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Behind the Scenes in Conservation: Sharing Gifts

by Conservation



While reviewing recent acquisitions of works on paper with the curators, our paper conservator decided to share a few of the pieces here, since they won’t be going on exhibit in the near future.  All three were gifts to the museum, and in turn were gifts to the public.  When the National Museum of Decorative Painting closed in 2018, the Cincinnati Art Museum was the recipient of Calligraphic Lion.  This impressive feline was drawn with pen and brown and black inks.  It has survived more than one hundred years, suffering only a few tears and some staining of the paper from wood back boards. 

Former museum director Millard Rogers collected chiaroscuro woodcuts.  Millard and his wife Nina bequeathed to the museum this Ugo da Carpi woodcut after a design by Raphael printed in 1520.  Like many old master prints, this image of Christ at the Table of Simon the Pharisee (the Tanner) was well cared for and is in very good condition.  The Rogers’ print joins five other prints by da Carpi in the museum’s collection.

Local collectors and long-time museum supporters Marilyn and David Reichert bequeathed a very different work on paper.  Mask is a drawing in crayon of pencil on a brown paper bag by the Puerto Rican artist Rafael Ferrer.  The colorful drawing had been displayed in an acrylic shadowbox frame, which protected it from mechanical damage, but the paper became darkened and slightly brittle from exposure to light.

These are only three of the wide variety of works on paper that have come to the museum recently.  We are grateful for the care taken by their previous owners and for their generosity in leaving them to the museum so they can be preserved and shared with our visitors.

Image 1: American or English School, Calligraphic Lion, 19th century, pen and brown and black ink on paper, Gift of the National Museum of Decorative Painting, 2018.103

Image 2: Ugo da Carpi (Italian, Circa 1480-Post 1525) after Raphael (Italian, 1483-1520), Christ at the Table of Simon the Pharisee (the Tanner), 1520, chiaroscuro woodcut on paper, Millard and Nina Rogers Collection in honor of Kristin L. Spangenberg, 2020.121

Image 3: Rafael Ferrer (Puerto Rican, b.1933), Mask, 1972, crayon over traces of pencil on paper bag, From the Collection of Marilyn and David Reichert, 2020.150