James Beck, founder of ArtWatch International, has died

Below is an excerpt from the NY Times Article ‘James Beck, 77, Art Scholar and Critic of Conservation is Dead‘ by Holland Cotter

professor_james_bec_171392a.jpgNEW YORK – James Beck, a Columbia University art historian who became well known as a critic of what he viewed as the ruinous conservation of world masterpieces, including Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel ceiling, died Saturday in Manhattan. He was 77…

…It was the extensive restoration of the Sistine Chapel frescos, begun in 1980, that initiated his vigorous critique of conservation in the art historical field.

He argued that the Michelangelo frescos were being drastically overcleaned – a process that not only erased some of the subtle volumetric painting, he contended, but also exposed the entire surface to modern pollution…

Before (left) and After

…In 1992 he and the British journalist and artist Michael Daley founded ArtWatch International, a nonprofit advocacy organization to monitor the restoration, attribution and international shipment of works of art.

Click here to read The Times obituary by Michael Daley, director of ArtWatch, UK.

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Published in: on June 1, 2007 at 3:11 pm  Leave a Comment  

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