Ernst van de Wetering Receives 2003 Award for Distinction in Scholarship and Conservation
At his Slade Lecture at Oxford University on February 12, Ernst van de Wetering was feted as recipient of the 2003 Heritage Preservation/College Art Association Joint Award for Distinction in Scholarship and Conservation. A stateside celebration will be held April 28 when Dr. van de Wetering gives a lecture at the Winterthur/University of Delaware Art Conservation program.
The College Art Association/Heritage Preservation Award for Distinction in Scholarship and Conservation was initiated in 1990 for an outstanding contribution by one or more persons who, individually or jointly, have enhanced the understanding of art through the application of knowledge and experience in conservation, art history, and art. This years award recognizes Dr. van de Wetering for his book Rembrandt: The Painter at Work and his additional writings on the philosophy and ethics of treatment of works by modern and contemporary artists such as Van Gogh and Barnett Newman. The book was published by the University of Amsterdam Press in 1997 and in paperback by the University of California Press in 2000.
Ernst van de Wetering was first trained as an artist at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in The Hague. He received his doctorate in art history from the University of Amsterdam. Since 1968 he has been a member, and is now chairman, of the Rembrandt Research Project. He was art historian on the staff of the Central Research Laboratory for Restoration, Amsterdam, from 1969 to 1987 and, since 1987, has been full professor of the history of art at the University of Amsterdam. He has published extensively on historic painting techniques, as well as in the field of theory and ethics of conservation and restoration.
Rembrandt: The Painter at Work examines the artist's creative activity, methods, and materials combining the sophisticated scientific analysis now available with traditional scholarly research from primary historical sources. Dr. van de Wetering provides an engaging and thorough account of the artist's choices of panels, canvases, grounds, and pigments. He incorporates both passionate connoisseurship of close examination of brush strokes and the storytelling power of history writing through the recreation of visits by contemporaries to Rembrandt's studio. Dr. van de Wetering explains Rembrandt's rough brushwork and textured surface as an expression of conscious practice tied to 17th-century Dutch art theory.
Dr. van de Wetering's publications are templates for the successful synthesis of technical, visual, and historical material. He has also made singular contributions to the understanding of restoration ethics for contemporary art and has regularly collaborated with international conservators and conservation scientists on a variety of projects. He says he is especially pleased that practicing artists have responded with great enthusiasm to Rembrandt: The Painter at Work.
Dr. van de Wetering's lecture will be Monday, April 28, at 7:00 pm in the Winterthur Museum Rotunda. RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org. He will also be speaking on the West Coast on Wednesday, April 30, at 7:00 p.m at the Dorothy Collins Brown Auditorium of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. Admission is free but reservations are required since space is limited. Please call 323-857-6564 to confirm your seating.
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Photo: Dr. van de Wetering speaking at Oxford.