The conservation science research group recently took delivery of a scanning micro-X-Ray fluorescence (XRF) instrument (the Bruker M6 Jetstream XRF) that determines the chemical elements in and beneath the surfaces of paintings and other objects.
Read more about the instrument here.
This is an exciting new approach to the chemical analysis of works of art, and it is only the third instrument of its type in America (the Getty and the Metropolitan Museum of Art being the other two). Armed with the chemical information from the M6 XRF it is possible to deduce the pigments that the artist used. Also because the instrument can measure beneath the surface it is possible to see hidden images, for example earlier compositions that have been painted over (canvases were expensive and were often re-used).
The first image on an important piece of work is shown below. It is a still life composition Still Life with Apples, Pears and Pomegranates by Gustave Courbet from the Dallas of Museum of Art collection and it was brought to the university for analysis by Nicole Myers and Laura Hartman.
David S. McPhail
Distinguished Chair of Conservation Science, The Edith O’Donnell Institute of Art History
O’Donnell Fellow Fabienne Ruppen gave an Object Talk on Cézanne’s Still Life with Apples on a Sideboard at the Dallas Museum of Art the afternoon of Tuesday, October 25.
Ruppen is a Doctoral Candidate from the University of Zurich whose work is on Paul Cézanne’s Landscape Drawings on Loose Sheets.
Paul Cézanne, Still Life with Apples on a Sideboard, 1900–1906, Dallas Museum of Art
We are excited to offer a full slate of programs for the coming semester. Fall workshops by guest speakers include the newly appointed curators at the Crow Collection of Asian Art, Dr. Jacqueline Chao and Dr. Qing Chang; Dr. Davide Gasparotto, Senior Curator of Paintings at the Getty; and Dr. Julian Henderson, Professor and Chair of Archaeology at the University of Nottingham. As a testament to the richness of local scholarship, a number of workshops will be given by UT Dallas and UT Arlington affiliates including Dr. Roger Malina, Dr. Mary Vaccaro, and Dr. David McPhail in his new conservation lab at the UTD Bioengineering and Science Building. Our very own fellow, Fabienne Ruppen, will lead a discussion on Cezanne’s Still Life with Apples on a Sideboard in the DMA study room.
In September, fellows have the special opportunity to tour the contemporary art collection and library of art curator and collector Charles Dee Mitchell. October promises a lively conversation between Dr. Brettell and Dr. Alessandra Comini to discuss the making of cultural capitals as illustrated by Paris and Vienna. The semester will culminate with an enlivening lecture in late November by Dr. Phillipe de Montebello followed by our annual EODIAH dinner.
Carolyn Brown, Workmen: San Francisco Acatepec, Puebla, Mexico, 1995
The Research Center will host two new exhibitions this fall; both explore the global trade of ideas and materials. Carolyn Brown’s photography captures the innovative brilliance of Talavera tiled churches in Puebla, Mexico. I curated the installation in conjunction with the Crow Collection’s special exhibition Clay Between Two Seas: From the Abbasid Court to Puebla de los Angeles. Our second vitrine installation, a collaborative effort between Dr. Brettell and DMA Curator Dr. Roslyn Walker, showcases the museum’s vast collections of beaded objects. The international trade of artworks like beads introduced a vivacity of color and design into works of art.
Finally, we’re thrilled to announce that DMA Curator Dr. Anne Bromberg will teach a UT Dallas graduate seminar at the Research Center in Spring 2017 on Indian Art. Dr. Bromberg will use the superb collections at the DMA, much of which has been acquired under her leadership. This is a unique opportunity for students to study with one of the foremost scholars of Indian Art.
Our institutional partnership with the DMA continues to thrive and develop in new ways. We hope you’ll join us this fall for our many exciting programs!
Coordinator of Special Programs
The Edith O’Donnell Institute of Art History