JAIC 1983, Volume 22, Number 2, Article 3 (pp. 68 to 81)
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Journal of the American Institute for Conservation
JAIC 1983, Volume 22, Number 2, Article 3 (pp. 68 to 81)

IDENTIFICATION OF THE FORBES COLLECTION PIGMENTS: I. WHITES

Gary W. Carriveau, & Diana Omecinsky



1 INTRODUCTION

EDWARD WALDO FORBES, former director of the Fogg Art Museum at Harvard University, added continually to his collection of pigments during a lifetime of extensive travel. Of special importance is the collection of dry pigments purchased in Japan—some of which are rare and unusual to European painters. During his life, Forbes gave reference samples to the Fogg Museum, eventually forming the “core” or original Fogg Museum Collection. After his death, the rest of Forbes' collection was donated to the Institute of Fine Arts, New York University with the understanding that further samplings could be taken from it in order to provide material to other institutions. It has always been assumed that the NYU collection was essentially a duplicate of the Fogg collection; however, it appears that there are a number of materials in the NYU collection that are not in the Fogg collection and vice-versa. To date, a comparative list of both collections has never been published.

Further complications arise from undocumented additions made to the collections since it was dispersed. For this reason we would welcome contributions of pigment samples that would fill in the gaps that remain in our collection. It is important, in a study of this type, that an assembly as complete as possible be analyzed.

As presently understood, the disposal of samples from both collections is as follows:

  1. Fogg (core) Museum Collection: Fogg Art Museum (Cambridge, Massachusetts)Intermuseum Conservation Laboratory, (Oberlin, Ohio)Balboa Art Conservation Center (San Diego, California)New York University Conservation Center of the Institute of Fine Arts (NewYork, New York)∗Art Institute of Chicago (Chicago, Illinois)Philadelphia Museum of Art (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania)
  2. New York University (Forbes' Private) Collection: Metropolitan Museum of Art (NYC, NY)Winterthur Museum (Winterthur, Delaware)Walters Art Gallery (Baltimore, Maryland)Detroit Institute of Arts (Detroit, Michigan)∗Intermuseum Conservation Laboratory (Oberlin, Ohio)Carnegie-Mellon Institute (Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania)Freer Technical Laboratory (Washington, D.C.)Library of Congress Restoration Office (Washington, D.C.)∗National Gallery of Canada (Ottawa, Ontario, Canada)McCrone Research Laboratory (Chicago, Illinois)Cooperstown Graduate Programs—Conservation of Historic and Artistic Works (Cooperstown, New York)Doerner Institute (Munich, West Germany)University of Stellenbosch (Stellenbosch, South Africa)National Research Laboratory for Conservation (New Delhi, India)

Note: asterisk (∗) designates samples which have been mounted on slides for study/reference purposes.

The collection was originally numbered according to the second column on the NYU inventory sheets, (See example, Table I) under the rubric old: e.g. 133, 1331G, 146G. This system was revised by Richard Buck to those shown in the first column of the inventory under the rubric new: e.g. 1.01.1, 1.01.2, 1.01.3, etc. Under the new system the various colors are separated into clearly defined categories so that, for example, all whites begin with a 1; within this group the calcium whites begin with 1.01 and all the samples within this subgroup are numbered 1.01.1, 1.01.2, 1.01.3. (See Table I). Additional identification information is found in Table II.

Table I: Example of Collection Numbering System White (Code 1) Calcium Compounds (Code .01)

Table II: Whites


Copyright 1983 American Institute of Historic and Artistic Works