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Exhibition on Treatments and Techniques Used to Conserve Rare Works on Paper at the Getty
Unknown maker, Southern German and Barthel Beham (German, 1502 - 1540), Study of Three Skulls (recto); Architectural Study (verso), about 1530. Pen and black ink, brush with gray wash, heightened with white gouache, on green prepared paper (recto); pen and black ink (verso), 14.9 x 23.2 cm (5 7/8 x 9 1/8 in.). Accession No. 89.GA.24. The J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles.
LOS ANGELES, CA.- Works on paper are inherently more fragile—in terms of sensitivity to light and handling—than mediums such as canvas, panel, bronze, or clay, and often show the passage of time more acutely than their counterparts. Frequent handling by artists in their workshops and later by collectors, combined with poor storage and display conditions, often leads to distracting damage. As a result of their fragility, drawings in the Getty Museum’s collection spend much of their life inside solander boxes in climate-controlled storage areas, where they’re protected from light, mold, insects, and other threats to their preservation; and, the fascinating “secrets”—of how they were made and displayed, damages they sustained, and treatments they were given—often go untold.

The Secret Life of Drawings, on view November 23, 2010 through February 13, 2011 at the J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center, brings together 30 drawings from the Getty’s stellar collection to explore the role played by paper conservators in reducing the effects of handling and the passage of time with treatments such as filling losses, reducing stains and mold, repairing tears, and treating white highlights that have turned black. The exhibition also reveals the secrets conservators discover, such as unknown drawings hidden beneath mounts or watermarks that help authenticate the date of the paper.

The Getty Museum has four conservation departments charged with the oversight and care of the collection: antiquities, paintings, paper, and sculpture & decorative arts. The Paper Conservation department cares specifically for the Getty’s collections of drawings, manuscripts, and photographs, whose materials share a common vulnerability to the environment: they are all highly reactive to changes in humidity, and tend to be light sensitive. In addition to examining and treating works on paper, the conservators also monitor how frequently the objects are on exhibition, and the light levels to which they’re exposed.

Nancy Yocco, associate curator of Paper Conservation, is responsible for the care of the drawings collection, which was begun in the early 1980s and consists of approximately 800 European drawings, ranging from preparatory sketches to highly-finished independent works of art. Yocco’s responsibilities include advising on the condition of potential acquisitions, examining loan objects, and preparing drawings for display. As such, she develops an intimate relationship with each of the objects and learns their “secrets” firsthand. Her wealth of knowledge acquired over the course of more than 70 treatments is the impetus and foundation for the Secret Life of Drawings exhibition.

Spanning the 15th to the 19th centuries, the 30 sheets in The Secret Life of Drawings will be showcased alongside pre-conservation photographs to convey the often-subtle differences that can be achieved with treatment. Present-day paper conservation differs from restoration of the 18th and 19th centuries; in general, today’s conservators work in subtler, lessinvasive ways, using methods that are reversible. Rather than providing explicit information about conservation treatments, the exhibition demonstrates how a conservator’s respect for the original intent of the artist allows viewers to focus on the beauty of the design—not the damage.

The Secret Life of Drawings will go on view November 23, 2010 through February 13, 2011 in the West Pavilion of the J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center, and is curated by Stephanie Schrader, associate curator of drawings, with Nancy Yocco, associate conservator of paper conservation.

Conservation at the Getty
Conservation is a fundamental responsibility of the J. Paul Getty Museum and an essential element of the Museum's mission, which includes acquiring, conserving, exhibiting, and interpreting works of art. The 25 conservation professionals in the Museum's four conservation departments support the Museum's effort to exhibit and interpret the collections and to preserve them for the enjoyment and education of future generations.

Not only do Museum conservators preserve the collection, they help make works of art readable to visitors so that they see the art rather than any damage to it. As a result, most restorations are designed to be invisible to the naked eye. In some complicated instances, however, this may involve a balancing act, employing suggestive measures to make the work appear complete while not obscuring the visual difference between original work and restoration.

While no treatment is 100 percent reversible, Museum conservation staff come as close as possible to that standard. Since methods for cleaning, reassembly, and restoration are subject to periodic reevaluation because of technical innovations and changing values, it is important that work be reversible so as not to impede the efforts of future conservators.

Getty Museum | The Secret Life of Drawings | Nancy Yocco |




Last Week News

November 23, 2010

Hungary to Sell Communist Relics to Benefit the Victims of Last Month's Red Sludge Flood

Sotheby's Sale Establishes a World Auction Record for Painter Giuseppe Vermiglio

A 1,800 Year Old Bathing Pool was Discovered Beneath a Miqve by Israeli Archaeologists

Tradition and Innovation at the Netherlands' Art and Antiques Fair: PAN Amsterdam

The Home of Leading Scientist Who Helped Develop the 'Bouncing Bomb' to Be Sold

Science Museum in London to Debut New Permanent Climate Science Gallery

Legendary Rock Legends Pink Floyd Quadraphonic Consoles to Be Sold at Bonhams

Lisson Gallery Presents an Exhibition of New Works by Berlin-Based Artist Ceal Floyer

Connecting Cubism to an American Narrative Exhibition on View at D. Wigmore Fine Art, Inc.

Luciana Brito Presents "Back to Simplicity", Including Historic Artworks, by Marina Abramovic

Collectors Respond with Highest-Ever Total for a Photography Sale at Sotheby's Paris

Ten Visionary Artists Express Themselves Around the Iconic Hennessy V.S Bottle

Master Chinese Painter Wu Guanzhong's Works Exhibited at Zhejiang Art Museum

R. Crumb, Daughter Look at Life in "Crazy Artist"

Federico Luger Presents Franklin Evans' Second Solo Exhibition at the Gallery

Reina Sofía Museum Signs Partnership Agreement with the Cisneros Fontanals Art Foundation (CIFO)

Rolls-Royce Phantom III, Featured in Pan's Labyrinth Film, to Sell at Bonhams

Exhibition of New Work by Rachel Kneebone Presented at White Cube Hoxton Square

Bonhams to Hold its Biggest Sale of Remarkable Wine to Date

Extraordinary Opportunities for Collectors of the World's Finest Wines Presented by Christie's Hong Kong

Bonhams Appoint Deborah Allan Departmental Director of Impressionist & Modern Art

Donation of Two Works by Leading Irish Sculptor James McKenna to the Irish Museum of Modern Art

November 22, 2010

Detroit Institute of Arts Opens Exhibition that Examines Fakes, Forgeries and Mysteries

Art Gallery of Ontario Opens the Gates to India's Royal Courts in New Exhibition

Treasures of Ancient Chinese Art Return to Public View at the Freer Gallery of Art

Exhibition at Museum of Modern Art in New York Challenges Definition of Drawing

Seoul Auction to Hold Sale and a Special Exhibition of Impressionists & Modern Masters

Mix of Unseen Images and Work Selected from Previous Series by Artists at Stills Gallery

Danish-Vietnamese Artist Danh Vo Conquers x-rummet at the National Gallery of Denmark

Museum of Contemporary Art in Sydney Presents Annie Leibovitz: A Photographer's Life 1990-2005

The Work of Alex Katz Travels to North Wales as Part of 2010 Artist Rooms Tour

Beautiful Evidence: Christie's in New York to Offer the Library of Edward Tufte

Important Items from the Hanoverian Royal Family to Be Sold in Arms and Militaria Auction

Museum of Contemporary Art in North Miami Presents Bruce Weber: Haiti/Little Haiti

Poppy Sebire Launches the Gallery's New Permanent Home in Southwark with New Exhibition

Laumeier Unveils New Blind Maquettes with Support From Lighthouse for the Blind - Saint Louis

Medal from Charge of the Light Brigade Offered at Bonhams

Guillotines, Scalpels and Ant Farms Provide Unique Opportunity To Reveal Unexpected Views into Architecture

Getty Conservation Institute Awarded National Science Foundation Grant to Study Ancient Greek Pottery

Notable D.C. Chefs Create Art-Inspired Birthday Cakes for the Phillips Collection's 89th Anniversary

Critically Acclaimed Gallery Renovations Continue with Two Major Fall Projects

November 21, 2010

Exhibition at Bauhaus Dessau Marks the 100th Birthday of Bauhaus Student Kurt Kranz

SFMOMA Announces Exhibition on the Art and Influence of Gertrude Stein and Her Family

Peru President Alan Garcia Says Yale University to Return Thousands of Inca Artifacts

Rare 1939 Batman Comic Sells for Nearly $500k at Heritage Auctions in Dallas

Rare 15th Century Manuscript Returned to National Trust's Lyme Park

Bonhams Cements Its Position as Market Leader for Japanese Art in Europe

ICA Boston Presents One of the Leading Figures in Contemporary Art: Mark Bradford

Implications with Sale of the Crosby Garrett Helmet Called for an Urgent Review of The Treasure Act

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Vija Celmins: Television and Disaster, 1964-66 on View at the Menil Collection in Houston

Study Photographs and Paintings by Norman Rockwell at the Brooklyn Museum

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Institute of American Indian Arts Archives Announce the Acquisition of the Lloyd H. New Papers

Important Italian Design Collection of Max Palevsky to Be Sold by Los Angeles Modern Auctions

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November 20, 2010

Kunstmuseum Wolfsburg Presents an Overview of Alberto Giacometti's Mature Work

Denver Museum Prepares for Next Steps in Scientific Analysis of the Ice Age Fossil Site

Stonehenge Gets Multimillion-Pound Grant for Major Makeover to Help Restore Dignity

Scientists Attempt to Solve the Mystery of Danish Astronomer Tycho Brahe's Sudden Death

World's Most Famous Diamond Unveiled at National Museum of Natural History

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Rijksmuseum Anounces Two Acquisitions that Highlight the Birth of Christ

Two Ancient Statues Stolen in the 1980s From Italian Museums are Now Home

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Ford's Model A: Michigan Museum Plans to Break Ground on New Museum Next Year

Getty Announces Exhibition that Recreates a Day in the Life of an 18th Century Parisian Townhouse

Major Retrospective of Paintings by Alexis Rockman Opens at the Smithsonian American Art Museum

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Major Sculptures and Projections by Seven Internationally Significant Artists at The Fruitmarket Gallery

New Chair and Five New Members of the Board of Directors Announced by the Terra Foundation for American Art

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November 19, 2010

Richard Avedon's Most Prized Photographs for Sale Saturday at Christie's in Paris

The Philadelphia Museum of Art Announces Acquisition of 3,000 Works by Paul Strand

MoMA Announces Exhibition of Picasso's Iconic Guitar Sculptures From 1912-1914

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Frank Gehry-Designed Mississippi Museum Highlights Sculptor George E. Ohr

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The Royal Academy of Arts Announces Cindy Sherman as Honorary Member of the Royal Academy

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November 18, 2010

A Selection of Shanghai's Diverse Contemporary Art on View at Kunstmuseum Bern

"Charles Marville" Exhibition and New Discoveries Announced by National Gallery of Art

Archive of Photographer Richard Nickel Goes to the Art Institute of Chicago

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Guggenheim Museum Announces Nominees for Rob Pruitt's 2010 Art Awards

Exhibition at the Getty Research Institute Refracts Ancient Mexican Art and Archaeology

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Most Popular Last Seven Days



1.- Image of a Christ without a beard, short hair and wearing a toga unearthed in Spain

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3.- Bonhams sale of 18th century French decorative arts to benefit Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco

4.- Paris flustered by erection of 'sex-toy' sculpture; Paul McCarthy slapped by a passer-by

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7.- Greek culture minister says Elgin Marbles return a matter of 'global heritage'

8.- Vandals deflate Paris 'sex-toy' sculpture by American artist Paul McCarthy after outrage

9.- Exhibition at National Gallery in London explores Rembrandt's final years of painting

10.- 'Hans Memling: A Flemish Renaissance' opens at the Scuderie del Quirinale in Rome

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