The paintings curriculum exposes students to the many facets of paintings conservation training, including old master paintings, structural treatments of paintings on canvas, and modern and contemporary paintings and painted surfaces. Foundation courses expose students to cleaning, inpainting, the structural treatment of paintings on canvas, and the different approaches to dealing with damages such as tear repair, flattening of distorted supports, humidity treatments, consolidation of paint and ground layers, strip lining, the preparation of the lining canvas, lining reversals and re-stretching. The procedures learned and/or demonstrated depend on the condition of the particular paintings available.
Courses have been added to accommodate the growing interest in the conservation of modern and contemporary paintings. Students treat high-quality pictures by established artists, such as Yayoi Kusama, Helen Frankenthaler, William Merritt Chase, Joaquin Torres Garcia, and Esteban Vicente, to name a few. We are very fortunate to work on paintings from the Grey Art Gallery of NYU, which has works from the late 19th through the 20th centuries and is particularly strong in mid-century modern. Students learn about the techniques and materials that might be used to treat unvarnished paintings and are introduced to the often-unpredictable nature of modern paints.
Students at the advanced level also have the opportunity to create their own individualized coursework. With the guidance of a supervising instructor and the approval of the Chairman, students can work in other museums or private labs in the city, which can expose them to an even wider range of paintings and conservation problems.