Hello from the Getty Conservation Institute – Our Project

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Monday 19 August 2013
Sarah Hillary

Kia ora from the Getty Conservation Institute in Los Angeles, where I am working for the next three weeks. Conservation Scientist Tom Learner, and I will be preparing material for the exhibition Modern Paints Aotearoa, which is scheduled to open at Auckland Art Gallery in April next year.


Auckland Art Gallery Principal Conservator Sarah Hillary and Conservation Scientist Tom Learner in the Getty Conservation Institute analytical lab.

The exhibition will examine the relationship between artistic innovation and painting materials in New Zealand art history, from the late 1950s until the early 1970s.

An understanding of materials is not necessary for appreciation of a painting, but it can provide a valuable insight into the artistic process because the choice of materials has a huge effect on what artists can produce. Big changes occurred in the New Zealand art in the 1960s at the same time as a range of new painting materials became available.


Acrylic paint samples in the GCI lab.

The Getty Conservation Institute have been carrying out a study of modern paints for many years so that conservators will be better informed about how to preserve them. They have collaborated with conservators from many different countries during this time and the New Zealand project has involved staff from Auckland Art Gallery and Te Papa.

My next few blogs will look at the processes that we have to go through when identifying (or characterising) the paint medium and some of the other work going on here at the GCI.