The Art in Focus Lecture Series got off to a riveting start last night with a talk from Susan Davidson and Carol Stringari of the Guggenheim Museum. The topic was the conservation of Jackson Pollock’s 1947 masterpiece, Alchemy.
Susan walked through the painting’s early history and the role Peggy Guggenheim played in launching Pollock’s career. Alchemy, which signaled a change of direction for Pollock, wound up as part of Peggy’s private collection, hanging unmoved but much-loved on the wall of her Venetian palazzo until the Guggenheim began to address its conservation needs in 2014.
The resulting process was a mix of CSI and the Da Vinci Code, with a team of scientists in Italy uncovering Alchemy‘s secrets through painstaking research and cutting-edge techniques. The revelations included radiator paint, possibly a kitchen curtain, and a quilting frame.
Many thanks to Susan and Carol for their fascinating talk. Alchemy has returned to Venice but you have until December 16th at the Guggenheim to see an interactive exhibit that puts you in the role of a conservator working on Alchemy.
The University Libraries’ Art in Focus Southampton events are co-sponsored by the Pollock-Krasner House and Study Center and made possible by support from the John H. Marburger III Fund of Stony Brook University.
Join us on September 26th at 7:00 pm for our next talk. Charles A. Riley of the Nassau County Museum of Art will be discussing Art and the Jazz Age.