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Subject: Conservation principles

Conservation principles

From: Laurent Sozzani <l.sozzani>
Date: Thursday, June 22, 2006
Frank Hassard <f.hassard [at] tiscali__co__uk> writes

>A very well respected and senior member of the international
>conservation community recently stated the following:
>   "It is my belief that 'minimum-intervention' is an institutional
>    ploy to save money and to cover up a lack of skills."
>Therefore, can anyone disprove this assertion by providing me with
>examples of "non-like" restoration (such as those listed above) that
>require greater practical expertise to apply?

I think it might be important to separate reversibility of materials
from skills needed in the application of the materials as stated in
your inquiry

>... Are "minimum
>intervention" and "reversibility"  conservation"s big cover-up--as
>the citation above suggests?

Reversibility serves a particular purpose  related to future
interventions.  Minimum intervention in the context as  expressed
relates to the time  a restoration intervention might take and this
relates directly to the quote cited.

As a paintings restorer I have also asked this same questions in
cases of what I view as inadequate restorations. Usually where
cleaning and/or reconstructions are seemingly incomplete.  And
especially in cases where damages, ie. extensive abrasion, has been
left unresolved and could have been, at least in my mind, carried
much further.

In these cases, as well as in making non-integrated fills,
philosophies regarding authenticity often are used to justify
"minimal intervention." With regards to the lack of skills, in
practice I do believe this does play into the equation with some
restorers as well as do other negative factors, such as a lack of
initiative and boredom.

But I have also seen cost/time estimates by both institutional and
private restorers that offer treatment options based entirely on the
cost factor. This certainly does implicate the aspect of saving
money. Impatience and strict time lines for completing restorations
has in my experience been a source of conflict in institutions
and/or with certain keepers of collections when a picture is
undergoing a complete restoration.

I am very interested in this subject and would like to know the
context your initial citation.  Can you please send it to me or send
me the reference.

It is an important topic rarely addressed. I do hope my comments are

Laurent Sozzani
Senior Paintings Restorer
Paintings Restoration Department
Rijksmuseum Amsterdam GAA
Tol Straat 129
1074 VJ Amsterdam
The Netherlands
+31 20 6747294
Fax: +31 20 6747001

                  Conservation DistList Instance 20:1
                  Distributed: Saturday, June 24, 2006
                        Message Id: cdl-20-1-018
Received on Thursday, 22 June, 2006

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