Thaw Conservation Center's blog
This is a guest post by Lindsey Tyne, Conservation Librarian, NYU Libraries
Ashley Bryan (1923–2022) used colored and hand-painted papers cut into the shapes of people, ships, water, land, and sky to create the collages that fill the pages of Sail Away, 2015, as printed images. When these eighteen collages (2021.25:1–18) entered the collection of the Morgan Library & Museum in 2021 as a gift of the Ashley Bryan Center, I was drawn to the rich colors and textures of the collage papers and immediately recognized one paper, Canson Mi-Teintes®, by its distinctive honeycomb texture.
This post was created by Lindsey Tyne, Associate Paper Conservator
The gold, silver, red, and blue flakes that give Standing Together, 1986 (2018.105) by Luster Willis (1913–1990) its seductive sparkle are commonly known as glitter. Many of us instinctively know what glitter looks like and may even recall a childhood craft project or a greeting card we recently received, despite the fact that how glitter is made and what it is made of are trade secrets.
In anticipation of the upcoming exhibition Bound for Versailles: The Jayne Wrightsman Bookbindings Collection, on view June 25 through September 26, 2021, our conservators from the Thaw Conservation Center took a close look at techniques used in creating these elaborate works of art.
Several of the drawings included in Édouard Vuillard: Sketches and Studies come from sketchbooks spanning the artist’s entire career with dates as early as the 1890s to the 1930s. This exhibition provides the unique opportunity to learn about Vuillard’s preferred sketching materials. While preparing the drawings for installation, I looked for connections between them, with particular attention to similarities and differences in the physical evidence.
Over 900 objects relating to Maurice Sendak’s (1928–2012) stage designs for The Magic Flute, The Cunning Little Vixen, Love for Three Oranges, The Nutcracker, and an opera based on Where the Wild Things Are arrived at the Morgan in 2013 as part of the artist’s extraordinary bequest. For many of us, the magic of Sendak’s books, in particular Where the Wild Things Are, live vividly in the memories of our childhood. It is thus both a delight and an honor to create a safe home for these wonderful objects.
An earlier post discussed some of the traditional colors that appear in the Morgan’s block books. In most cases, the hand-applied colors are typical of the dyes and pigments seen in the Middle Ages and Renaissance. However, a few unexpected pigments were discovered during the study of these fifteenth-century books, enabling a better understanding of how some of them were changed over the centuries.
When looking at a medieval manuscript, it is often the illuminations that catch the eye—colorful figures rendered in miniature, gleaming gold backgrounds, ornate initials that twirl and bloom across the margins. But beyond the illuminations, and even beyond the text, the substrate itself merits closer inspection.
Thaw Conservation Center
The Thaw Conservation Center at The Morgan Library & Museum, a world-class laboratory for the conservation of works on paper and parchment—drawings, prints, photographs, illuminated manuscripts, rare books, fine bindings, and literary, historical, and music manuscripts—as well as a place for conservation studies, opened in February 2002.
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