Dallas Museum of Art’s Painting Conservation Lab Opens in November


On Monday morning the Dallas Museum of Art announced plans to launch its new Paintings Conservation Studio in November. To mark the occasion the institution has acquired Daniel Buren‘s large-scale installation “Sanction of the Museum” (1973), on which it recently completed conservation work after it had been kept in storage by a previous owner for nearly 30 years.

The new conservation lab will be visible to visitors both from the adjoining sculpture terrace, and from the new conservation gallery, where works from the museum’s permanent collection will be presented in a particularly conservation-oriented manner. The lab will be led by the DMA’s chief conservator, Mark Leonard, and Fran Baas, its newly appointed associate conservator of objects.

As part of its inaugural programming the Paintings Conservation Studio is partnering with the University of Texas at Dallas and the University of North Texas in Denton on a trio of projects analyzing artists’ techniques, materials, and technologies, from a close analysis of a particular shade of blue pigment in a Paul Gauguin painting from the museum’s collection, to developing new techniques for sampling silverplated artifacts. The studio is equipped with a digital x-ray system. In addition to an anonymous lead donation, the new conservation facility was made possible in part by support from the Ellsworth Kelly Foundation, the Graham Williford Foundation for American Art.

“The launch of these new conservation initiatives supports the DMA’s commitment to responsible stewardship of our collection, and the advancement of conservation research and practices in the region and across the museum field,” museum director Maxwell L. Anderson said in a statement. “We look forward to strengthening the DMA’s culture of conservation with the opening of this new facility and integrating conservation into the fabric of the Museum experience for the benefit and enjoyment of our community.”

Meanwhile Buren’s “Sanction of the Museum,” an immersive installation made up of six suspended canvases, has undergone major conservation work since joining the museum’s collection last year. It goes on view Monday in the museum’s concourse, but will be formally inaugurated on November 18 along with the Paintings Conservation Studio.

— Benjamin Sutton

(Photo via Dallas Museum of Art/Facebook.)