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Old Master Prints and Drawings: A Guide to Preservation and Conservation
Book by Marjorie B. Cohn, Marjorie B. Cohn, Caroline Corrigan, Marie Christine Enshaian, Marie Rose Greca, Carlo James; Amsterdam University Press, 1997
IN THIS STUDY OF THE PRESERVATION AND conservation of works of art on paper, we have wanted to take on the problems of conservation in all of their historical, material and scientific complexity, considering drawings and prints from the
introduction of paper into Europe (about 1150) up to the middle of the nineteenth century. The work is divided into four sections:
I. I The material character of the work of art on paper
II. II Preservation
III. III Conservation
IV. IV Specific conservation techniques
This organization makes possible different approaches according to the problems under consideration; however, our constant concern has been to emphasize the interdependence of the various domains, as well as matters more or less specific to conservation, and this formed the guiding principle of our exposition. The first part, after an introduction that covers the tangible additions made by collectors to works of art on paper, offers a detailed description of the supports and techniques of drawings and prints. A systematic methodology is given to aid their recognition and exact description. The second part puts print and drawing collections into historical perspective and explains how some conservation problems are directly associated with preservation methods. This is followed by a chapter on the actual criteria for preservation and the factors that can cause the deterioration of works of art on paper. The third part, dedicated to conservation properly speaking, opens with a historical section followed by a summary of conservation techniques for the purposes of curators, to allow them to make sense of the possibilities offered by conservation
and to evaluate their risks. Some reflections on the training of conservators and the delicate relationship between conservators and curators conclude this part.
The fourth part evaluates the basic techniques of conservation and the direct or collateral effects which they may have on the various materials and techniques of drawings and prints. Even before undertaking such a difficult and complex project, it was obvious that a critical and stimulating collaboration like that which I have enjoyed with my three co-authors was essential. Our goal has been to offer to conservation students as complete a body of related material as possible. Further, we have wanted to make all those who deal with works of art on paper -- curators, conservators, technicians, and researchers -- aware of the various issues which are involved in one way or another in their particular activities, or which interfere with them. We hope that this guide can serve as a stimulus to a broader, more universal consideration of a field where some areas have not yet been sufficiently explored. Since the appearance of our book, many publications on the history of collecting have been produced, proving that our Chapter vi satisfies a real need for solid information on this subject. This chapter, as well as others, has been substantially revised for this edition.
The first suggestion for a guide to the conservation of works of art on paper was made to me by Prof. Bert Meijer, director of the Instituto Universitario Olandese di Storia dell'Arte in Florence, who, together with his wife Laura, has aided and
encouraged me through all these years that were necessary for the preparation of this work. Carlos van Hasselt, then director of the Collection F. Lugt, Fondation Custodia, in Paris, whose interest in everything that concerns the history of collections
is well known, energized and gave focus to our little group beginning in 1980, sensitized me to these issues and has been my guide in research in this area. My work as an instructor in the Institut Franais des Ouvres d'Art in Paris and my intima-
te collaboration with Gilbert Delcroix, formerly technical director and a great expert in the field of conservation, have allowed me to see more clearly the interconnections among the various aspects of conservation, art history and even the most
specialized scientific and scholarly issues.