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Karen L. Pavelka






 

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Treatment of Watercolor
2012

Historic Significance

James Gordon Riely (1863-1937), was a prominent architect who worked primarily in Texas and the New York area.  He built many residences, commercial and public buildings including 16 courthouses in Texas.  He is known for his work in the Richardsonian Romanesque style and the  Renaissance Revival style and for his commitment to raising professional standards in architecture profession.

 

The Decker Building was built to house the Decker Piano Company in 1902.  It is still standing on Union Square, although in the present day it is also known as the Union Building.  Perhaps its most significant tenant was Andy Warhol whose Factory resided there from 1967 1973.  It was in that building that Valerie Solanas shot Warhol over artistic differences regarding a film production.

 

Description and Condition

The drawing is executed in watercolor with a light, graphite under drawing.  The artist used shades of brown, beige, orange and red to portray the building.  The sky is lightly sketched in blue and 9 pedestrians and their shadows are depicted in dark red, brown and violet.  The image retains a vibrant appearance and there is no apparent sign of fading or color shift.  A heavy, black ink signature appears in the lower right-hand corner.  Before treatment the drawing was in fair condition overall, marred by several dark stains, mat burn and residual mat fragments.

 

Treatment

The fragments were removed from the perimeter of the drawing mechanically, assisted by local applications of moisture.  As the fragments were removed in the lower, right corner, two more figures were revealed.  The dark stains were reduced using applications of organic solvents on the suction table.  Finally, the drawing was washed on the suction table.  The drawing appears slightly lighter and brighter after the washing, although the color balance in the treatment photographs is not accurate.


Overall before
After
                overall
corner before
corner after
Before treatment
After treatment
Before treatment, detail
After treatment, detail


Treatment of watercolor
2013

Description and Condition

The watercolor drawing is a stylized image depicting trees, foliage and figures.  A pale, graphite under-drawing is visible.  The artist's signature, in a heavier application of graphite, appears in the lower right corner.  The drawing is in good condition overall, marred by a light layer of surface grime overall.  The most prominent visible damage is a series of stains resulting from the application of pressure sensitive tape, apparently rubber based.  The adhesive has become a dark yellowish brown.  Tape stains appear on the obverse and reverse.

 

Treatment

Testing showed no visible change to the tape stains with organic solvents.  After consultation with the curator, the adhesive was removed mechanically working under magnification with tungsten needles, scalpels and tweezers  and creating as little disruption to the paper fibers as possible.


Photography
It was necessary to use different backgrounds on the before and after detail shots to get a more accurate representation of the white paper.

 


Before
After
Before treatment
After treatment

detail
Detail
detail
Detail
Detail left side, before treatment
Detail left side, after treatment
Detail rigt side, before treatment
Detail right side, after treatment


Oil absorbent pads:  An addition to the disaster response toolkit

In Spring, 2013, in a class that explored disaster salvage techniques, one experiment involved wetting materials with water contaminated with motor oil.  Salvaging the objects from the oily environment proved to be challenging; detergents were slow but effective and required copious amounts of water.  In a search for alternative methods we found oil absorbent pads, which absorb oil while repelling water.  The pads are fabricated of polypropylene fibers.  A series of tests was run to see how the materials might be used during disaster salvage.  The experiments described in the page linked below are preliminary and not quantified.


Oil_scavenger.html





Comparison of silica gel with blotters in a microclimate

Here is a description of a quick and dirty experiment to evaluate sealed packages to be used for a short term exhibit of prints.  The borrowing institution did not have an HVAC system and we needed to test systems to protect the prints.  We ended up comparing the effectiveness of silica gel with multiple sheets of blotter paper to buffer the environment.


Buffer comparison



More coming soon!








Karen L. Pavelka
Last updated 2013
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