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Facture Volume 4: Series, Multiples, Replicas

Edited by Daphne Barbour and Suzanne Quillen Lomax

Volume 4 of the Gallery’s biennial conservation research journal Facture examines the complex themes of series, multiples, and replicas. With articles focusing on works from the Renaissance to the 20th century, this publication considers various modes of replication—by the artist’s own hand or workshop, as a posthumous creation, or as a preferred practice. Nine essays focus on works in diverse media by artists such as Sandro BotticelliVincent van GoghAuguste Rodin, and Robert Rauschenberg (see complete table of contents below). The authors present fascinating glimpses into the nature of serialization and the relationships among multiple versions of a composition. 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.

Three essays examine serialization during the Renaissance, including one that addresses Paolo Veronese’s working methods and penchant for creating multiple versions of favorite subjects. Two versions of The Finding of Moses, one considered a copy and the other autograph, were carefully reevaluated in conjunction with a drawing of the same subject. Sensitive conservation treatment and technical imaging combined with recent scholarship have successfully attributed both paintings to the master.

Six elegantly dressed, light-skinned women, a man with dark brown skin, and a person of short stature gather around a nude baby boy in front of a landscape with a town in the distance in this vertical painting. Attention is focused on the baby, held by a woman kneeling to our lower left, and on a woman wearing a silver and gold-colored brocade dress standing near the center of the painting. The central woman's dress is trimmed with gold and jewels. She wears a pearl necklace, and her blond hair is wrapped with pearls around a gold, jeweled tiara. She leans to our right, toward another woman with blond, pearl-adorned hair wearing a blue and white stripped dress with puffed sleeves. In front of that pair, and along the right edge of the painting, another woman with pearls in her hair bends over a person of short stature and gestures toward the baby. The person of short stature has brown hair over a high forehead and a tan complexion. He holds an instrument like a recorder and wears a navy-blue and crimson-red jester’s costume. Seen from the waist up in the lower left corner of the painting, the man with brown skin has close-cropped black hair and wears a marigold-orange garment. Looking onto the scene from the sunken riverbed, he gazes to our right in profile and holds a basket. Above him, the woman holding the baby looks at the woman wearing silver and gold. An older woman holds up a cloth, presumably to wrap the baby. Another person looks on over that woman’s shoulder, and two more women stand farther back to our left, apart from this group. Behind the main scene, a few spindly trees with feathery pine-green or harvest-yellow leaves extend off the top edge of the canvas. An arched bridge spans the river in the distance to the left and beyond a town is painted in blue and gray against rocky hills. Blue sky above is strewn with white clouds.

Veronese, The Finding of Moses, c. 1581/1582, oil on canvas, Andrew W. Mellon Collection, 1937.1.38

Another contribution describes the innovative conservation treatment of a series of opaque watercolor paintings by Edward Steichen. Unique in his oeuvre, these works depict whimsical characters from the imaginary Oochen Republic. Careful investigation into the materials and techniques of this extraordinary series enabled the authors to devise an innovative conservation treatment that used toned microcellulose film as an inpainting material. The thoughtful treatment stabilized the works and restored the integrity of these unique works of art.

Independent and standalone works of art comprised of serialized parts are considered in an article examining Jean Dubuffet’s formidable Site a l’homme assis. The sculpture is made from six separate pieces, each enlarged, cast epoxy resin elements deriving from the Hourloupe series. The essay describes the evolution of Dubuffet’s working methods in both scale and execution in order to realize his vision. Polystyrene models were enlarged with a three-dimensional pantograph. They were also used to mold and cast polyester or epoxy forms that could be considered finished works of art or might be used as models for future projects. The article includes pages from Dubuffet’s studio album, which delineate the artist’s evolving process.

Abstract forms in white, outlined with bold black lines, turn, twist, and curve up around a person with cartoon-like features in this free-standing sculptural piece. The shapes create legs and are pierced with holes, like an abstracted coral reef. The forms are bright white with thick black outlines around all the edges and crossing the curves and angled sides of the forms. In this photograph, it is not possible to see if a vaguely H-shaped section to our left is attached to or stands independently from the row behind it. A person with abstracted eyes, nose, and mouth stands in front of the sculpture, to our right. In this photograph, the sculpture stands on a plinth in a room with a wood floor and a white wall behind it.

Jean Dubuffet, Site à l'homme assis, 1969-1984, polyester resin, Gift of Robert M. and Anne T. Bass and Arnold and Mildred Glimcher, in Honor of the 50th Anniversary of the National Gallery of Art, 1991.100.1


The Portraits of Giuliano de’ Medici by Sandro Botticelli
Elizabeth Walmsley and Alexander J. Noelle, with Babette Hartwieg

“Comparable to the Very Tips of Their Spades”: Technical and Political Connections among Serial Busts of Charles V
Dylan Smith and Wendy Sepponen

The Mellon Mercury: Investigating a Giambologna Replica
Shelley Sturman, in collaboration with Debra Pincus

Auguste Rodin and the Question of the Original in Sculpture
Antoinette Le Normand-Romain

Vincent van Gogh’s Three Portraits of Marcelle Roulin
Kathrin Pilz, Louis van Tillborgh, Muriel Geldof, and Ann Hoenigswald

The Story Not Told: The Examination and Treatment of Edward Steichen’s Oochens Series
Linda Owen and Kathryn Morales

Jean Dubuffet: Molding a New Reality
James Gleason

To Print on Air: Robert Rauschenberg’s Hoarfrost Editions
Adam Greenhalgh, Adam Novak, Julia M. Burke, Lisha Deming Glinsman, Suzanne Quillen Lomax, and Molly K. McGath

In Focus

Paolo Veronese’s Finding of Moses: A Reassessment
Joanna Dunn and John Marciari

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