The QAGOMA Foundation assists with Gallery conservation actions akin to supporting advanced remedies, technical artwork historical past research, revolutionary analysis and evaluation that incessantly results in publication and contributes to a wider physique of business data, and enabled a analysis challenge with the Heritage Conservation Centre, Singapore.

We delve into current investigations into the supplies and strategies of two mid-century Australian contemporaries — Charles Blackman and Sidney Nolan — in addition to colonial Queensland artist JH Grainger.

RELATED: ART CONSERVATION initiatives

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Charles Blackman

Gallery conservators had been in a position to decide that Charles Blackman used unconventional mediums, akin to home paints, to create his works.1 He was additionally mixing his personal paint formulations2 to create compositions which might be a melange of matt and gloss paints, utilized in a number of layers, which he then made moreover advanced by means of impasto and sgraffito methods.3

Charles Blackman, Australia b.1928 / Barbara c.1960 / Oil on composition board / 20.5 x 23.8cm / Bequest of Maryke Degeus by means of the Queensland Art Gallery Foundation 2011 / Collection: Queensland Art Gallery | Gallery of Modern Art / © Charles Raymond Blackman/Copyright Agency
The QAGOMA Foundation assists with Gallery conservation actions akin to supporting advanced remedies, technical artwork historical past research, revolutionary analysis and evaluation that incessantly results in publication and contributes to a wider physique of business data, and enabled a analysis challenge with the Heritage Conservation Centre, Singapore.
A corresponding X-ray of Charles Blackman’s Barbara c.1960 which reveals a fully completely different composition of a determine seated at a desk (inverted) beneath the floor paint layers

Sidney Nolan

The QAGOMA Foundation assists with Gallery conservation actions akin to supporting advanced remedies, technical artwork historical past research, revolutionary analysis and evaluation that incessantly results in publication and contributes to a wider physique of business data, and enabled a analysis challenge with the Heritage Conservation Centre, Singapore.
Sidney Nolan, Australia 1917-1992 / (Anita Rafferty at Indian Head, Fraser Island) 1947 / Gift of Anita Rafferty, 2016 / Collection: QAGOMA Research Library

The ‘Nolan in Queensland’ conservation challenge concerned the investigation of three works within the Collection, and noticed conservators flip sleuth in an effort to piece collectively the compelling story of Sidney Nolan’s time on Fraser Island. Through thought-about detective work, portray conservator Anne Carter was in a position to find and interview 80-year-old Anita Rafferty (pictured in Anita Rafferty at Indian Head, Fraser Island 1947), the daughter of Norm Crombie, a forestry overseer on Fraser Island who hosted Nolan’s go to in 1947. Anita was simply ten on the time, however remembers posing for Nolan in pictures he took on the seaside at Indian Head.4

Sidney Nolan, Australia 1917-1992 / Platypus Bay, Fraser Island 1947
Sidney Nolan, Australia 1917-1992 / Platypus Bay, Fraser Island 1947 / Enamel on board / Purchased 2013. Queensland Art Gallery | Gallery of Modern Art Foundation / Collection: Queensland Art Gallery | Gallery of Modern Art / © The Bridgeman Art Library
Sidney Nolan, Australia/England 1917-1992 / Mrs Fraser 1966
Sidney Nolan, Australia/England 1917-1992 / Mrs Fraser 1966 / Water-based cloth dye on paper / Purchased 2003. The Queensland Government’s particular Centenary Fund / Collection: Queensland Art Gallery | Gallery of Modern Art / © The Bridgeman Art Library

Anne Carter’s investigation and evaluation of two of Nolan’s works within the Collection — Platypus Bay, Fraser Island and Mrs Fraser, each 1947 — reveal the usage of masonite helps sourced from demolished buildings on Fraser Island.5 A forensic examination of Mrs Fraser revealed no less than six alterations to the work, and the inclusion of a painted oval spandrel decreasing the composition, adopted later by the slicing down of the masonite assist.6

JH Grainger

The QAGOMA Foundation assists with Gallery conservation actions akin to supporting advanced remedies, technical artwork historical past research, revolutionary analysis and evaluation that incessantly results in publication and contributes to a wider physique of business data, and enabled a analysis challenge with the Heritage Conservation Centre, Singapore.
JH Grainger, Australia c.1853–1931 / Turtle island (previous to conservation) c.1889 / Oil on canvas / 43 x 64cm (oval) / Purchased 2010. Queensland Art Gallery Foundation / Collection: Queensland Art Gallery | Gallery of Modern Art
The QAGOMA Foundation assists with Gallery conservation actions akin to supporting advanced remedies, technical artwork historical past research, revolutionary analysis and evaluation that incessantly results in publication and contributes to a wider physique of business data, and enabled a analysis challenge with the Heritage Conservation Centre, Singapore.
JH Grainger’s Turtle island present process conservation
The QAGOMA Foundation assists with Gallery conservation actions akin to supporting advanced remedies, technical artwork historical past research, revolutionary analysis and evaluation that incessantly results in publication and contributes to a wider physique of business data, and enabled a analysis challenge with the Heritage Conservation Centre, Singapore.
JH Grainger’s Turtle island displaying the printed pictures of turtles which were lower out and hooked up to the painted canvas as collage-like inclusions

Queensland artist JH Grainger’s Turtle island c.1889 is a uncommon and peculiar instance of colonial portray. A founding member of the Queensland Art Society, Grainger was additionally the recipient of the 1897 Queensland International Exhibition gold medal for a seascape.7 This curious portray incorporates printed pictures of turtles which were lower out and hooked up to the painted canvas as collage-like inclusions, which is a extremely uncommon approach for an artist practising within the Eighteen Eighties. The challenge to revive this portray is a main endeavor, involving specialists from work, paper and framing conservation.

The QAGOMA Foundation assists with Gallery conservation actions akin to supporting advanced remedies, technical artwork historical past research, revolutionary analysis and evaluation that incessantly results in publication and contributes to a wider physique of business data, and enabled a analysis challenge with the Heritage Conservation Centre, Singapore.
QAGOMA Painting Conservator Anne Carter at workon a pre-primed canvas as a part of the collaborative analysis projectwith Singapore’s Heritage Conservation Centre / Photograph: Chloë Callistemon © QAGOMA
The QAGOMA Foundation assists with Gallery conservation actions akin to supporting advanced remedies, technical artwork historical past research, revolutionary analysis and evaluation that incessantly results in publication and contributes to a wider physique of business data, and enabled a analysis challenge with the Heritage Conservation Centre, Singapore.
A pattern of pre-primed canvas underneath excessive magnification

Foundation fundraising has additionally been directed in the direction of a main collaborative analysis challenge with colleagues at Singapore’s Heritage Conservation Centre (HCC), designed to analyze modern pre-primed artist canvases and grounds. Little is thought about modern canvas fibres or the formulation used to organize their floor layers, however these preparatory parts have a important impact on the behaviour and stability of subsequent paint layers, drastically influencing the ageing traits of pigments and paints. Understanding these parts is important to conservation remedy of up to date painted works, and its outcomes.

Through the beneficiant assist of the Foundation, these meticulous analysis and evaluation initiatives, and technically advanced remedies, are in a position to contribute to our collective data and understanding of the Gallery’s Collection.

Amanda Pagliarino is Head of Conservation and Registration, QAGOMA

Endnotes
1 Felicity St John Moore, Charles Blackman: Schoolgirls and Angels: A Retrospective Exhibition of Paintings and Drawings by Charles Blackman [exhibition catalogue], National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne, 1993, p.17.
2 Anne Carter, ‘Blackman’s home paints: Icy blues and blood reds’, Lure of the Sun: Charles Blackman in Queensland [exhibition catalogue], Queensland Art Gallery, Brisbane, 2015, p.40.
3 The full story of this analysis seems within the QAGOMA publication Lure of the Sun: Charles Blackman in Queensland (2015).
4 Carter, notes from an interview with Anita Rafferty (QAGOMA unpublished materials), recorded 18 February 2016.
5 Carter, analysis notes (QAGOMA unpublished materials), 2016. Research findings from the ‘Nolan in Queensland’ conservation challenge are printed as a chapter in a forthcoming Getty Publications publication titled Sidney Nolan: The Artist’s Materials.
6 Carter, analysis notes (QAGOMA unpublished materials), 2016.
7 Glenn Cooke, ‘Turtle island essay’ (QAGOMA unpublished materials), September 2010.

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Featured picture: JH Grainger’s Turtle island present process conservation

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2-2018