A Radical Disregard for the Preservation of Art: Robert Rauschenberg’s Elemental Paintings

*By Charlotte Healy 

Above: Figure 1: Robert Rauschenberg, Dirt Painting (for John Cage), ca. 1953
Dirt and mold in wood box
15 1/2 x 16 x 2 1/2 inches (39.4 x 40.6 x 6.4 cm)
Robert Rauschenberg Foundation
Art © Robert Rauschenberg Foundation/Licensed by VAGA, New York, NY


In April 1953, Robert Rauschenberg returned to New York after an eight-month sojourn in Europe and North Africa with Cy Twombly. Upon moving into his first permanent studio on Fulton Street, he recommenced work on a group of all black paintings, most with patchy, textured surfaces created with newspaper grounds, begun the previous year. He also constructed a series of Elemental Sculptures out of various unembellished found objects like stones and pieces of wood, often joined with twine. From September to October 1953, many of these works were exhibited for the first time at the Stable Gallery in New York in a two-person show with Twombly. In addition, this exhibition included Rauschenberg’s controversial, pristine, and uniform White Paintings of 1951. Also in fall 1953, he produced two of the most notorious and groundbreaking works of his early career: the proto-conceptual Erased de Kooning Drawing, in which he erased and subsequently framed a mixed-media drawing given to him by Willem de Kooning, and Automobile Tire Print, a collaboration with his friend John Cage, who drove his car over twenty sheets of paper while Rauschenberg inked one of the rear tires. Around the same time, Rauschenberg made a series of rectangular, vertically positioned objects generally referred to as the Elemental Paintings. [1] In each, he employed one of five “elemental” materials, three of which were unconventional for painting: dirt (figs. 1, 3), clay, tissue paper (fig. 2), gold leaf (fig. 4), and lead white paint. It is unclear how many he created of each type, given that only a small number have survived; some are known only through photographic documentation.

In this early series, Rauschenberg challenged the traditional and contemporary imperative that an artwork be inextricably linked to its creator, and embraced physical change. Specifically, he eliminated visible gesture — highly valued at the time by the Action Painters and their advocates — in favor of a heightened sensitivity to the essential character of his chosen media. In essence, he strove to collaborate with his materials rather than control them. Moreover, he showed a disregard for the preservation of these works and others, instead choosing techniques and materials that would allow the works to evolve over time. Ultimately, these works are among the earliest to necessitate a reassessment of conservation practice that takes into account the unorthodox intentions of postwar artists.

One of Rauschenberg’s primary goals in creating the Elemental Paintings was to demonstrate that his chosen materials worked equally well as painting media. Motivated by a lifelong sensitivity to objects of all kinds, he strove to eliminate the traditional hierarchical view of materials that existed in both art and life.[2] As he told Barbara Rose in a 1987 interview, “There’s no such thing as ‘better’ material. It’s just as unnatural for people to use oil paint as it is to use anything else.”[3] This comment elucidates Rauschenberg’s inclusion in the series of at least two paintings done entirely in thickly applied lead white paint, Untitled [small White Lead Painting] (ca. 1953) and White Lead Painting (1953-54).[4] Oil paint, a painter’s traditional medium since the sixteenth century, is as basic as dirt or gold — emphasized by the explicit identification of the paint’s elemental makeup in the titles of these two paintings — and has no particular value over other materials aside from its utility.

In interviews, Rauschenberg often lamented the typically associative and socially coded responses to his black paintings that he had not intended. In 1966, he complained, “Lots of critics shared with the public a certain reaction: they couldn’t see black as pigment. They moved immediately into association with ‘burned-out,’ ‘tearing,’ ‘nihilism’ and ‘destruction.’ That began to bother me…. If I see any superficial subconscious relationships that I’m familiar with — clichés of association — I change the picture.”[5] As a rejoinder, Rauschenberg selected his materials for the Elemental Paintings, as Branden Joseph has suggested, to “observe the operation, and potentially test the limitations, of the attributions of meaning from the social sphere.”[6]

Rauschenberg deliberately exploited the symbolic and associative properties of his materials. In an interview with Walter Hopps, he explained, “For each one I did in gold, I did one [the] approximate same size in toilet paper. I was testing the market. I knew this. Gold stays and toilet paper gets thrown away.”[7] Of course he was right: none of the paper paintings seem to have survived, while at least ten of the Gold Paintings are still extant. According to Twombly, for the one paper painting — or, more accurately, the large upright transparent box filled with crumpled paper — documented in a photograph (fig. 2), Rauschenberg did not actually use toilet paper, but rather tissue paper from shoeboxes. This distinction is of little consequence from a purely monetary perspective: even if it lacks toilet paper’s scatological connotations, tissue paper is equally worthless and expendable, especially compared to a valuable material like gold leaf.

Figure 2: Robert Rauschenberg, Untitled [paper painting], ca. 1953. Tissue paper in glass display case with wood base, 18 x 14 x 4 inches (45.7 x 35.6 x 10.2 cm), dimensions approximate. Lost or destroyed. Photographed by artist. Art © Robert Rauschenberg Foundation/Licensed by VAGA, New York, NY


In the Gold Paintings, Rauschenberg’s interrogation of the traditional uses and associations of his materials is manifest. In the fifteenth century, the incorporation of precious materials like gold leaf and ultramarine pigment was often stipulated in contracts for commissioned paintings as a way of increasing their value.[8] In icons and Medieval and Renaissance religious paintings, gilding was used to designate the shining heavens and transcendental figures, often adorned with gleaming haloes. By carelessly covering the entire surface with gold leaf and emphasizing its inherent fragility in the Gold Paintings, Rauschenberg seemingly parodied this material’s traditional employment in painting. He went further still, making the gold appear dirty and deliberately mishandled as it cracks and flakes off the support, which undermines the material’s high monetary value. The irregular, haphazard, and organic quality of the gold, dirt, and paper compositions can be interpreted as a kind of heightened “naturalism” of materials.

In the interview with Rose, Rauschenberg explained, “The only thing I like to keep out of a work, no matter what the materials are, is the history of the process of putting it together. I don’t bring that into it.”[9] Accordingly, Rauschenberg’s “naturalistic” treatment of his materials can also be explained as a way of masking any signs of process. He seems to have retained the organic, natural quality of his materials so that the effect of his hand on the surface has not only faded into obscurity, but has been reversed. The materials, particularly the dirt and gold leaf, appear to have returned to their natural states. This “naturalism” is antithetical to another method of concealing the artist’s hand, which requires, in contrast, completely disguising oil paint rather than celebrating it in its natural form: the smooth, crisp, photographically precise, and highly illusionistic style of much French nineteenth-century academic painting can in turn be seen as a kind of “idealization” of oil paint.[10]

A deliberate deviation from the objectives of the particular strain of Abstract Expressionism most famously characterized by critic Harold Rosenberg in his landmark essay “The American Action Painters” of 1952, the Elemental Paintings prioritize chance effects over the visible manifestation of the artist’s process.[11] The surfaces of the Gold Paintings are extremely varied due to the arbitrary and seemingly careless application of sheets of delicate gold (and occasionally also silver) leaf of different tonalities, sometimes glued on top of newspaper and other collage materials (fig. 4). Often crumpled and loosely adhered rather than laid flat on the support, the gold leaf puckers and peels off the surface. Consequently, parts of the support are visible between irregular patches of gold. The unevenly and heavily applied layer of varnish-like glue has discolored, making the gold appear darker in certain areas. The lively surface is further enhanced by the reflectivity of the material.

In the other Elemental Paintings, Rauschenberg similarly emphasized the physical and material quality of the surface over personal gesture. In a Dirt Painting made for Cage (fig. 1), an irregular blue and yellow pattern created by the growth of mold or lichen dominates the surface, producing a completely accidental “composition.” Rauschenberg’s actual labor of packing the dirt into a boxlike wood frame is overshadowed by this chance organic effect. Likewise, in a large Dirt Painting that became known as Growing Painting (fig. 3), Rauschenberg’s efforts were again overshadowed by the effects of nature, which he happily embraced. When asked by Rose what he thought was the most inventive thing he had ever done, the artist gave this work as an example: “I was working on one dirt painting underneath a bird cage. Then grass started growing on it and I had to take care of it.”[12] Apparently, some birdseed had accidentally fallen into the dirt and began to sprout. This chance occurrence inspired Rauschenberg to make a “living” picture, as Calvin Tomkins called it.[13] When he exhibited the work in the Third Annual Stable Gallery Exhibition of January to February 1954, he periodically visited the gallery to water and care for the vegetation he had cultivated.

growing painting
Figure 3: Robert Rauschenberg, Growing Painting, 1953, Dirt and vegetation in wood frame, 72 x 25 inches (182.9 x 63.5 cm), dimensions approximate. No longer extant. Photographed by artist. Art © Robert Rauschenberg Foundation/Licensed by VAGA, New York, NY

The Elemental Paintings illustrate Rauschenberg’s claim that, “I’ve always felt as though, whatever I’ve used and whatever I’ve done, the method was always closer to a collaboration with materials than to any kind of conscious manipulation and control.” [14] In these works, the inherent nature of the materials themselves plays as much of a role as the artist in determining the final outcome. Like Cage, Rauschenberg was inclined to substitute chance and other impersonal operations for self-expression. According to Tomkins, “what Rauschenberg was getting at was a kind of painting in which the artist — his personality, his emotions, his ideas, his taste — would not be the controlling element.” [15] To Rose, Rauschenberg professed, “I don’t want my personality to come out through the piece.” [16] His disdain for self-expression and his desire to “collaborate” with his materials partially account for his tendency to let his works slowly evolve over time. As he told Rose, “I like the history of objects.” [17] This anti-preservation attitude towards art has a number of ramifications for the collectors of his works and for the conservators who treat them.

Historical accounts reveal Rauschenberg’s radical disregard for the preservation of his art. He painted over many existing works, in part because his lack of financial resources prevented him from purchasing new supplies. According to Hopps, “when the occasion demanded, making new work overrode any sentiment the artist might have had for past accomplishments.”[18] There are numerous examples of White Paintings masked by subsequent paintings and black paintings covering earlier works.[19] For instance, when staying at Cage’s loft while his studio was fumigated in 1953, Rauschenberg discovered an early work of his that his friend had acquired before the two had ever met. He immediately set about turning it into a black painting by applying a newspaper ground and covering it with black paint. Fortunately, Cage, the painting’s owner, did not mind the unsolicited reworking.[20]

Rauschenberg’s enormous White Lead Painting (1953-54) is another example of his apparent indifference to the perpetuation of his early works, even ones that he clearly cared about. Over an extended period, he slowly built up the surface of an approximately six-by-six-foot stretched canvas with layers of lead white paint. According to Twombly, Rauschenberg spent an inordinate amount of time and money on this work, especially given his impecunious circumstances and the relatively high cost of lead white paint. When Rauschenberg moved his studio from Fulton Street to Pearl Street at the beginning of 1955, the size and weight of the piece prevented its removal from his old studio. Consequently, he was forced to abandon the painting.[21]

In his interview with Rose, Rauschenberg recalled destroying Growing Painting (fig. 3) after two white mice he had bought as a present for a friend froze to death in his unheated studio: “So I broke the growing painting into bits. It was another sort of dying. The painting was having problems with the lack of heat anyway. And no one was particularly interested in it. They couldn’t see that there was more to it. There was the feeling that you have to take care of things in order to keep them going. That’s true with art. When the mice died, I killed the painting.”[22] In spite of the ultimately destructive nature of his action, his rationale demonstrates an awareness of how one should take care of art, especially according to modern conservation practice, in which preventive conservation measures are often considered. As explained by MoMA conservators James Coddington and Jennifer Hickey, preventive conservation consists of “taking steps to minimize the potential for damage and to slow degradation processes, thereby postponing or entirely avoiding hands-on restoration of the work. This paradigm is most widely manifest as environmental standards for displaying and storing art.”[23]

Just as he was willing to paint over, abandon, or destroy artworks, Rauschenberg became known for accepting and appreciating changes to his work as his materials transformed over time. For centuries, painters have been using techniques (like applying varnish) and relatively stable materials that allow their works to be preserved with only minor intervention on the part of conservators (for instance, by removing and replacing varnish). In contrast, Rauschenberg’s use of unconventional and often organic materials enabled him to exploit and thematize such physical transformations. No better examples exist than Dirt Painting (for John Cage) (fig. 1) and Growing Painting (fig. 3). Visible change due to natural processes of growth and decay became essential aspects of these works. Both their appearance and material makeup have altered over time.[24]

Some of these changes pose major problems for conservators. The extant Gold Paintings and clay painting have transformed substantially due to the fragility of the materials employed. As a result of Rauschenberg’s haphazard method of application, some of the loosely affixed gold leaf in the Gold Painting that is jointly owned by the Museum of Modern Art and the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum (fig. 4) has actually detached from the fabric-on-Masonite support and fallen to the bottom of the deep wooden frame. For each of the Gold Paintings, Rauschenberg originally constructed permanently affixed wood-and-glass frames, which have protected them as they have become more fragile.[25] Likewise, the appearance of Pink Clay Painting (To Pete) has also changed over the past sixty years: it has weathered, cracked, endured minor losses, and faded, transforming from bright pink to a dull rusty orange.[26] Rauschenberg devised a unique hinged wooden door over an orange velvet covering, which concealed the rough surface and could be lifted to reveal the painting.[27] However, these protective presentational devices have since been lost, leaving the work even more vulnerable to damage and change than the artist had intended.

Figure 4: Robert Rauschenberg, Untitled (Gold Painting), ca. 1953. Gold leaf on fabric and glue on Masonite in wood-and-glass frame. 12 1/4 x 12 5/8 x 1 1/8 inches (31.1 x 32.1 x 2.9 cm). Joint bequest of Eve Clendenin to the Museum of Modern Art and the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum. Art © Robert Rauschenberg Foundation/Licensed by VAGA, New York, NY.

The one remaining Dirt Painting (fig.1) has also suffered from age. Cage, to whom Rauschenberg dedicated and presented the work, poetically recounted its continual transformation: “The message is conveyed by dirt which, mixed with an adhesive, sticks to itself and to the canvas upon which he places it. Crumbling and responding to changes in weather, the dirt unceasingly does my thinking.”[28] The instability of this work has ultimately resulted in a drastic change in its presentation. Despite their unconventional materials, Rauschenberg intended for all of the Dirt Paintings to be presented vertically on the wall like conventional paintings. In his famous discussion of Rauschenberg’s “flatbed picture plane” in the essay “Other Criteria,” Leo Steinberg described this positioning of Growing Painting as “a transposition from nature to culture through a shift of ninety degrees.”[29] Due to the current fragile condition of Dirt Painting (for John Cage), it must be presented horizontally instead, thus making it appear more like an object than a painting as the artist had envisioned.[30] As Rauschenberg told Rose, “The nature of some of my materials gave me an additional problem because I had to figure out how they could be physically supported on a wall when they obviously had no business being anywhere near a wall. That was the beginning of the combines.”[31] In 1954, the artist began making the wall-mounted and freestanding assemblages incorporating various found objects that he called “combines” and for which he is now best known.

Given Rauschenberg’s embrace of his work’s deterioration and change over time, his use of unstable and ephemeral materials epitomized by the Elemental Paintings has proven problematic for conservators and collectors. Because modern conservation practice dictates a consideration of the artist’s original intent, any conservation treatment of Rauschenberg’s work should take into consideration his acceptance of change and the process of aging, even if it contradicts established conservation standards aimed to protect cultural heritage. As conservator Paula Volent has explained, “Traditionally, the conservator and the curator have attempted to keep the art object frozen in time, both as an historical and aesthetic object. However, dialogue with contemporary artists reveals that, in many cases, this approach may be antithetical to the aesthetic concerns of the artist.”[32] The incongruity of these two seemingly irreconcilable positions can lead to legal and ethical issues.[33] According to conservator Suzanne Penn, who has worked extensively on the art of both Rauschenberg and Anselm Kiefer, it is hard for people to accept signs of age and deterioration “given the high monetary value” of works by these two artists, who both intended for their works to change over time.[34]

Antonio Rava, in addressing some of the philosophical issues of contemporary art conservation, has perfectly summarized the challenges presented by Rauschenberg’s work to conservators: “Should one apply different conservation practices to works created with the aim of defying eternity than to those in which transformation and deterioration play an intentional and integral role?”[35] When conservators consulted Rauschenberg about the treatment of particular artworks, he tended to request minimal intervention, authorizing the stabilization of damaged elements but refusing cosmetic cleaning, asking that any patina, discoloration, or other evidence of age be retained.[36] According to collector Giuseppe Panza di Biumo, “for artists like Rauschenberg, sometimes conservation, even simple cleaning, can be dangerous if done with excessive care, inasmuch as aging and alterations caused by time and dirt embellish the painting. This is work on recapturing the memory; the dirt and yellowing of the surface add a special quality to the work and it is a mistake to remove them.”[37]

Like conservators, museums and private collectors have also realized that they must take into account the artist’s wish to let the work evolve over time. Collector Attilio Codognato has acknowledged the necessity of allowing his works to age: “I own a work by Rauschenberg that was bought thirty years ago, made of organic materials, and therefore with its own life. I am particularly proud of the fact that the work changes, because I think this was also Rauschenberg’s notion: that time works to bring about the work’s metamorphosis. I believe that the perishability of a work does not affect its validity. The work may change, but on a poetic level it always remains the same.”[38]

Sociologist Fernando Domínguez Rubio’s theoretical distinction between “docile” and “unruly” objects elucidates some of the problems museums face with works like Rauschenberg’s Elemental Paintings. According to Domínguez Rubio, works of art are not simply objects. Rather, he prefers to call them “slowly unfolding disasters,” since all artworks are constantly transforming over time due to changes in the environment. The most important task of the museum is to turn these “disasters” into stable objects (primarily through preventive conservation measures), which requires an organized infrastructure that distributes labor and knowledge. Some artworks lend themselves to standard museum divisions more readily than others. Domínguez Rubio calls these “docile” objects. They are more easily stabilized as objects by the museum, given that they can be classified into established categories of artworks (such as paintings, sculptures, and works on paper), which reinforce the traditional roles of museum staff like conservators and curators. On the other hand, “unruly” objects are not so easily turned into stable objects, as they tend to be “elusive and ambiguous,” “variable,” or “unwieldy.” Because they do not fit nicely into the typical divisions of conservation and curatorial knowledge, “unruly” objects often require interdisciplinary collaboration across set boundaries within the museum.[39]

The Elemental Paintings exhibit certain characteristics of “unruly” art objects, especially due to their material deterioration. For instance, conservators and curators at MoMA found it difficult to classify the Gold Painting that the museum jointly owns with the Guggenheim (fig. 4) when it first entered the collection in 1974, presumably because of its unusual materials and collage-like construction. Originally placed in the holdings of the Department of Drawings, it was not transferred to the Department of Painting and Sculpture until 1984, following a review of the museum’s collections for the preparation of the publication of the collection catalogue Painting and Sculpture in the Museum of Modern Art.[40] This reclassification indicates that Rauschenberg’s Gold Paintings do not clearly fit into set divisions of curatorial and conservation knowledge, and likely require collaboration between departments. Undoubtedly, the Dirt Paintings, Pink Clay Painting, and paper paintings would also require interdisciplinary collaboration. According to Amanda Swift, the treatment of the combines in the Panza Collection at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles in 1989 and 1992 “required the collaborative efforts of various groups of conservators” specializing in paper, objects, textiles, and paintings, due to “the bizarre nature of many of the materials incorporated into the combines and the idiosyncratic methods used by the artist in their construction.”[41]

The highly vulnerable state of the Gold Painting has necessitated that it rarely be permitted to travel to other museums, thereby disrupting standard museum practice. In response to a loan request for the exhibition Part Object Part Sculpture at the Wexner Center for the Arts that opened in October 2005, the Guggenheim’s deputy director and chief curator Lisa Dennison wrote:

As you are no doubt aware, Rauschenberg’s Gold Paintings are particularly fragile and any movement, regardless of how carefully done, greatly disturbs their surface. For this reason, we do not feel that we are able to lend on this occasion. Please be assured that my colleagues and I have struggled over your request as we believe in the scholarly merit of your exhibition. I trust however that you will understand that the successful long-term preservation of this piece must be our first and foremost priority.[42]

The Guggenheim’s concerns echo a number of the considerations for loaning works in poor condition outlined by Penn: “One must weigh the risk of transporting, handling, and publicly exhibiting the work against [the] benefits [of loaning a work]…. Should a work of art be jeopardized for an exhibition that may be very pretty and entertaining for the general public, but not necessarily intellectually substantial nor scholarly?”[43] Swift has pointed out that the fragile condition of many of Rauschenberg’s works has “severely limit[ed] their accessibility to the general public.”[44] Evidently, even if museums are willing to respect the artist’s intended deterioration, as reflected by minimal conservation treatments, they have instituted stricter preventive conservation measures (such as travel restrictions) to counteract or at least slow down such transformations.

The Elemental Paintings concisely summarize Rauschenberg’s view of and approach to materials. His subversion of traditional hierarchies of materials, his emphasis on the inherent qualities of his chosen media over personal gesture, and his embrace of physical changes in these early works allowed him to interrogate the standard boundaries and priorities of painting. These three tendencies characterize Rauschenberg’s aesthetic preferences for the remainder of his career, and are particularly evident in the radical combination of a vast array of unusual and sometimes unstable materials in his innovative and celebrated combines of 1954-64. Following his precocious acceptance of deterioration and change in the Elemental Paintings of ca. 1953-54, a wave of postwar art emphasizing degradation and mutability has demanded a revision of standard conservation practice.

*Charlotte Healy is a doctoral student at the Institute of Fine Arts, NYU, where she specializes in the materials and methods of modern art. She received her MA from the IFA in 2013, and wrote her thesis on tactility in Paul Klee’s paintings. She holds a BA from Williams College, graduating with Highest Honors in Art History. She has completed curatorial internships at The Museum of Modern Art, The Phillips Collection, and The Frick Collection. She recently participated in the First Museum Research Consortium Study Sessions at MoMA, and presented a paper at the Cleveland Symposium in October 2014.  


[1]. As John Cage wrote, “He changes what goes on, on a canvas, but he does not change how canvas is used for paintings — that is, stretched flat to make rectangular surfaces which may be hung on a wall.” John Cage, “On Robert Rauschenberg, Artist, and His Work,” in Silence (Middletown, CT: Wesleyan University Press, 1961), 100. This is not a completely accurate description of these works, given their thick three-dimensionality.

[2]. According to Walter Hopps, “as a crucial part of his early childhood, Rauschenberg…collected and arranged a great miscellany of things that were meaningful to him, obsessively adding jars and boxes and all sorts of found specimens such as rocks, plants, insects, and small animals” to a compartmentalized “collection wall” he built in his room. Walter Hopps, Robert Rauschenberg: The Early 1950s (Houston: Houston Fine Art Press, 1991), 14. Hopps has suggested that consequently Rauschenberg’s training at Black Mountain College in North Carolina, under the strict instruction of Josef Albers, solidified this inherent “belief in the usefulness and worth of any material.” Hopps, The Early 1950s, 16. Albers’ multimedia approach to teaching was largely informed by his Bauhaus colleague László Moholy-Nagy. Like Moholy-Nagy, Albers stressed the essential properties of a wide variety of materials and the proper way to manipulate and handle each. In response to a question about his time at Black Mountain in an interview with Barbara Rose, Rauschenberg revealed, “I maintained my affection for the materials and the physical aspects of art.” Later in the interview, Rose commented, “The original Bauhaus course that was taught in Germany was based on properties, qualities and characteristics of the materials. This attitude is a central part of your art also.” Rauschenberg replied: “I have a great respect for my materials.” Barbara Rose, An Interview with Robert Rauschenberg (New York: Vintage Books, 1987), 23, 89.

[3]. Rose, An Interview, 58.

[4]. For reproductions of these two works, see “Untitled [small White Lead Painting],” Robert Rauschenberg Foundation, http://www.rauschenbergfoundation.org/art/artwork/untitled-small-white-lead-painting, and Walter Hopps, Robert Rauschenberg: The Early 1950s (Houston: Houston Fine Art Press, 1991), 202, respectively.

[5]. Dorothy Gees Seckler, “The Artist Speaks: Robert Rauschenberg.” Art in America 54, no. 3 (May-June 1966): 76.

[6]. Branden W. Joseph, Random Order: Robert Rauschenberg and the Neo-Avant-Garde (Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press, 2003), 92.

[7]. From an unpublished interview conducted January 18-20, 1991. This line is quoted in Joseph, Random Order, 92. In an interview with Dorothy Gees Seckler, Rauschenberg reiterated his desire to compare paper with gold as painting media, again finding them equally valid materials for his purposes: “I did a painting in toilet-paper, then duplicated it in gold-leaf. I studied both very carefully and found no advantage in either: whatever one was saying, the other seemed to be just as articulate. I knew then that it was somebody else’s problem — not mine.” Seckler, “The Artist Speaks,” 81.

[8]. Michael Baxandall, Painting and Experience in Fifteenth-Century Italy (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1988), 6-11.

[9]. Rose, An Interview, 90.

[10]. This kind of “idealization” of the medium of oil paint is epitomized by the paintings of Jean-Léon Gérôme. More recently, throughout his career Vik Muniz has taken an “idealizing” approach to various unconventional media, such as dust, chocolate syrup, and garbage — in other words, he masks their identities in order to create recognizable images, which he then photographs.

[11]. In his essay, Rosenberg declared, “At a certain moment the canvas began to appear to one American painter after another as an arena in which to act…. A painting that is an act is inseparable from the biography of the artist.” Harold Rosenberg, “The American Action Painters,” in The Tradition of the New (New York: Horizon Press, 1959), 25, 27. This essay was indicative of the growing preference in the early 1950s for the large gestural canvases of First Generation New York School artists like Willem de Kooning and Jackson Pollock and the accompanying obsession with their artistic process.

[12]. Rose, An Interview, 56.

[13]. Calvin Tomkins, The Bride & The Bachelors: Five Masters of the Avant Garde (New York: The Viking Press, 1968), 209.

[14]. Ibid., 204. Rauschenberg restated this idea in the 1973 documentary Painters Painting: “You begin with the possibilities of the materials, and then you let them do what they can do, so that the artist is really almost a bystander while he’s working.” Emile De Antonio and Mitch Tuchman, Painters Painting: A Candid History of the Modern Art Scene, 1940-1970 (New York: Abbeville Press, 1984), 92.

[15]. Tomkins, The Bride, 204.

[16]. Rose, An Interview, 72.

[17]. Ibid., 56.

[18]. Hopps, The Early 1950s, 153.

[19]. See throughout Hopps, The Early 1950s.

[20]. Cage recounted this experience in a series of statements on Rauschenberg: “The door is never locked. Rauschenberg walks in. No one home. He paints a new painting over the old one. Is there a talent then to keep the two, the one above, the one below? What a plight (it’s no more serious than that) we’re in! It’s a joy in fact to begin over again.” Cage, “On Robert Rauschenberg,” 101.

[21]. For a more detailed account of the White Lead Painting and Twombly’s assessment of it, see Hopps, The Early 1950s, 163-64.

[22]. Rose, An Interview, 57.

[23]. James Coddington and Jennifer Hickey, “MoMA’s Jackson Pollock Conservation Project — An Ounce of Prevention…,” Inside/Out: A MoMA/MoMA PS1 Blog, December 10, 2012, http://www.moma.org/explore/inside_out/2012/12/10/momas-jackson-pollock-conservation-project-an-ounce-of-prevention.

[24]. As Branden Joseph observed, the Dirt Paintings and Growing Painting “appear as attempts to show matter in its own duration: a duration related to the natural creation or deterioration within which humanity exists, but that is not itself dependent on humanity.” Joseph, Random Order, 61.

[25]. Unfortunately some of these original frames are now missing. See, for instance, “Untitled (Gold Painting),” Robert Rauschenberg Foundation, http://www.rauschenbergfoundation.org/art/artwork/untitled-gold-painting-0.

[26]. In 1991, Hopps assigned this work to 1953. Hopps, The Early 1950s, 212-13. However, the Robert Rauschenberg Foundation has reassigned this work to 1952. “Pink Clay Painting (To Pete),” Robert Rauschenberg Foundation, http://www.rauschenbergfoundation.org/art/artwork/pink-clay-painting-pete. For the work’s current condition, see the Sotheby’s condition report. “Contemporary Art Day Auction, Lot 160: Robert Rauschenberg, Pink Clay Painting (To Pete),” Sotheby’s, http://www.sothebys.com/en/auctions/ecatalogue/2014/contemporary-art-day-sale-n09142/lot.160.html.

[27]. According to Hopps, “This vibrant juxtaposition of pink and orange recurs throughout Rauschenberg’s palette…. This work in its original incarnation was also an early example of Rauschenberg’s fascination with doors and their functions of concealing and revealing.” Hopps, The Early 1950s, 162.

[28]. Cage, “On Robert Rauschenberg,” 100.

[29]. Leo Steinberg, “Other Criteria,” in Other Criteria: Confrontations with Twentieth-Century Art (New York: Oxford University Press, 1972), 87.

[30]. Hopps, The Early 1950s, 162.

[31]. Rose, An Interview, 58.

[32]. Paula Volent, “When Artists’ Intent is Accidental. Artists’ Acceptance of and Experimentation with Changes and Transformations in Materials,” in Modern Works, Modern Problems? Conference Papers, ed. Alison Richmond (London: Institute of Paper Conservation, 1994), 171.

[33]. Conservator Ann Baldwin has explained some of the legal issues related to artist’s intent: “Artist’s intent has been a focus of professional conferences and is covered under copyright law in federal courts and in California and New York. These laws were written to extend legal protection against many types of alteration, including vandalism, of an artist’s original work. Any type of damage — including significant change resulting from a conservation treatment — may be subject to a legal action.” Ann M. Baldwin, “The Wayward Paper Object: Artist’s Intent, Technical Analysis, and Treatment of a 1966 Robert Rauschenberg Diptych,” Journal of the American Institute for Conservation 38, no. 3 (Autumn-Winter 1999): 416.

[34]. Suzanne Penn, “Johns, Rauschenberg and Kiefer: Preserving the Artist’s Intentions,” The Journal of Art 1, no. 2 (January 1989): 24.

[35]. Antonio Rava, “Robert Rauschenberg,” in Conserving Contemporary Art: Issues, Methods, Materials, and Research, ed. Oscar Chiantore and Antonio Rava (Los Angeles: The Getty Conservation), 211.

[36]. See Volent, “Artists’ Intent,” 172; Baldwin, “Wayward Paper Object,” 417. For the treatment of all the combines in the Panza Collection at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, “it was agreed that no surface should appear ‘pristine’ as this would ‘contradict the artist’s assumed intention.’” Amanda Swift, “Robert Rauschenberg: The Neo-Dada Junk Aesthetic,” in Modern Works, Modern Problems? Conference Papers, ed. Alison Richmond (London: Institute of Paper Conservation, 1994), 168.

[37]. English translation in Rava, “Robert Rauschenberg,” 210.

[38]. English translation in ibid.

[39]. Domínguez Rubio emphasizes that docility and unruliness represent two ends of a spectrum. Fernando Domínguez Rubio, “The (uneasy) rise of the conservator” (presentation at the Mellon Research Initiative conference Conservation and Its Contexts, Institute of Fine Arts, New York University, New York, NY, December 7, 2013); Fernando Domínguez Rubio, “Preserving the unpreservable: docile and unruly objects at MoMA,” Theory and Society (August 2014): n.p.

[40]. Collection file 441.1974, Department of Painting and Sculpture, The Museum of Modern Art, New York; MaryKate Cleary (Collection Specialist, Department of Painting and Sculpture, The Museum of Modern Art, New York), email message to author, December 18, 2013.

[41]. Swift, “Neo-Dada Junk Aesthetic,” 168.

[42]. Letter dated 7 September 2004, from Lisa Dennison to Sherri Geldin. Collection file 74.2109, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York.

[43]. Penn, “Preserving the Artist’s Intentions,” 24.

[44]. Swift, “Neo-Dada Junk Aesthetic,” 168.

Growing Old Gracefully: The Conservation of A Mixed Media Collage at University College London Art Museum

*By Gillian Marcus

From a conservator’s perspective, the unknown can often be a frightening prospect. Materials which have traditionally been considered threats to an art object – acidic boards, corroding metal, pressure-sensitive tape, food, human blood, or worse – can be crucial aesthetic elements in a contemporary work. In the case of a mixed-media collage on paper by former Slade School of Art student Amanda Ann Ryder, deteriorating components of the work were a direct result of the artist’s experimentation with nontraditional materials and techniques. Successful ways of preserving the appearance of the collage elements required balancing the artist’s aesthetic and material choices with decisions which would support the current and future stability of the object. This meant that the artist’s original materials needed to be retained completely, with the measures taken for stability remaining discreet, if not invisible.

In an article on the treatment of deteriorating Warhol and Rauschenberg collages, the contemporary art conservator Daria Keynan discussed the concept of degraded materials “not as signs of dangerous deterioration leading to a sure destruction but rather as ‘blind’ collage elements which appear with time – part of the life of the piece and a continuation of an experiment begun at an earlier time.” [1] These “blind elements” are a natural evolution of the materials used in the work and are a reflection of the artist’s choices made during the creative process. If the art object were a living organism the resulting stains and creases, distortions and faded media would be the wrinkles, age spots, and grey hair which result from a life well-lived. In theory, art made with experimental materials shouldn’t necessarily stay pristine; rather, it grows old gracefully with the occasional visible sign of deterioration. Balancing the artist’s choice of materials with the stability of the object becomes quite tricky in this context–a process that necessitates a negotiation between preserving the aesthetic choices made by the artist, and the physical integrity of the work. In the case of the piece treated in this report, that meant making compromises which removed some signs of deterioration while leaving others visible.

The object to be conserved, Untitled (1973) is currently held as item SPC 8972 in the University College London Art Museum’s Strang Print Room. SPC refers to the Slade Prize Collection, a collection of the annual winners of an award which was founded in 1872 and includes work from students in 1897 to the current day. [2]

Untitled 1973

Amanda’ Ryder’s Untitled is a mixed-media collage on a paper support, overlaid with a grid composed of masking tape and thin paper. Graphite had been heavily applied to the masking tape grid and the paper support. The object was in poor condition due to failure of the adhesive on the masking tape, and the resulting detachment of the grid from the paper support and subsequent reattachment to a sheet of acid-free tissue which had been placed above it in storage. The object had also been mounted to a board using masking tape around the perimeter, which had caused extensive staining on borders of the object.

Fig. 1: Recto of Untitled (1973): Tissue paper covers the object. The original placement of the masking tape grid can be seen in the white areas.

Fig. 1: Recto of Untitled (1973): Tissue paper covers the object. The original placement of the masking tape grid can be seen in the white areas.

Fig. 2: Verso of Untitled (1973).

Fig. 2: Verso of Untitled (1973).

The Slade Printing Department and Bartolomeu dos Santos

Untitled – classified as a print in the UCL Art Museum files – is a work by former Slade School of Art student Amanda Ann Ryder (b. 1952). The object was constructed more in the manner of a collage than as a print in the traditional sense, and was produced in the climate of experimentation which was the hallmark of the Slade School of Art printmaking department in the early seventies under artist and head of department Bartolomeu Cid dos Santos. Dos Santos was a former student of the Slade and a widely-exhibited experimental printmaker who encouraged his students to push the accepted boundaries of the medium.[3] The piece discussed in this essay, along with four of Ryder’s other works, were acquired as part of the Slade Prize collection, during a period in the art department which was so relaxed that the tradition of awarding specific prizes was dropped altogether.

A look through Ryder’s other pieces in the museum’s collection indicates that she was not afraid to use nontraditional printing materials such as string and pieces of 35mm film in her practice. It appears that she often worked with a technique known as collagraphy, a printmaking process in which textured materials are applied to the plate. When pressed, these plates form uniquely sculptural intaglio or relief works. Ryder also worked with a spare, minimal palette – mainly in shades of black, white, and gray, with the occasional hint of brown, red, green, or deep purple. Her aesthetic reflects the influence of dos Santos, who made it his life’s work to produce the “deep, profound blacks and beautiful half-tones” also found in Ryder’s printmaking technique.[4] Many of her works were painted or drawn over past the printmaking stage, allowing the artist to introduce spontaneous, freehand elements into the pieces. The end result is a product of the unrestrained mood in the Slade printmaking studio, during an era of experimentation with material and techniques and the swapping of ideas between students, tutors, and departments. Another Ryder piece in the collection has a label on the verso of the mount board indicating that Ryder applied for a scholarship place at the Royal College of Art in the sculpture department, and this serves as a clue to Ryder’s sculptural aesthetic as a printmaker. Her works are strikingly three dimensional in their use of collaged materials, thick, heavy impasto, and geometric forms.

Fig. 3: Amanda Ryder, Untitled (1975).  Detail, aquatint and open bite.

Fig. 3: Amanda Ryder, Untitled (1975). Detail, aquatint and open bite.

Fig. 4: Amanda Ryder, Loosely Strung Fragments (1976).  Aquatint and collage.

Fig. 4: Amanda Ryder, Loosely Strung Fragments (1976). Aquatint and collage.

Condition Prior to Treatment

Visual examination of the materials used in the construction of the piece suggests that the artist used several layers to construct her images. Assembled in the manner of a collage, the object was created from strips (roughly 3mm to 5mm wide) of masking tape covered in graphite powder, which had been overlaid in a grid-like shape onto a .22mm thick paper support. Very thin white paper fragments were adhered over the top of the masking tape grid using a chine-collé printing technique, in which pressure and a small amount of adhesive allows lighter papers to adhere to heavier supports with a minimal amount of adhesive; this compresses the elements so that they have a flat appearance. Small areas of green media – possibly colored pencil – were applied, followed by an overall shading with a graphite pencil and powder over the top of the entire assembly. The graphite appears dense and metallic on the crepe paper carrier; an attempt to replicate this in the studio suggested that it would have been accomplished by repeated applications with a 6B or 8B graphite pencil. The object was then sprayed with an unknown fixative, as noted in the UCL submission form.[4]

At some point during the object’s time in the Slade Prize Collection, a sheet of acid-free tissue was used to cover the top of the collage as protection. However, this had the unwanted effect of causing the tape to become adhered to the tissue in a significant portion of the grid, and to subsequently become detached from the paper support. In addition, the masking tape became warped and over time had shifted its position on the paper support up and to the left, in some places as much as a centimeter. The graphite was also extremely friable. Areas of the primary support where the masking tape was still attached had some skinning, most likely due to tension resulting from the tape’s adherence to the tissue paper above it. Paper patches on the tape grid were creased and torn, and small fragments of paper, which had been ripped from the primary support, remained stuck.

Fig. 5: Lower right corner; the masking tape grid detached from the support and adhered to the tissue paper cover.

Fig. 5: Lower right corner; the masking tape grid detached from the support and adhered to the tissue paper cover.

Composition and Degradation of Masking Tape

A significant body of research exists on the composition and deterioration of pressure-sensitive tape. In the case of Untitled (1973), masking tape was used for the construction of the collage as well as for mounting the object. As masking tape ages, the tackifier resin migrates up into the crepe paper carrier. This is due to similar solubility parameters between the adhesive and the elastomer, a substance impregnated in the carrier during the manufacturing process to increase its strength and flexibility.[1] As a result, the grid adhered itself to the tissue which was pressed on top of it; the fixative applied to the graphite may have also contributed to this phenomenon. Fortunately, the tape’s detachment from the paper support seemed to have left the area free of any adhesive residue, and the artist’s graphite markings served as a guide to the original placement of the tape grid.

Treatment Aims and Testing

Due to the fragility of the masking tape grid, the first step would be to remove it completely from areas where it was still adhered to the paper support. This would leave it it attached to the tissue paper, which would later serve as a temporary support system for moving and treating the grid. Once this was safely out of the way, the paper support needed to be removed from the now-unsuitable mount. The adhesive would need to be removed and any associated staining reduced.

In order to test appropriate adhesive systems for re-attaching the masking tape grid to the paper support, a mock-up needed to be constructed. At first the intention was to age newly-purchased masking tape in an accelerated aging oven, however a discovery during research suggested a more effective solution: using naturally aged masking tape of approximately the same age. As handwriting on the mount was found to be identical to writing in the original Slade Prize submission log, this indicated that the mounts were contemporary to the print and were most likely applied by the artist. This suggested that the masking tape used for mounting was likely to be roughly the same age as the masking tape grid, and possibly of the same brand and formulation. Therefore, once the aged tape was removed from the mount, it was saved in order to test re-attachment systems on a paper of similar thickness.

Once a suitable adhesive was found, the tape grid would be released from the tracing paper, lightly humidified and pressed, and a new adhesive system would be put in place to readhere it to the original paper support. Small tears would be mended on the verso of the object, and once fully treated it was to be remounted using stable, museum-grade materials.


The tape grid was still adhered to the paper support in the left-hand corners of the recto, and a scalpel blade dipped in acetone and manipulated beneath the crepe paper carrier allowed the corners of the grid to be removed without harming the paper support. The top of the carrier was still adhered to the sheet of tissue which had been placed on it in storage, and this was able to be removed mechanically with a microspatula without needing to apply solvents.

Fig. 6: Masking tape grid after removal from the paper support and tissue paper.

Fig. 6: Masking tape grid after removal from the paper support and tissue paper.

In order to test adhesive systems for re-attaching the tape grid, a mock-up had to be created which would allow samples to be made and compared. A template was created by tracing the bottom right corner of the tape grid onto tracing paper, and then trimming strips of the masking tape which had been removed from the mount. Once the two facsimiles were created, the adhesive was removed from the back with toluene to mimic the low adherence of the original grid. Cellulose powder was then dusted over the crepe paper carriers to ensure a non-sticky surface. A graphite pencil (Faber-Castell 6B) and graphite powder were applied to the paper carrier and smudged with a cotton swab so that the tape was thoroughly covered with graphite particles. Snowdon 130g cartridge drawing paper (which had a similar texture, thickness, and colour to the original support paper) was chosen as the test support.

Fig. 7:  Preparing the test samples.

Fig. 7: Preparing the test samples.

The requirements for an adhesive to re-adhere the tape grid were the following: 1) that it was solvent-, heat-, or pressure-activated, in order to aid readherence in situ, 2) that it was easily reversible, 3) that it allowed for the repositioning the grid before setting, and 4) that it was stable. After researching a number of adhesive types and case studies, the decision was narrowed down to testing two types of adhesive: Lascaux 360 HV (currently sold as 303 HV, water dispersion of butyl methacrylate copolymer and thickened with butyl polyacrylate) used as a double-sided pressure-sensitive adhesive, and BEVA 371 film (Ethylene vinyl acetate copolymers, cyclohexanone resins, phthalate ester of hydroabietyl alcohol and paraffin) used as a heat-set adhesive. In a previous case study, BEVA 371 film had successfully been used to readhere failing cellotape carriers on a Rauschenberg diptych.[7] Conservators at Tate Modern in London had also used it to reattach masking tape to a Francis Alÿs installation and to preserve brown packing tape on objects in a Thomas Hirschhorn exhibition.[8] Pressure-sensitive tape composed of Lascaux 360 HV and Japanese tissue had been documented for use in assembling segments of a large map for exhibition.[9] It also rated highly for reversibility and showed very little skinning, adhesive residue, and text loss in the Canadian Conservation Institute’s Adhesive Tape and Heat-Set Tissues Project.[10]

Lascaux 360 HV pressure-sensitive tape was prepared by brushing the acrylic dispersion onto a sheet of mylar in a thin layer, placing a sheet of humidified Japanese tissue above it, and then spreading a second layer of the adhesive. The tissue needed to be thin enough to work as a piece of double-sided pressure-sensitive tape, as well as strong enough to hold the masking tape grid onto the paper support and avoid tearing during application. After the two samples were prepared, they were left to cure overnight in a fume cupboard to discourage dust. They were subsequently covered with another sheet of mylar, and then cut into strips roughly 4mm wide.

The mock-ups were prepared by humidifying them in a small Sympatex chamber for 45 minutes. After pressing them they were applied to Snowdon 130 gsm cartridge paper. Strips of the pressure-sensitive tape were applied in one-inch sections to the underside of the mock-up and then gently reinforced.

BEVA 371 film was applied with a tacking iron and a sheet of silicon release paper; it was noted that the heat of application caused significant movement of the graphite particles onto the silicone release paper.

Once the mock-ups were successfully applied to the cartridge paper they were dusted with graphite powder to approximate the artist’s finishing technique. They were then aged in a Gallenkamp 300 Plus forced-convection oven at 104 ⁰C for five days in order to test long-term stability of the adhesives (roughly the equivalent of aging the paper 42 years, though by no means an exact measurement).

Results of accelerated aging tests and choice of adhesive

Once the test samples were removed from the oven, they were examined in order to detect the presence of any changes. The sample made with BEVA 371 film showed the most dramatic difference, with yellow staining appearing on the verso of the paper support in the areas it had been applied. In addition, the tape grid also showed poor adhesion to the support. This, coupled with the fact that the heated application caused the displacement of graphite particles, indicated that BEVA 371 film would be an unsatisfactory choice of adhesive. In contrast, the sample with Lascaux 360 HV showed no staining or discolouration, and the object still had good adhesion between the tape grid and the support. The decision was made to “re-tape” the object with Usimino 16 gsm and Lascaux 360 HV as it most closely mimicked the adhesive effect that the original masking tape grid would have had, and allowed for adjustments in application; the tape could be moved if the original placement wasn’t satisfactory before pressure was applied. In addition, this method would be quicker than using a solvent-activated remoistenable adhesive tissue, but was fully reversible in acetone and toluene, should it need alteration in the future.

Re-assembling the collage

Due to tension on the crepe paper from its adherence to the tissue paper, the tape grid was creased in several areas. Some pieces had folded in on themselves, and the very thin paper which had been applied with the chine-collé technique had ripped in places and become wrinkled. In order for the piece to regain its original, flat appearance (or as close as was possible without putting strain on the tape or support), the tape grid needed to be humidified. Spot tests of the media showed that it was extremely moisture-sensitive, so a combination of a humidification tent (with Sympatex) and the use of an ultrasonic humidifier were tested. The ultrasonic humidifier proved to be the most effective in terms of encouraging the tape grid to flatten in precise locations.

The thin tissue patches on the tape grid were torn and creased in many areas, and needed to be stabilised before the entire grid could be replaced. After testing the tissue and media for moisture sensitivity, the torn and creased areas were locally lined or repaired with Tengujo Japanese tissue (11 gsm) and wheat starch paste (30% w/v). The entire grid was then left to press overnight.

Fig. 8: Reassembling the collage.

Fig. 8: Reassembling the collage.

Once prepared for reattachment, the grid was placed on top of the original support and aligned as closely as possible. Due to the tape grid warping and expanding, it would not line up completely with its original location on the primary support. This left white areas where the grid had originally been anchored. It was felt that to attempt complete coverage by stretching the tape grid would cause tension on the object. Therefore, aligning the paper patches (where pencil lines needed to register exactly) became the priority.

Small, 4mm-wide pieces of Lascaux 360 HV were cut for the double-sided pressure sensitive Usimino tape which had previously been prepared. These were inserted under the joints of the tape grid as each section was gently pressed into place. The pressure-sensitive tape allowed for some adjustment of the object during its placement, which was a welcome feature when aligning the tape grid. Application proceeded from the lower left-hand corner up to the upper right-hand corner. The object (tape grid and support) was then gently pressed overnight to ensure even adhesion of the grid. Wheat starch paste (20% w/v) was applied to the thin paper patches in order to flatten and secure them to the support, and to readhere tiny areas of skinning which had been caused by the tape grid’s tension on the paper support. Areas of the tape grid which were too delicate for the double-sided pressure-sensitive adhesive were also gently pasted down, and the object was pressed a final time overnight.

Treatment Evaluation and Conclusions

Fig. 9: Untitled (1973) before treatment.

Fig. 9: Untitled (1973) before treatment.

Fig. 10: Untitled (1973) after treatment.

Fig. 10: Untitled (1973) after treatment.

Treatments to conserve Amanda Ryder’s Untitled (1973) successfully stabilized the degraded collage elements. The masking tape grid and primary paper support were able to be reunited without sacrificing the integrity of either part of the object. Double-sided pressure-sensitive tape composed of Japanese tissue and Lascaux 360 HV served as a gentle way to re-adhere the masking tape grid without applying tension. It also allowed the object to be repositioned during treatment without the use of solvents or heat.

The aim of treatments performed on Untitled (1973) was to respect the experimental nature of its creation, and the try-anything context the piece was produced in. By recognising that deterioration can be a natural expression of the artist’s use of nontraditional materials, a careful balance was negotiated between stabilising the work and allowing the object to age with its sense of material adventure still intact.

*Gillian Marcus is a recent graduate of the MA program in Conservation of Art on Paper at Camberwell College of Arts in London, UK. Her areas of interest are in contemporary art on paper, modern media, and photographic materials. Previously, she has interned at the Centre for Photographic Conservation, the Royal Collection, the Black Cultural Archives, and Victoria & Albert Museum.

[All photographs taken by the author, courtesy of University College London Art Museum]

[1] Daria Keynan, “Issues in Collage Conservation, ” Modern Works – Modern Problems? Conference Papers  78.

[2] Emma Chambers, UCL Art Collection – An Introduction and Collections Guide.  (Cambridge: Piggott Black Bear, 2008.).

[3] Negley Hart, “Professor Bartolomeu dos Santos: Creative Printmaker and Teacher at the Slade School of Fine Art,” The Independent  (London), June 4, 2008.

[4] Ibid., 2.

[5] Andrea Fredericksen, interview with author, March 10, 2014.

[6] Elissa O’Loughlin and Lisa Stiber. “A Closer Look at Pressure-Sensitive Adhesive Tapes: Update on Conservation Strategies.” IPC Conference Papers Manchester (1992): 280-87.

[7] Ann M. Baldwin, “The Wayward Paper Object: Artist’s Intent, Technical Analysis, and Treatment of a 1966 Robert Rauschenberg Diptych,”  Journal of the American Institute for Conservation  38, No. 3 (1999):411-428.

[8] Piers Townshend, conversation with author, May 2, 2014.

[9] Lisa Stiber et al., “The Triumphal Arch and the Large Triumphal Carriage of Maximilian II: two oversized, multiblock, 16th century woodcuts from the studio of Albrecht Dürer,” The Book and Paper Group Annual  14, (1995):63-85.

[10] Jane Down et al, “Update on the CCI Adhesive Tape and Heat-Set Tissues Project,”  Proceedings of Symposium 2011 – Adhesives and Consolidants for Conservation  (2011): 1-29.