Julius Lowy Framing and Restoration: Present and Future
CONSERVATION IS AN INTERDISCIPLINARY FIELD INVOLVING STUDIO PRACTICES, SCIENCE AND THE HUMANITIES. NAVIGATING THE FIELD OF CONSERVATION IS NOT EASY BUT THE AMERICAN INSTITUTE OF CONSERVATION BOTH DEFINES AND OUTLINES THE SCOPE AND SKILL THAT A CONSERVATOR OF WORKS OF ART AND HISTORICAL WORKS MUST POSSESS. CONSERVATORS ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR THE LONG-TERM PRESERVATION OF ARTISTIC AND CULTURAL ARTIFACTS. THEY ACCOMPLISH THIS BY ANALYZING AND ASSESSING THE CONDITION OF THE WORK, UNDERSTANDING PROCESSES AND CARRYING OUT CONSERVATION TREATMENTS.
A CONSERVATOR’S RESPONSIBILITY, AS OUTLNED BY THE AIC, MAY INCLUDE:
- examination procedures to determine the materials, method of manufacture, and properties of objects or structures and the causes and extent of deterioration or alteration
- scientific analysis and research to identify historic and artistic methods and materials of fabrication, and to evaluate the efficacy and appropriateness of materials and procedures of conservation
- documentation procedures to record the condition of an object or site at a specific time, or before, during, and after treatment, and to outline treatment methods and materials in detail
- treatment, including interventive procedures, as well as passive measures to stabilize an artifact or retard its deterioration
- restoration to bring a deteriorated or damaged object or structure closer to a previous or assumed appearance or function
- advising on procedures for the safe exhibition and travel of cultural materials
BRAD SHAR, PRINCIPLE OF JULIS LOWY FRAMING AND RESTORATION, THIRD GENERATION OF A FAMILY DEVOTED TO THE HISTORICAL LEGACY AND MODERN DEVELOPMENT OF THE ART OF FRAMING AND CONSERVATION, NOW DETAILS FOR US SOME OF THE SPECIFICS OF ART CONSERVATION, AND HIS HOPES AND PLANS FOR THE FUTURE OF THE COMPANY. http://www.lowynyc.com/
BRAD, THANK YOU FOR YOUR CONTRIBUTION TO THE LRFA BLOG.
WHAT ARE SOME OF THE ORGANIZATIONS THAT SUPPORT ART CONSERVATION?
– American Institute of Conservators (AIC)
– European Institute of Conservators
– IFA Conservation Center (NYU)
– Buffalo State College Art Conservation Center
WHAT IS THE PRACTICAL PROCEDURE A CLIENT CAN EXPECT WHEN BRINGING A WORK FOR CONSERVATION? HOW DOES THE OWNER OF AN ARTWORK KNOW THAT THE WORK NEEDS CONSERVATION?
Honestly, most of the time, our clients don’t notice the need for conservation until they bring a painting in for framing. You live with your art work, so it’s a bit like looking in the mirror. The staff here tends to have a certain level of confidence when handling artworks which puts people at ease, but if you do notice something is out of place on any of your paintings, I’d encourage you to call us right away. We can arrange the safe transport of paintings within the city free of charge on our vehicle. When we recommend treatment to a painting, we’ll produce a condition report with recommended treatment, in plain language. We usually email those reports, so they can be filed, printed or shared with a consultant or insurance agent. An estimate is typically included along with a complete explanation of what we plan to do, it’s easy to read and approve.
WHAT ARE SOME OF THE FUTURE ADVANCES YOU ANTICIPATE IN THE FIELD OF CONSERVATION? I ASSUME THEY ARE TECHNICAL IN NATURE, SINCE IN EVERY ASPECT OF OUR INDUSTRY AND EVERY INDUSTRY, WE ALL BENEFIT ENORMOUSLY FROM THE WEALTH OF FAST PACED AND REMARKABLE TECHNOLOGICAL DEVELOPMENTS.
It’s hard to predict future innovations or advances, but one of the consistent problems that conservators are faced with involving modern and contemporary paintings, is that since the Impressionist period, many paintings are unvarnished by the artist, and therefore, technically unprotected. This begs the question, can a painting not intended to be varnished by the artist, later be varnished by a conservator, changing the original tone of the pigments, and affecting the aging process, which many historians believe to be part of these pictures’ history and relevance. I know there is work being done to develop reversible, non-invasive varnishes. Likewise, I believe that science related conservators are experimenting with acrylics, and other materials, which could be capable of providing a binder between canvases, and be less invasive, and more reversible than BEVA. I would expect some of these materials and techniques to be incorporated into accepted practices of conservation after a period of experimentation.
DO YOU HAVE ANY AMBITIONS TO EXPAND THE ART CONSERVATION STUDIO IN YOUR NEW LOCATION?
I’m hoping to expand my business in general in terms of all of our products, services and offerings. The move and split of the showroom and studios has created for me a more viable business model. we’ve also added to our staff a new plant manager with unique related experience, as well as new sales staff to handle the volume of designer business from the area. My vision of Lowy for the future is to continue the reputation of excellence and trust in handling and servicing all of a collectors fine arts service needs. These days Art Consultants, and Designers are typically providing full service for their collector clients, involving advisory services and research. It seems to me the field has become much more boutique oriented, compared to the days when large galleries were more abundant, and collectors relied on their advice. We’ve positioned ourselves as an extension of that service model, and see ourselves as a resource for every possible art service need. To that end, I think we’ll need to continue expansion through staff, technology, and service offerings. I’m very optimistic about the future of Lowy and the art world in general.
IN OUR NEXT LRFA BLOG, I HAVE THE PLEASURE OF INTRODUCING ERIC BAUMGARTNER, SENIOR VICE PRESIDENT AND DIRECTOR, AMERICAN PAINTINGS AND SCULPTURE, AT THE PRESTIGIOUS HIRSCHL AND ADLER GALLERIES, LOCATED IN THE CROWN BUILDING ON 5th AVENUE IN NEW YORK CITY. http://www.hirschlandadler.com/
THE BEST INTRODUCTION TO THE GALLERY’S IMPECCABLE INVENTORY OF AMERICAN AND EUROPEAN ART THAT SPANS THE EIGHTEENTH CENTURY TO THE 20th CENTURY AND ITS REMARKABLE DECORATIVE ARTS COLLECTION IS A VISIT TO THE H&A BOOTH AT THE WINTER ANTIQUES SHOW. THIS SHOW CURRENTLY ON VIEW AT THE NEW YORK PARK AVENUE ARMORY, AT 67th STREET, THROUGH FEBRUARY 1st, MARKS THE 61st YEAR OF ONE OF THE MOST PRESTIGIOUS ANTIQUES SHOWS IN AMERICA. IT PROVIDES CURATORS, COLLECTORS, DEALERS AND DESIGNERS A WONDERFUL OPPORTUNITY TO VIEW EXCEPTIONAL PIECES SHOWCASED BY 73 EXHIBITORS.
YOU’RE IN FOR A TREAT!