2014 Baird Fellowship Lectures
May 20, 2014
This year’s lectures feature:
Ariel O’Connor, Assistant Objects Conservator, The Walters Art Museum
“Casting and Inlay Technology in Ancient Chinese Ceremonial Weapons”
The Harvard Art Museums contain one of the world’s largest collections of inlayed Chinese ritual weapons from the Shang dynasty (c. 1600–1046 BCE). These weapons are ornately decorated with turquoise inlay, exemplifying power and elitism in early Chinese society; yet little is known about their manufacture and use. A technical study of 32 inlayed weapons and pre-Shang plaques has yielded new observations on early technology and production organization in ancient China. This project also compared the museums’ collection with contemporaneous, excavated inlayed weapons now housed in Be?ing, Anyang, and Taipei.
Louise Orsini, Assistant Conservator of Paintings, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
“The Technical Examination of Cézanne’s Still Life with Commode”
The recent renovation of the Harvard Art Museums provided an opportunity for the technical examination of Paul Cezanne’s Still Life with Commode (c. 1887–88). Certain passages of the paint ?lm were suspected to be later repainting, but closer examination found these passages to be consistent with Cezanne’s known practices. The examination also included comparison with a rare second version of this work, from the Neue Pinakothek in Munich
Gabriel Dunn, Assistant Paintings Conservator, Whitten & Proctor Fine Art Conservation
“Johannes Molzahn: Cubo-Futuristic Abstractionist”
The Busch-Reisinger Museum is home to German artist Johannes Molzahn’s double-sided painting Homunculus (1920). Treatment and technical study of the painting, in addition to research on other rare works by Molzahn in the United States and Germany, have provided insight into the artist’s methods and techniques. The presentation will also touch upon recent revelations with regard to the infamous art forger Wolfgang Beltracci.
Marion Verborg, Paper Conservator and Lab Manager, Cologne (Germany) City Archive
“Printing on Unusual Supports: Lichtenstein’s Prints from the 1960s”
Lichtenstein combined new developments in printing technique with unusual supports, including plastic, Plexiglas, and metal. The goals of this project are 1) to increase knowledge of the artist’s materials and techniques, as well as his method of working; 2) to correct existing catalogue records about the materials used; and 3) to understand the degradation processes related to those materials. The project presents a technical study and comparison of the condition of Lichtenstein’s artworks on unusual supports from the Harvard Art Museums and other US and European collections.
The Baird Fellowship provides funds for several months of travel upon completion of a fellowship at the Harvard Art Museums. Recipients are asked to give a lecture at Harvard University within two years of receiving the fellowship, and to make diligent e?orts to publish the research resulting from the fellowship in a professional journal or other publication.