Philadelphia, PA, July 11, 2003 – The Philadelphia Museum of Art announced today that The Neubauer Family Foundation has committed $1 million to establish The Neubauer Family Chair of Conservation, currently held by P. Andrew Lins, the Museum’s Senior Conservator of Decorative Arts and Sculpture. The pledge will endow this senior position in addition to providing much-needed funds for instrumentation and research. It matches a challenge grant offered by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to help the Museum meet its longstanding goal of endowing all of its senior professional positions.
"We are most grateful to Joe and Jeanette Neubauer. Through their Foundation they have contributed generously to help us meet this enormous challenge," said Gerry Lenfest, Chairman of the Museum’s Board of Trustees. "Over the past several years, since we announced our current capital campaign, the 2001 FUND, the Museum has succeeded in endowing a total of six crucial staff positions, as well as five fellowships which provide training for young professionals in the museum field. We are deeply satisfied with this progress toward our goal."
Anne d’Harnoncourt, Director of the Philadelphia Museum of Art, stated: "The impact of the Neubauers’ generosity, building upon that of The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and other individual donors to the campaign, will benefit not only the Museum’s conservation program but also the many institutions and agencies that the distinguished staff of this department advise and support."
The Conservation Department of the Philadelphia Museum of Art is one of the most comprehensive in an American art museum, with a professional staff skilled in the diverse fields represented in the Museum’s collections, including painting, sculpture, furniture, costume and textiles, works on paper and decorative arts in all mediums. The department is internationally recognized for its advanced technical program and skill, and for research and scholarly contributions to the field through publications and presentations. The Conservation Department’s team of experienced conservators provides the critical care necessary for the Museum’s collections of more than 300,000 objects while also providing oversight and advice for many of Philadelphia’s treasures of public sculpture and historic architecture.
The Conservation Department is active in its study, care and treatment of works of art in fields spanning a period of some 2,000 years of human cultural achievement across the six continents represented in the Museum’s collection, from decorative arts and architectural interiors to painting, drawing and sculpture. Among its major recent projects are:
- Technical analysis and treatment of the surface color (or patination) of The Thinker, Auguste Rodin’s monumental bronze facing the Benjamin Franklin Parkway outside the Rodin Museum.
- A three-year program of intensive scholarly research and technical study centered on the Museum’s collection of works by the 19th-century American artist Thomas Eakins. The conservators’ research produced landmark discoveries about Eakins’ artistic concerns and working methods.
- The consolidation and stabilization of the great painted ceiling of the Chinese Palace Hall on the Museum’s second floor, which was constructed in Beijing during the reign of emperor T’ien Chi (1621-27).
- Examination and treatment of eighty of the Museum’s finest Italian drawings—from old master drawings to works by contemporary artists—to improve their appearance and long-term stability in preparation for a forthcoming exhibition and an accompanying catalogue scheduled for autumn 2004.
- Extensive conservation of a densely carved and gilded 18th-century French rococo marble top console table, including removal of many layers of previous restoration, carving of missing ornamentation and regilding of the areas of loss.
- Preparation for major exhibitions, including Barnett Newman (2002)—the culmination of five years of joint conservation and curatorial study of virtually every work by the artist; Italian Renaissance Ceramics from The Howard I. and Janet H. Stein Collection, for which some 50 examples of Italian maiolica were evaluated, treated and dated by thermoluminescence where necessary; and the upcoming Shocking! The Art and Fashion of Elsa Schiaparelli (September 28, 2003 – January 4, 2004) for which the department is examining construction methods and carrying out material analysis prior to treating more than 70 spectacular but fragile objects given by Schiaparelli to the Museum in 1969.
Joseph Neubauer is chairman and chief executive officer of ARAMARK, a world leader in managed services. He previously held senior positions with PepsiCo, Inc. and Chase Manhattan Bank. Mr. Neubauer serves on the Museum’s Corporate Executive Board as well as the Board of Directors of CIGNA, Federated Department Stores, Verizon Communications, Wachovia Corporation, Catalyst and the Jewish Theological Seminary. He also serves on the Board of Trustees for Tufts University and the University of Chicago. Jeanette Lerman-Neubauer is the President of J.P. Lerman & Co. She is a former Vice President of Communications for Time Warner. Ms. Neubauer serves on the Museum’s Modern and Contemporary Art Committee and on the board of the Jewish Theological Seminary.