SUPPORTING CONSERVATION PROJECTS
Every year, TEFAF donates up to €50,000 to one or two museum conservation projects, selected by an independent panel of international experts. The fund's aim is both to support the restoration of particular art works and to boost awareness of the field of conservation science overall. Our goal is to encourage the sharing of knowledge between museums and also with the general public. For this reason, each selected work must be on public view for at least two years after its restoration and each project has a video presence at the fair throughout the entire duration of TEFAF Maastricht and on the TEFAF website.
Museum Restoration Fund 2019 Awards
The Executive Committee of The European Fine Art Foundation (TEFAF) has awarded a total of €50,000 from TEFAF’s Museum Restoration Fund to support the distinct and complex restoration and conservation projects at the National Gallery, UK, and the Museum Volkenkunde, The Netherlands, for the benefit of future generations. At the National Gallery, the fund will support the restoration of the famous work ‘The Equestrian Portrait of Charles I’ by Anthony van Dyck (1599 – 1641), a powerful painting of the King, whilst at the Museum Volkenkunde, it supports a previously unknown and entirely unique 8-fold screen by Japanese artist Kawahara Keiga (1786 – c.1860), ‘View of Deshima in Nagasaki Bay’.
The National Gallery, UK
The National Gallery houses one of the world’s finest collections of paintings, attracting between 5 and 6 million visitors every year, who are taken on a journey through European art over seven centuries, from the 13th century to the early 20thcentury. ‘The Equestrian Portrait of Charles I’, by Anthony van Dyck, which requires a major programme of conservation and restoration, is an iconic and much-loved work within the collection.
The work is one of only two equestrian portraits of Charles I that have been firmly attributed to Van Dyck (the other, earlier portrait, which is part of the Royal Collection hangs in Windsor Castle). Van Dyck was a successful Flemish portraitist, as well as an accomplished draughtsman and etcher; he is now particularly remembered for his representations of Charles I and his Court. The artist’s choice of an equestrian portrait demonstrates the King’s horsemanship, often associated with virtue and courage, and is also deliberately reminiscent of statues of mounted emperors in Ancient Rome, asserting the King’s temporal power. Today, the painting is displayed in the Van Dyck room (Room 21) at the National Gallery.
The institution will work with the Getty Foundation’s Conserving Canvas Initiative to enable parts of the restoration process as a training opportunity for conservation professionals, in addition to hosting a group workshop for 20-30 participants, enabling a wider range of conservators to learn about the project.
The restoration of ‘The Equestrian Portrait of Charles I’ will enhance the impact of the painting, making it more legible for visitors and add to their aesthetic enjoyment of the work.
Museum Volkenkunde, The Netherlands
The Museum Volkenkunde is one third of the National Museum of World Cultures, alongside the Tropenmuseum in Amsterdam, and the Africa Museum in Berg en Dal. Together, the museums are custodians of the Dutch National Collection, with over 450,000 objects and 1,000,000 photographs from around the world. The National Museum of World Cultures recently discovered and acquired the unknown and unique screen, ‘View of Deshima in Nagasaki Bay’, by Japanese artist Kawahara Keiga.
The screen, which dates from 1836 or shortly after, consists of eight panels. At the time of its production, the Dutch were the only Europeans permitted to trade with Japan and only from their base on the artificial island of Deshima. The Dutch ship Marij en Hillegonda, which features prominently in the painting, sailed to Japan just once. Keiga has the privilege of being able to enter Dehima freely, which enabled him to create a visual record of Japanese-Dutch relations.
The work, a key record of Japanese-Dutch relations, cannot, in its current state, be shown to the public, nor can it travel. The condition of the screen requires a full restoration and, when the conservation process is complete, the screen will function as a gateway object introducing visitors to the full breadth of the Japan collections on Museum Volkenkunde, inviting them to gain a deeper understanding of life in Japan in the early 19th century and the unique role of the Dutch trade during that era.
The fund was launched to mark TEFAF' Maastricht's 25th anniversary in 2012. The first awards went to the Denver Art Museum (USA), for the restoration of its Canaletto painting, Venice: The Molo from the Bacino di San Marco; and to the Rijksmuseum (Netherlands), for the conservation of its ten bronze memorial statuettes from the 15th century tomb of Isabella of Bourbon.
The 2013 awards were granted to Worcester Art Museum (USA), for the restoration of the William Hogarth pendant portraits of William and Elizabeth James; and to the Ashmolean Museum (UK), for the restoration of two candelabra combining elements of classical sculpture with carvings by Giovanni Battista Piranesi.
In 2014 the Rijksmuseum van Oudheden (Netherlands) was awarded funding for the restoration of three coffin sets and one inner sarcophagus from the 21st dynasty (c. 1069 - 945 BC), discovered in 1891 at Bab el-Gasus, near the Valley of the Kings and modern-day Luxor; and the Wallace Collection (UK) for the restoration of the Joshua Reynolds painting Miss Nelly O'Brien.
In 2015 the awards went to Museum Kunstpalast (Germany) and Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art (USA), both for the restoration of a work by Francisco de Zurbarán.
In 2016, the Fund was awarded to support the reconstruction of The Tower of Nanjing, from the de Robien collection at the Musée des Beaux-Arts de Rennes (France), and the restoration of The Girl in the Muslin Dress - Symphony in White by James McNeil Whistler at The Singer Memorial Foundation, (Netherlands).
In 2017, TEFAF awarded €54,000 to three distinct projects, two larger and one smaller, either side of the Atlantic. One is the restoration and reconstruction of the never before seen work by Auguste Rodin (1840-1917) entitled Absolution (c.1900) in the Musée Rodin collection (France). The second is the conservation of Judith with the Head of Holofernes (c.1570) by Titian (14881576), which has been on near constant display since entering the collection of the Detroit Institute of Arts (USA), in 1938.
The final, smaller, project is the conservation of Der Blaue Reiter (1912), a journal edited by Wassily Kandinsky (1866-1944) and Franz Marc (1880-1916). This 140-page journal includes 34 unnumbered plates (6 in colour and 28 in monochrome), 2 foldouts and 2 pages of musical scores. It was acquired jointly in 2015 by the RKD - Nederlands Instituut voor Kunstgeschiedenis, Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam, Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen and Gemeentemuseum Den Haag, all based in The Netherlands.
In 2018, TEFAF awarded a total of €50,000 to the Museu Nacional de Arte Antiga (MNAA), Portugal and the Museum of Fine Arts (MFA), Boston, USA, to support their distinct restoration and conservation projects. The Fund will support the conservation of ‘Capela das Albertas’, an integral part of the Museu Nacional de Arte Antiga and a striking example of a Portuguese ‘gold church’. In the USA it will support the restoration of Portrait of a Woman with a Gold Chain, by Rembrandt Harmensz van Rijn (1606 – 1669), one half of a pair of oval paintings gifted to the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston in the late 19th century. The portrait has been on near constant view and has not been treated for 50 years. Each project aims to present to visitors the original beauty of each work, preserving cultural heritage for generations to come.