in its improved condition, the collector wrote the following testimonial for us to share:

“I am a private collector of original Old Masters prints, primarily Dürer, Rembrandt and Goya. The Conservation Center has provided their expert services to conserve a very old Dürer print which was in damaged condition when I purchased it. The print in question had several problems, which if not treated would likely get worse with time to the extent that the print will eventually lose its aesthetic value. The specific problems were; tears in the paper which extended into the print region, residue of “old” likely non-archival mounting tape, and general soiling of the image. The tears and soiling were caused by improper handling and storage of the prints by the previous owners. The residue of mounting tape on the print was in all likelihood the result of the non-availablility of high quality archival material when the print was matted and framed in the past.

“The objective of the conservation of my damaged print was to restore the print to its original condition as best as possible so that it can be viewed without these distracting defects and most importantly to halt any further degradation. Additionally, the conservation work helps to maintain the value of the artwork.”

“The Center repaired the tears, in such a way that they cannot possibly be seen macroscopically, completely removed the mounting tape residue and generally cleaned the print to the extent that it is visibly much brighter and present the way the artist originally intended. Overall, the before and after results were remarkable and a testament to the skill of the experts at The Conservation Center.

“In addition to the technical work done to repair my artwork, I also appreciate how the staff are very courteous on the phone, always let me know when my art is safely delivered to them and then it was properly packaged and shipped back to me and kept informed as to the status of the shipment etc.

“Based on my experience with The Conservation Center, all of my future conservation work will be done at their facility, I highly recommend their services.”

Figs. 1 and 2: Detail photographs of a previously repaired tear, extending into the image at the left side.

Figs. 1 and 2: Detail photographs of a previously repaired tear, extending into the image at the left side.

Fig. 3: Small Tear at the left edge, just above the date and artist’s monogram.

Fig. 3: Small Tear at the left edge, just above the date and artist’s monogram.

Justin Gilman

The business end of Twin. In charge of landing interesting new projects, making clients happy, and coffee. A maker of beautiful music and master of oral sound effects. A secret Jim Henson nerd. Will always find ways of working smarter. Will never participate in karaoke.

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