On view Nov. 27, 2018 – Feb. 21, 2019
In this eclectic exhibition, we re-examine works of art to uncover what might be hiding in plain sight, or just below the surface. Whether it is the application of science or the science of connoisseurship, many works from various collections have been altered by their longevity or purposefully manipulated. Today, scientific methods allow us to uncover forgeries, predict aging, attribute work to a specific artist, preserve ailing pieces and restore works closer to their original state. This exhibit offers a behind-the-scenes look at the procedures and techniques art “detectives” use to investigate what secrets artworks hold, using x-rays to infrared and solvents that remove varnish. See side-by-side comparisons of before and after images, or try your hand at connoisseurship to see if you can identify what has been altered. Note: This exhibition features the optional use of UV light.
Featuring works by John Sell Cotman, Susan MacDowell Eakins, Robert Henri Fouques, Marion Greenwood, Frans Hals (school of), Eastman Johnson, William Keith, Endre Komaromi-Kacz, Georges Michel, Mary Jane Peale, Dona Simons, Thomas Worthington Whittredge, and Richard Wilson.
Traces: Revealing Secrets in Art and History was made possible by the support, technical advice, and loans from Ann Bittl of Ventura College, Safwat Mohamed Sayed Aly of the Grand Egyptian Museum, Scott M. Haskins of Fine Art Conservation Laboratories (FACL, Inc.), Gerald Zwers of Public Art Services and donations from the Lou Grubb Collection. This exhibition is presented in partnership with the Cal Lutheran Chemistry Department for the course, “Chemical Investigations of Art.” A special thanks to Dr. Katherine Hoffmann for her expertise and guidance, which made this exhibit possible.
Articles related to this exhibit include:
“Art exhibit at CLU will provide chemistry students with hands-on investigative experience,” Ventura County Star, Alexa D’Angelo, Jan. 18, 2019.
“What Lies Beneath: Investigating the secrets, lies and mysteries hidden in art at CLU,” Ventura County Reporter, Emily Dodi, Jan. 23, 2019.
“Exhibit On South Coast Reveals How Science Can Uncover Mysteries In Art,” KCLU, Debra Greene, Jan. 14, 2019.
“Science, art meet in ‘Traces’ at CLU,” Simi Valley Acorn, Jan. 11, 2019.
“New Light on Art,” CLU Magazine, Kevin Matthews, Mar. 11, 2019, pp. 4-5.
Image: John Sell Cotman (British, 1782-1842), A Bit of Norwich, 25 x 39 inches. Courtesy of the Ann Bittl Collection.