(Helvoirt, 12 January 2017) The Executive Committee of The European Fine Art Foundation (TEFAF) has awarded €54,000 to three distinct projects, two larger and one smaller, either side of the Atlantic. One is the restoration and reconstruction of the never before seen work by Auguste Rodin (1840-1917) entitled Absolution (c.1900) in the Musée Rodin collection, France. The second is the conservation of Judith with the Head of Holofernes (c.1570) by Titian (14881576), which has been on near constant display since entering the collection of the Detroit Institute of Arts, USA, in 1938. The final, smaller, project is the conservation of Der Blaue Reiter (1912), a journal edited by Wassily Kandinsky (1866-1944) and Franz Marc (1880-1916). This 140-page journal includes 34 unnumbered plates (6 in colour and 28 in monochrome), 2 foldouts and 2 pages of musical scores. It was acquired jointly in 2015 by the RKD, Stedelijk Museum, Museum Boijmans van Beuningen and Gemeentemuseum, all based in The Netherlands.
The TEFAF Museum Restoration Fund was set up in 2012 to help museums and institutions worldwide restore and conserve works of art in their collections. It is one of a selection of initiatives run by the not-for-profit European Fine Art Foundation which demonstrates the Foundations ongoing dedication to supporting and protecting the arts. Museums and institutions that have attended TEFAF Maastricht are eligible to apply for the grants, which are awarded by an independent panel of experts.
Presentations about each project will be displayed at TEFAF Maastricht, the world’s leading fine art and antiques Fair, which takes place from the 10-19 March at the MECC (Maastricht Exhibition and Congress Centre), Maastricht, The Netherlands.
Musée Rodin Absolution, a work blending sculpture and fabric, will be restored for the centenary of Rodin’s death and presented to the public for the first time in March 2017 at the Musée Rodin, Paris. Although the work has not been precisely dated, its conception dates from around 1900; this is the first time it has been restored since its creation. Absolution resembles no other work by Rodin and it testifies to his bold and modern outlook. It is composed of three plaster sculptures: the large torso of the seated Ugoliono, the Martyr’s head, and the Earth, all created in the 1890s. The complete work is partially covered by a large piece of plastered fabric.
The restoration of this work is particularly complex and requires two different kinds of expertise from two specialists: a painting restorer for the drapery and a sculpture restorer for the plaster elements. Currently, the three plaster sections have come apart, and need to be repositioned and fixed. The fabric pieces have lost their folds and shape and there are many losses in the plaster coating that held the drapery in place, with splinters that are in danger of breaking off.
Once the work has been restored, it will be presented to the public for the first time at the inauguration of the ‘Kiefer Rodin’ exhibition in March 2017, at the Musée Rodin in Paris. Following this, the work will be on permanent display at the Musée Rodin in Meudon.
Detroit Institute of Arts Judith with the Head of Holofernes (c.1570) by Titian (1488-1576) is a work of major significance that has not been conserved in over 75 years. Despite its condition, the painting is so important it has remained on view at the Detroit Institute of Arts for millions of museum visitors since it arrived in 1938. The ultimate treatment goal is the systematic preservation of the painting for future generations of visitors.
The aim of the research and conservation treatment is to improve the painting both physically and aesthetically. This will be done through the careful removal or reduction of discoloured varnish layers, which will allow for the evaluation of the painting’s condition and to better analyse its subject matter.
The funds given will enable the use of new technologies and imaging applications that have not previously been used at the Detroit Institute of Arts. Through these techniques the Institute will develop new scholarship and interpretations around Titian’s masterpiece enabling visitors and researchers to gain a more complete understanding of Titian’s remarkable aesthetic achievements. The research will contribute invaluable new information about Titian’s artistic processes as well as the organisation and structure of his workshop.
TEFAF Maastricht has welcomed a large number of international museums and institutions over the last 30 years. The TEFAF Museum Restoration Fund was created out of a desire to give something back to these institutions, who have supported TEFAF for many years. The Fund aims to support complex and challenging projects as well as to share widely conservation and restoration knowledge.
The international panel of experts which made the decision for the 2017 grant of the Fund was chaired by Professor Dr Henk van Os, former director of the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam, who is Chairman of the Antiquairs Vetting Committees at TEFAF. Its other members are Rachel Kaminsky, a private art dealer from New York who was formerly head of the Old Master paintings department at Christie’s, David Bull, a paintings restorer, and Dr Kenson Kwok, the former and founding director of the Asian Civilisations Museum and the Peranakan Museum in Singapore.
-Notes to Editors-
TEFAF Maastricht, the world’s leading art and antiques Fair, is unequalled in the quality of its offering, championing the finest art dealers and experts from around the world. TEFAF is a notfor-profit foundation acting as an expert guide for both private and institutional collectors in a global marketplace, which inspires lovers and buyers of art everywhere. The 30th edition of TEFAF Maastricht will be held in the MECC Maastricht from 10-19 March 2017.
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