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Behind the Scenes in Conservation: Hard Working Hands

by Conservation


conservation , behind the scenes , paper conservation , works on paper , prints , Howard Warsaw

Nine small prints by the American artist Howard Warsaw are undergoing treatment in the Paper Conservation Lab.  Printed around 1950, 9 Hands depicts two hands in nine variations on different papers.  The prints were mounted with rubber cement to paper and acidic mat board, probably right after they were printed.  When the work was donated to the museum, one print had detached from the backing because the rubber cement had degraded and lost its adhesive quality.  (The bright yellow rubber cement can be seen on the left of the mount where two of the prints have been removed.)  The remaining prints are being removed from the backing using a thin spatula and a scalpel.  The rubber cement can be reduced from the backs of the prints using organic solvents.  The prints will remain stained on the reverse, but fortunately the adhesive did not stain the obverse.  After treatment the prints will be securely hinged to an acid-free mat and displayed as the artist intended.

1994.296, Howard Warsaw, 9 Hands, ca. 1950, etching and aquatint on paper, gift of Mr. and Mrs. Richard H. Hadden