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NEW: Worcester Art Museum Awarded Grant to Restore Famous Portraits

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

 

After more than 250 years, just about anyone could use a makeover. And thanks to a grant from The European Fine Art Foundation (TEFAF) Museum Restoration Fund, two treasured portraits at the Worcester Art Museum (WAM) will receive restoration treatments to help them look their best once again.

The two pendant portraits of William and Elizabeth James were painted by William Hogarth, a well-known artist and political satirist, in 1774 and stayed in the James family in England until they were sold in London in 1906. The two paintings were acquired by WAM from M. Knoedler and Co, London in December 1909, making them the first Hogarth paintings purchased by an American museum.

“For decades these valued paintings were on display in the museum’s European galleries. In 2008, however, they were relegated to storage due to their relatively poor state of preservation,” said Matthias Waschek, WAM’s director. “With this amazing conservation opportunity from TEFAF, we will be able to bring two important gems out of hiding and showcase them once again in our galleries for all to enjoy.”

WAM was one of only two museums in the world to receive a grant from the Netherlands-based TEFAF this year, and museum officials are poised to put the award to good use. Chief conservator Rita Albertson will work with WAM's paintings conservators and conservation scientists in the museum’s Fuller Conservation Laboratory to analyze and restore the paintings and their original frames using infrared reflectography, digital x-radiography and multi-spectral analysis.

The conservators will share their findings on the museum's website and produce a video of the entire process. When the makeover is complete, the rejuvenated portraits will return to WAM's galleries. 

 

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