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Wednesday, May 31 • 4:55pm - 5:20pm
(Treatment: Don't Go it Alone) Flouting Convention: the Integration of Asian Paintings at Taliesin and their Conservation

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The year 2017 marks the sesquicentennial of the birth of Frank Lloyd Wright (1867-1959). Chicago is where he gained his renown as an architect and where he was first exposed to the arts and architecture of Japan at the World's Columbian Exposition in 1893. Chicago is also the city from which he was socially ostracized in 1910 upon his return from a year in Europe preparing the Wasmuth portfolio (accompanied by the wife of a client while his family remained in suburban Oak Park). He retreated to family land near Spring Green, Wisconsin where he built Taliesin, a manor house, studio, design laboratory, and working farm. The house was destroyed by arson in 1914 and damaged again by an electrical fire in 1925. While tragic in the loss of both lives and property, it did allow for Wright to rebuild a third time with a still more expansive and refined vision to encompass a main house and studio, theater, farm buildings, and, after 1932, accommodations and facilities for a fellowship and school. This permutation, Taliesin III, was the most personal embodiment of his Prairie House style and a work in progress for the rest of his life. Integral to the architectural esthetic was the display of Asian art, for which Wright was an early, voracious, and discriminating collector. This was most clearly expressed in the form of large format Japanese and Chinese paintings mounted flat against the wall to fit specifically prepared for locations. These displays were complemented by works of sculpture, the decorative arts, and the always present Japanese woodblock print. This presentation will focus on the treatment of a group of markedly compromised Japanese screen paintings and Chinese scroll paintings reformatted as panels that were mounted in the important public rooms at Taliesin. It will be framed by a brief discussion of the preliminary condition survey of the larger group of paintings and the curatorial assessment of their quality; improvements to the building envelope and mitigating the extremes of the internal environment; the period of interpretation as the final year of Wright's life (as significant changes to the complex were made after his death, and in addition to accommodating tours, the complex continues to be used by the legacy fellowship as a residential and working facility). It will consider the decision making process both to display original works year ‘round (in lieu of removing the paintings seasonally or using full size photo-reproductions) and to develop an esthetic of conservation for the other original furnishings. Most of the presentation will focus on the conservation objectives, procedures, materials, techniques, and sensibilities inherent to the treatment of large format works of Asian art on paper and silk, as well as the variations from traditional practices that have proved valuable for works collected for and displayed in the Western context. Finally, it will examine the place of specialization within the profession of conservation, the rationales that substantiate it, and what value it has in the cross-pollination of technical developments.

Speaker(s)
avatar for TK McClintock

TK McClintock

Consulting Conservator, Studio TKM Associates, Inc.
T.K. McClintock is retired Director of Studio TKM, Ltd. and Consulting Conservator of Studio TKM Associates, Inc, a facility for the conservation of fine art and historic works on paper that serves institutions, government and non-profit agencies and private individuals in North America... Read More →

Co-Author(s)
LB

Lisa Berk

Project Technician, Studio TKM Associates, Conservation of Fine Art and Historic Works on Paper
Lisa Berk, is Project Technician at Studio TKM Associates. She is a graduate of Colgate University in Fine Art and Asian Studies.
LB

Lorraine Bigrigg-[PA]

Senior Paper Conservator, Studio TKM Associates Inc.
Lorraine Bigrigg is Senior Conservator at Studio TKM Associates, Inc., a private practice devoted to the conservation of works on paper including fine art, historic works, Asian paintings and prints, and the decorative arts for institutional and private clients in North America, Europe... Read More →
avatar for Deborah LaCamera-[PA]

Deborah LaCamera-[PA]

Senior Paper Conservator, Studio TKM Associates Inc.
Deborah La Camera is Partner and Senior Conservator at Studio TKM Associates, Inc., a Boston-based private studio specializing in the conservation of artistic and historic works of art on paper. She received her Master of Arts in Art History and Advanced Certificate in Conservation... Read More →

Wednesday May 31, 2017 4:55pm - 5:20pm
Regency C-D Ballroom Level, West Tower

Attendees (107)