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Stedelijk Seminar: Keith Haring and Jean Dubuffet through the lens of the conservator

Museums/Institutes Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam

Museumplein 10
1071 DJ Amsterdam
+31 (0)20 5732911

Open Daily 10-18 hrs
Fri 10-22 hrs

Conversation 7 Oct

Time 14-17 hrs


Jean Dubuffet, Faire Front, 1959. Collage with autumn leaves

Weekend of Science

Specialist conservators ensure that the collection of the Stedelijk Museum stays in good condition. Nearly 90,000 art works, executed in  all kinds of materials and techniques, require a specific approach. How do you conduct the research of an artwork that consists of autumn leaves? What kind of treatment is needed for a very large canvas (almost 40 x 66 feet, 12 x 20 meter) by Keith Haring?

These and other questions will be answered during this Stedelijk Seminar. On this afternoon, the conservators will give you a glimpse of their complex work through short, accessible lectures. The afternoon will conclude with a gallery tour and short visits to the conservation studio’s during which you will see the works of art in the museum through the eyes of a conservator.

This Stedelijk Seminar is part of the Dutch Science Weekend.


14.00 hrs  Word of welcome
14.05-14.20 hrs  Introduction - Sandra Weerdenburg (head of conservation /sculpture conservator)
14.20-15.00 hrs  Study of 2 reliefs with autumn leaves, made by Jean Dubuffet by Monica Marchesi (paper conservator)

Between 1958 and 1959, French artist Jean Dubuffet was inspired by the beauty and versatility of plants. During this short time frame, he made more than 50 collages in which he used all sorts of dried leaves. Since 1960, the Stedelijk Museum collection holds two of these special works: Faire Front(1959) and Automne (1959). By using dried plant material, the drawings are vulnerable to mechanical damage (cracks and loss of sheet material) and prone to attacks of insects or fungi. To find out more about the making process and to determine the condition of these particular works, the Stedelijk Museum started in recent years a research-project. In this presentation, the first results of this research will be presented.

15.00-15.40 hrs  Restoration of the 'Velum' by Keith Haring by Vera Blok, painting conservator (in collaboration with Jos van Och, Stichting Restauratie Atelier Limburg)

In 1986  Keith Haring painted a so-called 'Velum', a large polyester canvas which was stretched below the monumental glass cupola above the historic staircase of the museum, filtering daylight into the grand hallway. It has been in the collection of the Stedelijk Museum ever since. After the work has been in storage for a long time, it will be reinstalled in the autumn of 2017. To make this possible, a number of questions needed to be answered: What exactly is material? How is the condition? Should the work be restored? How do you install a 20 x 12 meter canvas as a high ceiling cover? All these questions will be discussed during the lecture on this particular work.

15.40-15.50 Questions and discussion
15.50-16.00 hrs Pause
16-17 hrs Guided tours in the galleries and at the workshops by the restaurant team (maximum 15 persons per tour)


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