Conservation

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.

Publications

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.

Conservation

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. 

portrait of seventeenth century woman dressed in ivory and gold with a lace ruff collar.
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.

 
Two Rediscovered Tapestries
May 1, 2001 to September 9, 2001

In summer 2001, visitors enjoyed two eighteenth-century tapestries woven by the Brussels workshop of Peter van den Hecke (c. 1752). On display in the Music Room, these rare hangings are important for their state of preservation, the significance of their design, their royal provenance, and the evidence regarding the identity of their maker and manufacture. They depict scenes from Cervantes' novel Don Quixote de la Mancha, which proved to be an important literary source in the fields of fine and decorative arts for over two hundred years.

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