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Subject: Paintings on asbestos millboard

Paintings on asbestos millboard

From: Monona Rossol <actsnyc<-a>
Date: Friday, April 25, 2014
Norman E. Muller <nmuller<-a t->princeton< . >edu> writes

>The Princeton University Art Museum has three oil paintings on
>asbestos millboard by James E. Davis (1901-1974) who taught art
>classes at Princeton University for many years.  All three paintings
>were executed between 1938 and 1944.  The artist inscribed the words
>"millboard" and "asbestos" on the reverse, along with the title of
>the work, date, and his name.  We are trying to determine if other
>museums have paintings on asbestos millboard by this artist or by
>any other one, and how they have handled such dangerous material.
>The supports seem solid enough, but are fraying slightly along the

Not only were asbestos boards used, but until the middle 1980s, an
asbestos water color paper called Aquarius II was popular.  And then
there are all those theatrical paintings on asbestos fabric

These all will release fibers on occasion.  "Fraying slightly along
the edges" is actually a rather big deal.  I think you need to bring
in your Environmental Health and Safety people at Princeton.  This
is not just a conservation issue.

And technically, under the OSHA regulations, you are not allowed to
work with asbestos materials.   I'll bet no one will enforce that
rule on museums.  But you are at some risk here.  And take a look at
the place where this painting is stored.  The big risk with the
water color paper was the asbestos dust in the flat drawers.

Monona Rossol, M.S., M.F.A., Industrial Hygienist
President:  Arts, Crafts and Theater Safety, Inc.
Safety Officer: Local USA829, IATSE
181 Thompson St., #23
New York, NY 10012

                  Conservation DistList Instance 27:42
                 Distributed: Wednesday, April 30, 2014
                       Message Id: cdl-27-42-002
Received on Friday, 25 April, 2014

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