First Enamel Conservation Symposium Held in U.S.

Experts’ Meeting on Enamel on Metal Conservation
October 8 and 9, 2010

Academic Programs

The Conservation Department provides information on technical studies and conservation and preservation issues, by developing symposia, working with interns, and lecturing at seminars and conferences.


The Conservation Department conducts surveys of specific collections, such as frames or enamels, in order to gather detailed information and document the condition of these objects. This information is combined with historical material and included in an up-to-date database. These surveys assist in prioritizing the conservation needs of the Collection.

To learn more about recent surveys carried out at the Frick, click on the images below.

Historic Preservation

Conservation is involved in various aspects of the historic preservation of the Frick mansion, including both outdoor and interior decorative elements and structures, lighting, fabric, and display, and in remodeling projects in the galleries.

To learn more about historic preservation at the Frick, click on the images below.

Technical Study and Research

The Conservation and Curatorial departments are currently working on the technical study of two French objects in The Frick Collection: Dressoir with Harpy Supports, Terms, and Strapwork Reliefs and the bronze sculpture Angel by Jean Barbet.

Analysis and research are being carried out to help us understand the method of fabrication, surface treatment, and previous conservation, as well as assist with dating the works. These types of studies are a collaborative effort between scholars, curators, scientists, and conservators.


Relevant Publications

Joseph Godla, Conservator, The Frick Collection, "Jean-Henri Riesner, Cabinetmaker to King Louis XVI," The Frick Collection Members’ Magazine, vol. 6, no. 2 (Spring/Summer 2006): 7–9.

Silver-Gilt Objects

Silver is a noble metal, and its physical properties, such as malleability, corrosion resistance, color, and luster, have been exploited for centuries. It typically appears white and shiny but will tarnish quickly when exposed to air, initially turning yellow, then dark iridescent gray. The removal of tarnish requires polishing, either with abrasives or chemical dissolution, which can remove fine detail or plating through repeated use. To minimize the effects of this treatment, museums typically exhibit silver objects in cases designed to reduce exposure to atmospheric pollution.


The Frick Collection's Conservation Department is responsible for the conservation, treatment, and technical study of the objects in the Collection, as well as the preservation issues for both the Collection and the historic interiors of the Frick mansion. 

In the spring of 2010 Bellini’s St. Francis in the Desert underwent an unprecedented technical study at The Metropolitan Museum of Art that incorporated infrared reflectography, X-radiography, surface examination, and paint analysis. The results, which are presented in this lecture by Charlotte Hale, expand our understanding of the evolution and history of this spectacular, enigmatic painting. This lecture was made possible by the Robert H. Smith Family Foundation.


Masterpieces by Gilbert Stuart and Anthony Van Dyck Return to the Galleries

March 21, 2002 to April 25, 2002

Gilbert Stuart was the foremost portrait painter of the newly formed United States. He painted many of the most prominent figures of his day, including the first five American presidents, but none of the thousand portraits he made attained such renown as the three he painted from life of George Washington and those he replicated to order throughout his later career. To most visitors to The Frick Collection, Stuart's George Washington is instantly recognizable; in a collection of mainly European masterpieces, it is the only painting of an American by an American.