Worcester Art Museum: Sketches by Travis Simpkins

Sketches of works in the collection of the Worcester art museum - worcester, massachusetts

0 notes

The first photo, from 1950, shows a west-to-east view of the fourth floor galleries about a decade after the new level was added on top of the original 1897 building of the Worcester Art Museum. For the first five decades after it’s construction in 1940, the fourth floor was used as Special Exhibition space. Today, a viewer in the same spot would find themselves in the center of the Pre-Columbian Gallery (which contains many of my favorite objects in the WAM collection).
Then and Now: “Fourth Floor (West Gallery)- Worcester Art Museum, 1950 and 2014. by Travis Simpkins

The first photo, from 1950, shows a west-to-east view of the fourth floor galleries about a decade after the new level was added on top of the original 1897 building of the Worcester Art Museum. For the first five decades after it’s construction in 1940, the fourth floor was used as Special Exhibition space. Today, a viewer in the same spot would find themselves in the center of the Pre-Columbian Gallery (which contains many of my favorite objects in the WAM collection).

Then and Now: “Fourth Floor (West Gallery)- Worcester Art Museum, 1950 and 2014. by Travis Simpkins

Filed under Worcester Art Museum then and now Travis Simpkins precolumbian pre-columbian art history Before and After past and present Worcester worcesterhistory art museum museum collections exhibit planning exhibition design museum exhibit aztec mayan worcestermassachusetts gold archaeology history artists on tumblr photography 1950 2014

1 note

After it’s installation at the Worcester Art Museum, the Antioch Hunt mosaic was coated with a varnish that was intended to saturate the colors. Instead, it yellowed the surface over the years. The 1978 photo shows conservators at work cleaning the tesserae (one of several full treatments over the decades). Later work involved replacing previous concrete fill areas with a new reversible acrylic lime mortar. The 1978 photo was taken in artificial light (the skylight was damaged in 1938, covered in metal, and was not replaced until the early 2000’s), so I shot the 2014 photo with incandescent lighting as well.
Then and Now: “Renaissance Court- Worcester Art Museum, 1978 and 2014”. by Travis Simpkins

After it’s installation at the Worcester Art Museum, the Antioch Hunt mosaic was coated with a varnish that was intended to saturate the colors. Instead, it yellowed the surface over the years. The 1978 photo shows conservators at work cleaning the tesserae (one of several full treatments over the decades). Later work involved replacing previous concrete fill areas with a new reversible acrylic lime mortar. The 1978 photo was taken in artificial light (the skylight was damaged in 1938, covered in metal, and was not replaced until the early 2000’s), so I shot the 2014 photo with incandescent lighting as well.

Then and Now: “Renaissance Court- Worcester Art Museum, 1978 and 2014”. by Travis Simpkins

Filed under Worcester Art Museum antioch mosaic then and now Travis Simpkins conservation conservator restoration ancient ancient art ancient rome hunt past and present Before and After museum collections antiquity 1978 2014 artists on tumblr art history worcesterhistory Worcester worcestermassachusetts roman archaeology art museum museum

3 notes

In 1936, the Worcester Art Museum hired Edmond de Beaumont as it’s first full-time conservator. During his four decades at WAM, de Beaumont examined and documented much of the collection with innovative and technical finesse, using x-radiography and infrared photography. Further focus on conservation was added in 1947 when George L. Stout came on as WAM Director. Recently portrayed by George Clooney in “The Monuments Men,” Stout helped rescue countless artistic treasures from theft and destruction during World War II. Prior to the war, he had been a conservator at Harvard’s Fogg Art Museum. George Stout served at WAM until 1955, when he left to become the Director of the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston. He led the Gardner Museum for 15 years, retiring in 1970.

In 1936, the Worcester Art Museum hired Edmond de Beaumont as it’s first full-time conservator. During his four decades at WAM, de Beaumont examined and documented much of the collection with innovative and technical finesse, using x-radiography and infrared photography. Further focus on conservation was added in 1947 when George L. Stout came on as WAM Director. Recently portrayed by George Clooney in “The Monuments Men,” Stout helped rescue countless artistic treasures from theft and destruction during World War II. Prior to the war, he had been a conservator at Harvard’s Fogg Art Museum. George Stout served at WAM until 1955, when he left to become the Director of the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston. He led the Gardner Museum for 15 years, retiring in 1970.

Filed under Worcester Art Museum george l stout george stout edmond de beaumont history monuments men wwii history conservation art history preservation isabella stewart gardner museum museum museum collections george clooney film museum director conservator science worcesterhistory Worcester worcestermassachusetts harvard fogg art museum xray infrared

6 notes

In the late 1930’s, a few years after the Renaissance Court building was constructed, the newly unearthed Antioch mosaics began arriving at the Worcester Art Museum. In the first photo, from 1937, the five sections of the Worcester Hunt mosaic are set in place after the decision was made to cut open the fairly new stone floor. Border fragments were added to the east and west sides of the mosaic in 2000, under the expert supervision of curator Christine Kondoleon (currently working at the MFA) and conservator Larry Becker (currently working at the Metropolitan Museum of Art). Both the older photo and the 2014 shot show the Renaissance Court in natural light.
Then and Now: “Renaissance Court (Antioch Mosaic)- Worcester Art Museum, 1937 and 2014”. by Travis Simpkins

In the late 1930’s, a few years after the Renaissance Court building was constructed, the newly unearthed Antioch mosaics began arriving at the Worcester Art Museum. In the first photo, from 1937, the five sections of the Worcester Hunt mosaic are set in place after the decision was made to cut open the fairly new stone floor. Border fragments were added to the east and west sides of the mosaic in 2000, under the expert supervision of curator Christine Kondoleon (currently working at the MFA) and conservator Larry Becker (currently working at the Metropolitan Museum of Art). Both the older photo and the 2014 shot show the Renaissance Court in natural light.

Then and Now: “Renaissance Court (Antioch Mosaic)- Worcester Art Museum, 1937 and 2014”. by Travis Simpkins

Filed under Worcester Art Museum Worcester then and now photography Travis Simpkins history worcesterhistory antioch ancient ancient rome mosaic roman empire ancient art worcestermassachusetts past and present Before and After conservation conservator curator restoration museum collections 1937 excavation archaeology

2 notes

In this “Then and Now” composition, the 1970 photo shows the WAM Library, complete with a stylish spiral staircase leading up to the mezzanine. This look, with wood-slat paneling, was also seen in the Auditorium (now the Contemporary Gallery) across the way, which was probably renovated around the same time. Today, the spiral staircase is gone, but many of these aesthetic elements are still present in the Library’s rearranged set-up. I believe that is the same desk used today, just turned clockwise and pulled back towards the wall.
Then and Now: “Upper Library- Worcester Art Museum, 1970 and 2014”. by Travis Simpkins

In this “Then and Now” composition, the 1970 photo shows the WAM Library, complete with a stylish spiral staircase leading up to the mezzanine. This look, with wood-slat paneling, was also seen in the Auditorium (now the Contemporary Gallery) across the way, which was probably renovated around the same time. Today, the spiral staircase is gone, but many of these aesthetic elements are still present in the Library’s rearranged set-up. I believe that is the same desk used today, just turned clockwise and pulled back towards the wall.

Then and Now: “Upper Library- Worcester Art Museum, 1970 and 2014”. by Travis Simpkins

Filed under Worcester Art Museum then and now history photography Travis Simpkins library worcesterhistory worcestermassachusetts Worcester past and present Before and After interior design Architecture art museum museum spiral staircase retro vintage 1970 2014 artists on tumblr

2 notes

The first photo, from about 1905, shows a view of the third floor’s East Gallery at the Worcester Art Museum. It appears as though the artwork represented was part of a special exhibition of portraiture, with several works by John Singer Sargent prominently displayed. This same view today finds the viewer at the entry to the Donnelly Gallery, facing Nam June Paik’s 1995 Rocket-inspired piece, “Robert Goddard.”Then and Now: “Third Floor (East Gallery)- Worcester Art Museum, 1905 and 2014”. by Travis Simpkins

The first photo, from about 1905, shows a view of the third floor’s East Gallery at the Worcester Art Museum. It appears as though the artwork represented was part of a special exhibition of portraiture, with several works by John Singer Sargent prominently displayed. This same view today finds the viewer at the entry to the Donnelly Gallery, facing Nam June Paik’s 1995 Rocket-inspired piece, “Robert Goddard.”

Then and Now: “Third Floor (East Gallery)- Worcester Art Museum, 1905 and 2014”. by Travis Simpkins

Filed under Worcester Art Museum then and now photography history Travis Simpkins past and present Before and After worcesterhistory worcestermassachusetts Worcester art history John Singer Sargent nam june paik robert goddard rocket neon modern art contemporary museum collections museum art museum exhibit planning exhibition design