In May MAGNT’s paintings conservator Lisa Nolan attended a conference and two workshops in Germany and the Netherlands.

The conference titled ‘Tempera painting between 1800 and 1950 Experiments and innovations from the Nazarene movement to abstract art’ was organised by the Doerner Institute of the Bavarian State Painting Collections. The conference was well attended with over 270 participants from 22 countries, and explored the revival of tempera painting from the perspectives of art history and conservation. A highlight was a tour of Paul Klee’s exhibition ‘Construction of Mystery’ by the paintings conservator and curator from the Pinakothek der Moderne.

The first workshop was based on the techniques of Ernest Berger who first published tempera emulsions in 1897 and was a leading author and teacher on painting techniques. About twenty-five conservators made old tempera recipes which were then painted out onto canvas boards as a binder, mixed with cobalt blue and iron oxide and then diluted with water so the results could be compared. The afternoon program included a presentation on Franz von Stuck’s tempera painting titled ‘Salome’ 1906 by Iris Winkelmeyer, the Head of Conservation at the City Gallery, Lenbachhaus, Munich.

The second workshop was instructed by Whitten and Proctor Fine Art Conservation was ‘Modern Resins for varnishing and retouching workshop’ with lectures by Conservation scientist Rene de la Rie. Participants applied seventeen varnish mixtures and three inpainting mixtures of various colours to canvas test panels. They also applied various varnishes to market bought paintings in order to understand how the properties work when varnished onto canvas and wooden panels.

For a Darwin based conservator to have the opportunity to work with international colleagues was an invaluable and unforgettable experience.