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The Back of the Painting

Behind the scenes with the experts on famous paintings

The Back of the Painting cover

By Linda Waters, Sarah Hillary and Jenny Sherman

Publication date: April 2021
NZ RRP (incl. GST): $45.00
Extent: 248 pages
Format: Paperback
ISBN: 978-0-9951338-8-4

Order the book here

The seal of the Prince of Yugoslavia, the icon that protected persecuted Russians, Monet’s repurposed canvas, the excised first wife, the stolen Tissot . . . all these stories can be found on the backs of paintings in New Zealand art museums.

This fascinating book by three painting conservators explores the backs of thirty-three paintings, ranging from fourteenth-century artworks to the present day and held in the collections of the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa, the Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki and the Dunedin Public Art Gallery.

Join them on their art-detective explorations.

Look inside the book here

Reviews

The Back of the Painting in the New Zealand Arts Review, reviewed by John Daly-Peoples “It is an intriguing and illuminating book which helps expand ones appreciation of artworks and helps remove some of the mystique around artists and their work.” 

The Back of the Painting in the April issue of NZ Listerner, in an interview with Linda Waters “Waters hopes the book will bring awareness to this complex and exacting work that makes it possible to put historical paintings on gallery walls.”

Linda Waters discusses The mystery boy on the back of the painting in an April blog post by Te Papa. 

About the authors

Linda Waters is Conservator Paintings at the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa and has particular interests in the treatment of paintings from the mid-twentieth century onwards and how the material nature of artworks contributes to their narrative. She has expertise in the microscopy and analysis of paint crosssections and has undertaken research on artists’ pigments.

Sarah Hillary is Principal Conservator at the Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki and specialises in the study of historical artist’s techniques. She has published research on New Zealand artists Colin McCahon, Rita Angus and Frances Hodgkins, and international artists James Tissot and Guido Reni. She has also been involved in curating exhibitions about artist techniques. She is also a practising artist.

Jenny Sherman is the Conservator at the Dunedin Public Art Gallery and specialises in European Old Master paintings with particular emphasis on Italian works. She has carried out treatment and technical study of paintings ranging from the thirteenth century to the present day. She has worked at the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco and the Conservation Center at New York University and she ran a private conservation practice in New York for many years before moving to New Zealand.

Publication date: April 2021
NZ RRP (incl. GST): $45.00
Extent: 248 pages
Format: Paperback
ISBN: 978-0-9951338-8-4

Order the book here