The problems posed by the conservation of decorated surfaces are often complex, as the surfaces are integral to the architectural ensemble. Current conservation practice advocates minimal intervention and preserving the original fabric in situ. In cases where there are large losses, conservation has to strike a balance between a visually cohesive surface and the integrity of the original material. Previous restorations, some of them considered historic, present their own problems. These issues combined pose many challenges to the conservator addressing the conservation of decorated architectural surfaces.

On April 14, 2010, in an event organized by the Getty Conservation Institute, a panel of experts examined how decorated surfaces can be preserved in a way that maintains their historic integrity and cultural significance. The panel was moderated by Jeanne Marie Teutonico, associate director for programs at the Getty Conservation Institute.


Rosa Lowinger is the director and chief conservator of Rosa Lowinger & Associates, a conservation practice specializing in twentieth-century three dimensional art and architecture. Based both in Los Angeles and in Miami, Florida, she works frequently on mosaic, terrazzo, and concrete decorative surfaces, and also serves as a consultant to public art agencies and contemporary art collections throughout the United States.

Frank Matero is professor of architecture and former chairman of the program in historic preservation at the University of Pennsylvania, School of Design. His teaching and research are focused on historic building technology and the conservation of building materials, the conservation of archaeological sites, and issues related to preservation and appropriate technology for traditional societies and places. He has done conservation work at the U.S. archaeological sites of Mesa Verde, El Morro, and Bandelier National Monuments; Gordion and Çatalhöyök (Turkey); Durham Castle (Britain); Iglesia San Jose (Puerto Rico), Cairo's Ayyubid Wall (Egypt), the Guggenheim Museum (New York), and Drayton Hall (South Carolina).

Stephen Rickerby has worked extensively on wall painting projects in the United Kingdom and internationally. He has been a wall painting consultant to the Getty Conservation Institute on a large number of projects, including the Mogao Grottoes in Dunhuang, China, and is currently part of projects in Egypt in the Valley of the Queens and at the tomb of Tutankhamen. He is also involved in postgraduate teaching in Dunhuang, and co-supervises the Courtauld Institute's fieldwork sites in Cyprus, Malta, and China.

Jeanne Marie Teutonico (Moderator) is associate director for programs at the Getty Conservation Institute. An architectural conservator with over twenty years experience in the conservation of buildings and sites, she was previously on the staff of the International Centre for the Study of the Preservation and the Restoration of Cultural Property (ICCROM) in Rome and was later with English Heritage in London. She maintains research interests in the conservation and sustainable use of traditional building materials.

Last updated: March 2014