Focus Meeting: Conservation of Twentieth-Century Outdoor Painted Sculpture

In June 2012, the GCI organized a focus meeting exploring the many issues and challenges posed by the conservation of twentieth-century outdoor painted sculpture.

Hosted by the Metropolitan Museum in New York, it gathered thirty invited participants from North America and Europe, representing the main groups involved in the conservation of outdoor painted sculpture: conservators (from both private and institutional sectors), artists estates, foundations and studios, paint industry professionals, collection managers, and curators.

The meeting took stock of current interests, needs, and practices in the conservation of modern and contemporary outdoor painted sculpture.

Conservation of these works is especially challenging, given the uncontrolled, and often harsh, environments to which works are constantly exposed; yet there is the expectation that their painted surfaces should remain pristine. Although approaches to conservation of these sculptures exist, most involve major interventions, such as full repainting of a work, and are often very costly.

While these issues are not unique to outdoor painted sculpture, it is clear that conservation practice in this area will be advanced most effectively through close cooperation of several professions, in particular conservators, paint chemists, paint applicators, and the artists estates/foundations/studios.

By fostering a dialogue among participants, these issues were discussed and possible responses explored.

Observations and conclusions from the meeting are summarized in the meeting report.


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