JAIC 1997, Volume 36, Number 2, Article 1 (pp. 95 to 107)
JAIC online
Journal of the American Institute for Conservation
JAIC 1997, Volume 36, Number 2, Article 1 (pp. 95 to 107)

AN ECONOMICAL DESIGN FOR A MICROCLIMATE VITRINE FOR PAINTINGS USING THE PICTURE FRAME AS THE PRIMARY HOUSING

LAURENT S. G. SOZZANI



2 MICROCLIMATE VITRINES FOR TRAVEL AND EXHIBITION

The use of preconditioned vitrines within which an artwork travels and remains during exhibition has been considered the safest system for keeping fragile, humidity-sensitive artworks stable. These vitrines, however, often prove to be aesthetically displeasing. Emil Bosshard (1990), following a design originally presented by B. Ramer (1984), solved this problem by designing a small vitrine that tightly encloses the panel painting. This package is subsequently set into the rabbet of the picture frame.1 The result, an aesthetic success, is no more disturbing than any glazing. The use of nonreflective safety glass further reduced glazing problems. Many institutions and private collectors have benefited greatly from this design. In the past, the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam also used this type of vitrine, commercially made to order. The system was not without drawbacks, however. The cost for even the smallest vitrine began at approximately $600 (Dfl. 1,200) and could easily be $2,000 or more for a vitrine 70 80 cm in size. Orders often had to be placed far in advance, and the subsequent in-house installation of the painting into the vitrine was time consuming. Further, framing the whole could involve complex alterations to the original frame. Variations on the design developed at numerous institutions were often complex and time consuming to construct.


Copyright 1997 American Institute for Conservation of Historic and Artistic Works