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September 11, 2020

For 30 years the Samuel H. Kress Foundation has supported the Kress Program in Paintings Conservation at the Conservation Center of the Institute of Fine Arts, New York University (IFA CC). The Kress Program at the IFA CC brings together two of the Kress Foundation’s key programmatic and mission-driven commitments. First, it provides a wide array of conservation services to the more than eighty municipal art museums, campus museums and other cultural organizations nationwide that collectively steward the former Kress Collection. The Kress Collection includes more than 1,000 European paintings, primarily from the 13th to early 19th centuries and many of its host institutions lack any significant in-house or local conservation capacity. Second, the program further provides a unique training opportunity for graduate art conservation students wishing to learn about and potentially pursue careers in the study and conservation of old master paintings. All IFA CC students specializing in paintings conservation take at least one class allowing them to work on a Kress painting in the course of their graduate studies.

Triptych with images of two saints on the left panel, the Madonna and Child on the middle panel, and the Crucifixion on the right panel, and a gold leaf background.

Follower of Duccio di Buoninsegna, Madonna and Child with Saints and the Crucifixion, c. 1300-25, Samuel H. Kress Collection, Memphis Brooks Museum of Art

One of the most recent Kress Collection artworks to travel to the IFA CC for treatment is a fourteenth-century triptych, Madonna and Child with Saints and the Crucifixion, from the Memphis Brooks Museum of Art. While the triptych was at the conservation center, graduate student Kristin Holder used the painting as the subject of a research and recreation project. Ms. Holder studied and then carefully re-made the triptych using the same materials and techniques as Renaissance artists. Her engaging step-by-step description of the process to re-make the triptych can be found on the Smarthistory website.


For more information about the Kress Foundation’s history with the IFA CC see our current President’s Message.