Conservation and Restoration | Paper
All paper and parchment used as the medium for artistic creation, planning processes and documentary records are central to the work of the paper conservation department, which is accomplished by two restorers and one conservator.
The palaces of the SPSG and its Graphic Arts Collection house a wide variety of different types of paper inscribed and printed with a range of methods, photographic processes, binding materials as well as material combinations, originating between the 17th and 20th century. The scope of potential damages these materials are subject to are just as numerous.
In addition to the natural aging processes, paper and parchment are particularly compromised by external influences, such as exposure to strong light and changing humidity levels. Further causes of damage are the unsuitable combination of materials, unfavorable storage conditions in the past and improper handling.
A major aspect of work carried out by this department lies in restoring individual objects for exhibition projects or making them more manageable for scientific research. Different techniques and materials are applied in keeping with the needs of the collection and the latest methods, depending on the object at hand.
The highest priority is accorded to providing the best form of conservation for each object, which applies to the entire inventory, both on display and in storage. For example, special mounting and “repackaging” techniques have been conceived that enable objects to be handled, exhibited and loaned out with more care, and also facilitate their use for research purposes.
Moreover, the in situ presentation of elements of the interior décor within the palaces, as in the case of Paretz Palace, where the wallpapers were reapplied and restored after years of storage, or the conservation of prints, such as at those at Charlottenhof Palace, also fall within the department’s scope of special duties. The exhibition of original works of art on paper in historical settings, while observing the most current preservation guidelines, poses a particular challenge for paper conservators.
KPM – ARCHIVE
The historically and culturally significant archive of the Königliche Porzellan-Manufaktur Berlin (KPM) is a unique collection of source material that has been expanded since its inception (1762–63) during the reign of Frederick the Great.
The KPM Archive contains more than 46,000 objects that fall into the categories of template collection, library and file collections, among which are numerous signed works by renowned artists, such as Karl Friedrich Schinkel, Gottfried Schadow, August Stüler and Hans Christian Genelli. The collection has been overseen by a member of the Paper Restoration Department since 1981.
The range of the materials used and complicated composition of the works require highly specialized care that is constantly adapted to practices resulting from the most up-to-date scientific research in the field of material technology and science. This makes the resulting care and treatment particularly challenging. The different states of preservation of extremely sensitive gouache and watercolor paintings, pastels, finely detailed reliefs, early photographs and numerous other objects exact a high degree of sensitivity when applying modern restoration methods.