The primary responsibility of the conservators, scientists, technicians, and support staff in the conservation division is to preserve, study, and treat the Gallery's collection of paintings, sculpture, prints, drawings, photographs, and decorative arts.
Treatment and Care
Conservation ProjectsView More Projects
Conservation Revealed: The French Sculpture Project
For the first time at the National Gallery of Art, works of art are being conserved in the galleries where they are permanently exhibited, in full view of the public rather than behind the scenes in a conservation laboratory.
The Examination and Treatment of Edward McCartan’s Bronze Garden Sculpture, “Isoult”
See how analytical techniques, such as x-radiography and x-ray fluorescence spectrometry, can reveal the fabrication methods used in early 20th century bronze casting.
Pablo Picasso,“The Tragedy”
Picasso often left visual clues on the surfaces of his paintings to suggest a hidden image underneath, as in The Tragedy (1903). Artists frequently make changes to a painting or reuse a canvas or panel with an image already painted on it. Explore this painting further to see how it reveals its secrets.
PublicationsView More Publications
“Facture” Vol. 4: Series, Multiples, Replicas
Volume 4 examines the complex themes of series, multiples, and replicas. With a broad historical purview that spans from the Renaissance to the 20th century, this publication considers various modes of replication and their motivations. Filled with spectacularly detailed photographs and fresh discoveries, this volume provides exceptional insight into these extraordinary works of art and offers the possibility of exciting new avenues of inquiry.
“Facture” Vol. 3: Degas
Volume 3 of the conservation division’s biennial journal Facture is dedicated to the works of the Edgar Degas in honor of the centenary of his death. This volume features a wide variety range of essays that draw on the tremendous wealth of the National Gallery’s collection and its collaborative scientific, scholarly, and conservation expertise.
Conservation ResourcesView More Resources
Art Materials Research and Study Center
The Art Materials Research and Study Center was established as a permanent home for artists' materials, technical information, and trade literature. Explore the fascinating relationship between the products sold to artists and how they used them.
Paper Sample Collection
Take a closer look at the Paper Sample Collection. With more than 2,600 booklets, bound volumes, and individual sheets of paper from over 160 companies, the collection is a window into the history and development of artists' papers.