AUCKLAND.- Auckland Art Gallery is putting historic art works Up For Adoption in a bid to restore them to their former glory. Art works the world over inevitably deteriorate with time, becoming cracked, torn, soiled and discoloured. Principal conservator Sarah Hillary says some of the gallerys works were purchased in a state of disrepair while others suffered the effects of inadequate storage conditions in the 1800s and early 1900s.
Weve desperately wanted to treat these works for years, Hillary says. Such elaborate treatments take time and often, because of the cost, get put to one side. With the main gallery set to close for essential renovations well have more time to devote to conservation of the collection.
Fifteen paintings and sculptures need restoration and another 20 need reframing in work totalling $120,000. The most expensive is a $40,000 frame needed for a work by major British artist Edward Burne-Jones.
Curator Mary Kisler says Victorian art, once considered old fashioned, has enjoyed such a resurgence in the past decade the work is now one of the most valuable in the collection. She says valuers from Sothebys were also excited to see the gallerys painting by John Morgan, now very popular in Britain. The work has already been adopted and will soon go on display with a new $600 frame. A 14th century wooden Gothic sculpture is riddled with borer, but can be fixed relatively cheaply for $1,800. Pentecostal Group, unknown artist, Spanish 14th Century Wood with traces of polychrome and gilt Cost of conservation: $1,800.
The public are invited to sponsor a work from as little as $300. In return, their names will go up on the wall labels in future exhibitions. They can also meet with the curator and conservator to learn more about the work, receive a report and photo, and attend a thank you function. Visitors can see conservators and gilders at work in the free exhibition Passion & Politics: Two Centuries of British Art on Thursdays between 12 and 2pm.