Salmagundi Art Club of New York


Art Investigation: Microanalysis
Upper Gallery, May 24, 2018

Thursday, 6:15PM - 8PM.

Sponsored by the SCNY Program Committee.
Admission is free; RSVP required.
Please call 212 255 7740 to attend.

Microscopy and Early Modern Masters: Painting Methods and Color Change in Works by Edvard Munch, Henri Matisse, Pablo Picasso, and Amedeo Modigliani

Presented with the NY Microscopical Society and by:

Jennifer L. Mass, Ph.D.

Andrew W. Mellon Professor of Cultural Heritage Science
Bard Graduate Center for Decorative Arts, Design History, and Material Culture
President, Scientific Analysis of Fine Art, LLC

The new painting materials used by the Impressionists, the early modernists, and the Expressionists were critical components of their break with traditional modes of representation.  These artists explored synthetic organic and inorganic pigments that were newly available as a result of the chemical revolutions of the 19th century. However, the bright and novel hues that made their way onto these artists’ palettes and in many cases defined the movements listed above were often not manufactured properly. As a result, pigments ranged from being highly fugitive to rapidly discolored. Just over 100 years after these paintings were made, we are now seeing these unstable materials  react with adjacent or admixed pigments, agents of degradation in the environment, and even the binding media surrounding them.

With strikingly colorful images and animated discussion combining micro- and macro- scientific analysis with related connoisseurship, Dr. Jennifer Mass conveys her enthusiasm and expert investigation of visible color changes due to factors such as pigment chemistry in paintings from the early modernists. The voluble and erudite Jennifer Mass also shares rediscoveries of paintings "buried" inside later paintings and overlooked until recently. 

About the Presenter:

Cultural heritage scientist, expert microscopist, and university professor Dr. Jennifer Mass, Ph.D., draws international attention in media such as the BBC, NPR's Science Friday,  MSNBC, London's Daily Telegraph, The Washington Post, the L.A. Times, The New York Times, and more. Jennifer Mass studies and teaches about structures, materials, and states of preservation in fine and decorative arts, and advances knowledge in relevant materials science and technical cultural history. Dr Mass' laboratory research, and her perceptive interdisciplinary collaboration, instruction, and counsel build on over 20 years of education and research, on long service in the conservation laboratories of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Winterthur Museum of fine and decorative art, and on over ten years advising many authentication and attribution projects with curators, for collectors, and for the trade.  She has also taught for over twenty years in the Buffalo, Delaware, and NYU art conservation master’s degree programs.

Jennifer Mass conducts heritage science research, and teaches courses on conservation for non-scientists, as Bard Graduate Center's Andrew W. Mellon Visiting Professor in the Bard / Mellon Foundation  "Cultures of Conservation" initiative to deepen dialogue and broaden bases relating  conservation of cultural heritage to other human sciences, especially art history, anthropology, archaeology, and history.

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