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Grant number like: PG-50583-09

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St. Mary's College of California (Moraga, CA 94575-2715)
Julie A. Armistead (Project Director: May 2008 to September 2010)

Preservation Assistance Grants
Preservation and Access

$5,998 (approved)
$5,998 (awarded)

Grant period:
1/1/2009 – 6/30/2010

Conservation Assessment of the Keith Collection of the Hearst Art Gallery

A conservation assessment that would document areas of damage to each painting, describe the damage, and recommend a course of action. The gallery houses a William Keith room, which is dedicated to frequently-changing exhibitions of his work. The Hearst also lends its Keith paintings to museums around the world.They are used for research and publication related to the history of the West, California history and landscape, and environmentalism.

The Hearst Gallery requests support for conservation assessment of 165 William Keith paintings. Keith (1838-1911) is important for landscapes featuring the West's natural treasures, painted between 1868 and 1911. The 165 paintings, the largest known Keith collection, are important to the humanities because they document an unspoiled West which no longer exists. Keith explored with John Muir, founder of the Sierra Club, and painted in Yosemite and along the West Coast. Keiths are studied by historians and environmentalists as well as admired by artists. The conservators will assess the 165 paintings, many of which were backed with wax lining as adhesive in the 1980s. Over time, wax penetrates oil paint and leaches pigment from the canvas, irreparably clouding the pigment's transparency. Two conservation consultants will assess, diagnose, and make recommendations with which the Collections Manager will plan conservation. Project dates are 1/1/09 - 10/31/09.