Rain, wind, sun, and snow each leave their mark over time. Weathervanes are art objects prized as much for their formal beauty as for their variegated surfaces, which evidence their age and record years of exposure to the elements. Conservation scientist Jennifer L. Mass joins conservator Nick Pedemonti for a closer look at questions of object conservation, patina, use, and care, exploring new technologies for dating and preserving weathervanes.
Jennifer L. Mass is the Andrew W. Mellon Professor of Cultural Heritage Science at the Bard Graduate Center in New York City. She has been studying weathervane finishes for over a decade, and has published her research on their evolution in Antiques and Fine Art Magazine and in the American Folk Art Museum’s current exhibition American Weathervanes: The Art of the Winds catalogue.
Nick Pedemonti is an Associate Conservator at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, where he is part of a team responsible for the research and conservation of the collection from the Michael C. Rockefeller Wing and the galleries for the Arts of Africa, Oceania, and the Americas. Nick’s conservation career spans over a decade and has included work on the Northwest Coast Hall collection at the American Museum of Natural History, treating wooden artifacts from the British Galleries at the Met, and the treatment and study of Della Robbia’s ‘Resurrection’ lunette at the Brooklyn Museum. Nick’s professional interests include investigating making techniques, decision theory, and cross-disciplinary approaches to the preservation of cultural heritage.
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Image: Archangel Gabriel, Artist unidentified, Northeastern United States, c. 1840, Paint on sheet metal, 35 x 32 1/2 x 1 ¼”, American Folk Art Museum, Gift of Adele Earnest, 1963.1.1, Photograph by John Parnell.