Julius Lowy: The Art of Conservation
ESTABLISHED IN 1907, THE FINE ART CONSERVATION STUDIOS AT JULIUS LOWY FRAMING AND RESTORATION HAVE A LONG AND RESPECTED HISTORY OF PRESERVING WORKS ON ART. THE STUDIOS TREAT WORKS THAT RANGE HISTORICALLY FROM OLD MASTER TO CONTEMPORARY PAINTING AND WORKS ON PAPER. LOWY’S EXPERTS HAVE TREATED WORKS BY THE WORLD’S MOST CELEBRATED ARTISTS: FRENCH IMPRESSIONISTS SUCH AS RENOIR, MONET AND DEGAS; AMERICAN LUMINARIES THAT INCLUDE JOHN SINGER SARGENT, WILLIAM MERRIT CHASE AND MAXWELL PARRISH; DISTINGUISHED HUDSON RIVER PAINTERS SUCH AS THOMAS COLE AND FREDERIC CHURCH; TWENTIETH CENTURY MASTERS THAT INCLUDE GEORGIA O’KEEFFE, MARK ROTHKO AND WILLEM DE KOONING. http://www.lowy1907.com
THE ORIGINAL INTENT OF THE ARTIST REIGNS SUPREME IN THE CONSERVATOR’S DECISION-MAKING PROCESS WITH EACH AND EVERY WORK OF ART. LOWY’S CONSERVATION SPECIALISTS ARE COMMITTED TO THE CONSERVATION PRINCIPLE OF MINIMAL INVASION, STUDIOUSLY EMPLOYING ADVANCED MATERIALS AND TECHNIQUES IN THIS EFFORT.
TODAY, BRAD SHAR, A PARTNER AND PRINCIPAL AT LOWY, WILL EXPAND OUR KNOWLEDGE OF THE FIELD OF ART CONSERVATION IN GENERAL AND LOWY’S EXCEPTIONAL CONTRIBUTIONS TO ITS ADVANCEMENT IN PARTICULAR.
BRAD, THANK YOU. WHAT ADVANTAGES DO YOU SEE IN THE NEW LOCATION? ARE YOU PLANNING ANY TECHNICAL CHANGES TO THE WORKING METHODOLOGY AND PROCESS?
The biggest advantage of the new location is convenience. It allows us to reach and be reached by our existing and new clients, and we’re focusing on promoting the full-service nature of Lowy, specifically house calls, and full fine art services including high-tech digital photography and archiving. Interaction with our clients remains consistent as it has always been. We can do consultations here at the showroom, on-site in their homes, at our Long Island City facility, or through email.
YOU HAVE ALWAYS INVESTED IN MAINTAINING AND MODERNIZING YOUR TECHNOLOGY, BOTH IN TERMS OF YOUR WEB SITE AND, MOST IMPORTANTLY,WITH STATE OF THE ART CONSERVATION EQUIPMENT AND TECHNOLOGY. PLEASE TELL US ABOUT THIS ASPECT OF JULIUS LOWY.
The web site has been recently updated with a new look, and new simplified navigation. We also have a new url: www.lowy1907.com, along with a frequently updated blog, and Facebook page.
Ever since launching the first of its kind virtual framing software, Lowyscan, we’ve always been interested in leveraging modern technology to assist in the visualization process. We continue to evolve the in-house software. Staff of the conservation lab attend AIC conferences annually, and make sure that we acquire any new devices available to make their jobs easier and more accurate.
HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE YOUR CONSERVATION STUDIO? WHAT MAKES IT TOP OF THE LINE?
Of course we have all of the top technological equipment, such as a modern hot table and paper press, but what makes our conservation studio top notch is really the Staff.
We have Bill Santel, our Chief conservator, and New York based for over 30 years, working with Lauren Rich, our Senior Conservator, bringing youth and curriculum to the room, as well as 15 years of practical experience. To round out the room, we have structural and color experts, and we maintain a cross-cultural technique exchange program which we award to 1 foreign intern per year. This allows us to teach our techniques to those from European and South American countries, as well as continually learn from them.
WHAT KIND OF EQUIPMENT IS REQUIRED IN ORDER TO CLEAN PAINTINGS IN PARTICULAR? WHAT ARE SOME OF THE TOOLS REQUIRED FOR ART CONSERVATION?
The equipment required to clean paintings hasn’t changed greatly over the last 50 years, it’s really more about a study of chemistry and more academic understanding of the aggressiveness of each chemical, and how each one interacts with the different artist’s materials that had been available at the time of creation for each piece. The cleaning process is still really done using various chemicals, and cotton swabs.
ART CONSERVATION IS, BY ITS VERY NATURE, INTERDISCIPLINARY. EXPERTISE GLEANED FROM SUCH DIVERSE FIELDS AS BIOLOGY, CHEMISTRY, CONSERVATION AND ART HISTORY PROVIDE INFORMATION NECESSARY TO SOLVE SPECIFIC PRESERVATION AND RESTORATION CONCERNS. LOWY’S SPECIALISTS ARE CONSTANTLY WORKING TO DEVELOP AND IMPROVE THE CONSERVATION STUDIO’S KNOWLEDGE AND TECHNOLOGY.
IN OUR NEXT LRFA BLOG WE WILL EXPLORE SOME SPECIFIC INSTANCES IN WHICH THIS COLLABORATIVE EFFORT TRANSFORMS A DETERIORATING WORK OF ART INTO ONE THAT IS TRUE TO THE ARTIST’S ORIGINAL INTENT BUT PRESERVED FOR CURRENT AND FUTURE GENERATIONS.
YOUR COMMENTS, QUESTIONS AND SUGGESTIONS ARE VERY WELCOME! THANK YOU FOR READING THE LRFA BLOG AND YOUR CONTRIBUTIONS TO ITS CONTENT AND DIRECTION.
MORE TO FOLLOW!