SUPPORTING CONSERVATION PROJECTS
Every year, TEFAF donates up to EUR 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.
The recipients of the 2018 TEFAF Museum Restoration Fund are the Museu Nacional de Arte Antiga (MNAA), Portugal
and the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (MFA), USA.
The fund will support the conservation of ‘Capela das Albertas’, an integral part pf 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, one half of a pair of oval paintings gifted to the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (MFA) 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.
The TEFAF Museum Restoration Fund was set up in 2012 to help museums and institutions worldwide restore and conserve works of art in their collections. It is one of a selection of initiatives run by TEFAF that demonstrates the Foundation’s ongoing dedication to supporting and protecting cultural heritage. Museums and institutions that have attended TEFAF Maastricht are eligible to apply for the grants, which are awarded by an independent panel of experts.
Museu Nacional de Arte, Portugal
The museum is housed in the ‘Palácio Alvor’. The oldest part of the palace complex is the so-called ‘Capela de las Albertas’, a female chapel of the Order of the Discalced Carmelites. The first of its kind, the chapel was founded between 1583 and 1598 and, together with the palace, which is linked via a sacristy, is an example of an Iberian ‘convent-palace’. Alongside these two components is a later, 20th-
century extension, which comprises the whole of what is now the Museu Nacional de Arte Antiga.
‘Capela de las Albertas’ is notable for the characteristic contrast between the simplicity of its exterior architecture and the sumptuous interior. The inside of the church combines gilt carvings and tiles in a strikingly harmonious whole that encompasses architecture, painting, sculpture and other decorative arts.
The chapel is decorated with tiles from different periods of production, progressing from 16th-
century Spanish-made tiles to 17th
- century Portuguese ones. The sacristy is covered with single figure tiles presenting the highest quality from the last part of the 17th
century. The aim of the project is to conserve and restore these tiles, enriching the offer to the public and enabling new readings of the museum displays.
Museu Nacional de Arte Antiga
TEFAF Museum Restoration Fund
Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (MFA), USA
The Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (MFA) houses an extraordinary collection that encompasses nearly 450,000 works of art. In this collection is a pair of oval portraits: Portrait of a Man Wearing a Black Hat
(1634) and Portrait of a Woman with a Gold Chain
(1634), both by Rembrandt Harmensz van Rijn (1606 – 1669). The museum intends to restore both works by Rembrandt and with the support of TEFAF for the restoration of Portrait of a Woman with a Gold Chain
, the museum has committed to the treatment of Portrait of a Man Wearing a Black Hat.
Although Portrait of a Woman with a Gold Chain
is structurally stable, the appearance of the work is problematic. The painting has not had any treatment for around 50 years, and there are now multiple uneven layers of varnish and passages of clumsy retouching which are obscuring the paint surface. In addition to being unevenly cleaned in the past, there is also a recently applied thick layer of a synthetic (PVA) varnish that has become very gray and under-saturated over time, further obscuring the portrait.
The work can be cleaned to remove the old discolored layers of varnish and retouching that currently distort the work’s appearance. The work will be then restored with the aim of returning the portrait’s appearance to a state closer to that originally intended by the artist.
The completion of the project will reveal the quality and beauty of this remarkable portrait. It will also reveal a great deal about the materials and techniques used in the work and its companion work, which will be shared with the public and scholarly colleagues.
Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
TEFAF Museum Restoration Fund