Department Conservation and Restoration | Paintings
Department of Paintings
The SPSG’s Painting and Frame Collection encompasses more than 4000 works from the 15th to the 20th centuries, on display in over 20 Prussian palaces. Their present conditions reflect the eventful histories of the palaces and their interiors, which have experienced various uses, changes of ownership, and war-caused losses and damage, but also new acquisitions and restitutions. Thus, the spectrum of forms of presentation ranges from originally preserved room ensembles to museum-style painting displays hung in historical interiors. The collection is cared for and maintained at two locations, by seven staff members (at Charlottenburg Palace in Berlin, and at the Science and Restoration Center in Potsdam).
Preservation, care and research of the paintings and frames make up a large part of conservators’ activities. They are also responsible for influencing the ambient conditions of the museum operation in historical palace buildings so that the works of art are preserved in the best possible way for future generations. The decision-making process combines scientifically based knowledge in the field of conservation and restoration with a comprehensive understanding of the materials and production techniques of the objects as well as of their restoration and collection histories and site-specific preservation conditions.
The conservational and restoration measures are based on extensive professional experience and high quality technical equipment in the workshops. The archiving of restoration documentation initiated in the 1960s continues. Measures carried out by freelance restorers are planned by SPSG restorers, with the work taking place on the SPSG premises to allow for proper supervision and support.
To ensure the long-term preservation of the painting and frame collection, the department invests much time in preventive measures, including climate monitoring, climate control, light protection and the minimization of negative effects. Departmental knowledge is also key in the supervision of special exhibitions and processing the high demand of national and international loan requests. In the past the conservators were primarily concerned with refurbishing numerous palaces following German Reunification, while in recent years their focus has shifted to extensive building measures taking place in connection with Master Plan projects.
The painting and frame conservators collaborate on the SPSG’s interdepartmental research projects, such as the interdisciplinary preparation of collection catalogues. In addition, they research topics in their area of expertise for presentation, discussion and publication within the field internationally.