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Judith Praska Distinguished Visiting Professors
In Conservation and Technical Studies

Thanks to a generous anonymous donation, a new visiting professorship in conservation and technical studies was inaugurated in Fall 2012. The Judith Praska Distinguished Visiting Professor in Conservation is named in honor of the donor’s grandmother. Inspired by the Kirk Varnedoe Memorial Professorship, this visiting position is awarded to a prominent conservator or scientist who brings new areas for research and teaching to our program. The Praska Professor is invited for a semester to the Institute of Fine Arts to teach in his or her area of specialty, particularly in courses designed for both conservation and art history students. The Professor also gives one public lecture on his or her research at the Institute. Previous lectures by the Judith Praska Distinguished Visiting Professor in Conservation can be found in our video archvive.

watch online

The Insitute is pleased to welcome Karl Buchberg and David Saunders in a dual appointment as the 2017-18 Judith Praska Visiting Professors in Conservation and Technical Studies. Karl will join the program in fall 2017 and will teach a course tentatively titled “Technical Art History within the Museum Setting.” David will join the Conservation Center in spring 2018 and the title of his course will be “Imaging Technologies and Other Non-invasive Methods of Analysis.”

Karl Buchberg

Karl Buchberg has a B.A. from Columbia University and holds a master’s degree in art history and an advanced certificate in conservation from the Conservation Center of the Institute of Fine Arts, New York University. He was the Conservator of Rare Books and Specials Collections at the Firestone Library of Princeton University from 1980-1986. He was a part time lecturer at the Conservation Program at the School of Library Service at Columbia University from 1984-1990. He has recently retired after a tenure of thirty years from The Museum of Modern Art where he was Senior Conservator specializing in paper conservation. During this time, he was co-curator for the landmark exhibition Henri Matisse: The Cut-Outs at MoMA; the first time a conservator had the role of curator at the museum. In addition, he contributed technical catalogue essays for both the Georges Seurat, The Drawings and Degas: A Strange New Beauty.


David Saunders

David Saunders received his DPhil in chemistry before joining the National Gallery, London in 1985. From 2005–2015 he was Keeper of the Department of Conservation and Scientific Research at the British Museum, where he is now an honorary research fellow. His research interests – and the subjects of over 100 publications in the field – encompass the deterioration of museum objects, particularly pigments and painted surfaces and the effect of display and storage environments on such damage. He also pioneered the application of high-resolution digital imaging methods to assist in the examination of paintings and other cultural heritage objects. He is a Syndic of the Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge, a fellow of the Society of Antiquaries of London and a fellow and vice president of the International Institute for Conservation (IIC). From 2003 to 2009 he was IIC Director of Publications and was an editor of Studies in Conservation for nearly 20 years. He was a guest scholar at the Getty Conservation Institute in 2015-2016, researching a book on museum lighting for conservators and curators. He returned to the Getty Research Institute and the Waddesdon Archive at Waddesdon Manor in 2017 as the inaugural Getty/Rothschild Fellow.

Archive

2016 - 2017

Lawrence Becker

Lawrence Becker received a master’s degree in art history and an advanced certificate in conservation from the Institute of Fine Arts in 1982 and has been a practicing conservator for over thirty-five years. Initially concentrating primarily on the conservation of archaeological sculpture and objects from Egypt, West Asia, and the Greco-Roman world, his focus gradually shifted during his career toward the arts of South, Southeast, and East Asia. The majority of his career has been spent at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, where he was Sherman Fairchild Conservator in Charge of the Objects Conservation Department from 2003 - 2014 and Senior Conservator from 2014 - 2016. He has played a leading role in the Indian Conservation Fellowship Program, working with colleagues in the U.S., the Netherlands and India to enhance the professional development of younger Indian conservators and help address collection needs at Indian museums, monuments, and archaeological sites.


Thea B. van Oosten

Thea B. van Oosten received a master’s in analytical chemistry from the University of Amsterdam and specialized in polymers at the National Dutch Graduate School of Polymer Science and Technology. For 36 years, Thea was a conservation scientist at the Cultural Heritage Agency of the Netherlands (RCE, former ICN) in Amsterdam before she retired in 2011. In addition to her professional experience, Thea comes to us with an extensive teaching record. As a recognized expert in the conservation of modern and contemporary art and design objects, she has contributed to several publications and books, such as Modern Art, who Cares, Plastics, Collecting and Conserving, Plastics in Art and Preservation of Plastic Artefacts in Museum Collections. One of her research topics was the consolidation of polyurethane foams, which resulted in a book published in May 2011, called PUR Facts, Conservation of Polyurethane foam in Art and Design. In spring 2016, Thea received a stipend as Independent Scholar at the Getty Conservation Institute to complete her most recent book titled A Matter of Choice: Properties of Plastics for Conservation.

2015 - 2016

Cathleen Baker

Conservation Librarian and Exhibit Conservator at the University of Michigan Library


Salvador Muñoz Viñas

Professor, Polytechnic University of Valencia (UPV), Head of the paper conservation section of the UPV Conservation Research Institute, and Director of the Conservation Department of the UPV

2014 - 2015

Alan Phenix

Scientist at the Getty Conservation Institute


Julie Wolfe

Associate Conservator in Decorative Arts and Sculpture Conservation at The J. Paul Getty Museum

2013 - 2014

Carol Mancusi-Ungaro

Carol Mancusi-Ungaro, Associate Director of Conservation and Research, Whitney Museum of American Art and Founding Director of the Center for Technical Study of Modern Art at the Harvard Art Museums

2012 - 2013

Christine Frohnert

Christine Frohnert, Conservator of Contemporary Art, Modern Materials and Media, Bek & Frohnert LLC