Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Modern Water Colors

Modern being, of course, a relative term.

When this Discriptive Handbook of Modern Water Colour Pigments was written in 1897, Modernism defined the shift from Victorian ornamentation to the Arts and Crafts movement. My own house, which was built around this time, perfectly illustrates the time period in its own imperfect way. Like an awkward adolescent, it had outgrown the need for superfluous decoration but still couldn't give up its Victorian proportions. I like to think it exudes charm, although in a somewhat artless fashion.

Modern, in the terms of this handbook, could also imply improvements made to the paint formulas. The "water colour controversy" mentioned on the front cover references fade tests that had been performed on Winsor & Newton paints. Today, conservators have accelerated aging tests that can predict the long-term aging effects of light on inks and photographs well into the future. In the late 19th century the tests were perfomed by placing color washes in a window for 15 years and waiting for the results. As you can imagine, the colors reacted differently and Winsor & Newton was working to adjust the formulas for increased color permanence.

This handbook, along with others produced by the Winsor & Newton paint company, is part of the Kibele and Garrard Architectural Records Collection. This collection contains, in addition to architectural drawings, a wide variety of materials related to the practice of being an architect in the late 19th and early 20th century.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

International Symposium on 19th-Century Architecture Photography

Indiana University South Bend and University of Notre Dame are hosting an international symposium in South Bend, Indiana, October 3-4 titled Documenting History, Charting Progress, Exploring the World: Nineteenth-Century Photographs of Architecture. In concert with the symposium, there's also an exhibit, curated by Micheline Nilsen, professor of art history at IUSB, of photographs from the Snite Museum of Art's collection on display.

The symposium is free and open to the public. For more information contact