THE OHIO CONSERVATION CENTER: Few conservators have had the experience of working with the large, darkened and fragile pencil drawings by the 19th century Swiss itinerant artist Ferdinand A. Brader who traveled and drew through areas of Pennsylvania and Ohio. And hence little information on the cautions to take, the best procedures, and also the discoveries about materials and techniques have been available. This exhibition of many of his farm drawings provided an opportunity to begin to collect information on Ferdinand A. Brader conservation.
Seemingly, the only concerted effort at serious materials research until the current Brader exhibition (see “Catalog”), and any report on a treatment, was performed by Stephanie Porto in 2007, then a graduate student in the Art Conservation Department of the State University College of Buffalo, NY. Her unpublished research paper was a significant trove of information, titled: “The Analysis and Treatment of two Birdseye View Drawings by Ferdinand Brader.”
A number of Brader drawings went through various conservation treatments in preparation for this exhibition, treatments performed by the Ohio paper conservators Gina McKay (McKay Lodge, Inc. of Oberlin) and Amy Crist (Crist Conservation of Cleveland).
During 2013 and through 2014 until near the opening of the exhibition, Senior paper conservator Gina McKay performed full treatments on ten large scale drawings, some with colored pencil media and one severely torn sheet. More treatments of Brader drawings are scheduled with Gina after the exhibition closes.
The collection and exhibit of so many very darkened papers in one place made it clear to many of their owners that conservation was a necessity for the survival of the depictions of their family farmsteads, farm life, and other views. And the exhibition curator, Kathleen Wieschaus-Voss made it part of her responsibility to fingerpoint the needs and means of preservation for the art she organized.
The Canton Museum of Art made McKay Lodge Conservation Laboratory an unofficial conservator for the exhibition. Gina met several times at our facilities with exhibition curator Kathleen Wieschaus-Voss to study drawings and discuss conservation and the artist’s materials; McKay Lodge conservators attended clinics and spoke with drawing owners; and advice was given for further informing the public.