The Conservation Department
The central role of the Conservation Department is to care for the TAMA's collection and to ensure that it is available for future generations to enjoy. In doing so, conservators must find ways to protect works of art from deterioration, while making them accessible to the viewing public. Very often the main problem is aging and handling damage, but sometimes we have to combat damages caused by calamities such as floods, fires, previous vandalism etc. One of our main challenges is saving and conserving early Israeli art (from the first half of the 20th. century), which has in recent years increased its significance (both from artistic and historic point of view). Since originally it was made of rather low-cost materials, the challenge of caring for such complex objects is twice-fold.
Fragile paintings and sculptures must be safe to travel without harm as loans to other museums throughout the world. Similarly, paintings, sculptures and works of art on paper, whether traditional or very modern, must be protected while on display without compromising the artist's original intentions. Preventive conservation and providing safe conditions for the collections are naturally very important in this respect.
The Conservation Department was founded in 1971 with one restorer only. Today there are five conservators at the TAMA with full and part-time staff. They are all graduates of conservation schools in England, Holland and Italy. The TAMA's conservators examine, investigate, conserve, and preserve cultural heritage and they specialize in two main fields: Paintings and Works of Art on Paper. There are two conservation laboratories at the museum, divided accordingly. The Head of the department is Dr. Doron J. Lurie. Our conservation work is guided by ethical standards common internationally in the field: Some of our principles are minimal (as possible) intervention, using appropriate materials and methods that aim to be reversible to reduce possible problems with future treatment and research. Another important aspect is keeping full documentation of all work undertaken.
The TAMA's collection ranges from the sixteenth and seventeenth century Italian and Dutch panel-paintings to modern photography and contemporary art (sometimes consisting of very problematic and short-lived materials such as tar, mud etc.) - a challenging spectrum of materials to preserve, restore and display.