Painting Materials: Artistic Practice Through the Ages

Panel discussion examines painting materials and artistic practice through the ages, focusing on oil painting. The discussion includes thirty-minute lectures by Brian Baade and Kristen deGehtaldi, painting conservators from the Winterthur/University of Delaware, and George O’Hanlon, technical director of Natural Pigments.

Date and Time:
September 24, 2015, 6:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.

Art Students League of New York

215 W 57th St, New York, NY 10019
(212) 247-4510

Please get in touch with Jillian Russo (212-247-4510 ext. 106) at the Art Students League of New York to reserve your place to attend. The lectures and panel discussions are free and open to the public.

Painting Materials in Historical Context: Artistic Practice Through the Ages

Brian Baade, Painting Conservator, Assistant Professor, University of Delaware

A brief survey of historical art materials in traditional painting through the eyes of a paintings conservator. Reconstructions of Old Master Paintings will be used to discuss the role of painting materials from the 13th to the 20th century. The lecture will also cover the natural aging processes encountered in artworks, restoration practices, and general care of easel paintings.

The “CSI” of Traditional Easel Paintings

Kristin deGhetaldi, Painting Conservator, University of Delaware

An overview of contemporary scientific practices used in museum laboratories to characterize traditional painting materials. Examples include ultraviolet, infrared, and x-ray imaging and other analytical techniques. Methods used to differentiate between forged and original works of art will also be covered.

Painting for Posterity: Modern Best Practices in Oil Painting

George O’Hanlon, Technical Director, Natural Pigments

A discussion about constructing a painting from the support to the ground and the paint layers, including how the “fat-over-lean” rule in oil painting is inherently flawed and the potential issues of using resin-based mediums, such as Maroger and dammar varnish. Practical procedures will be clearly explained on how to build your paintings based on conservation research during the past century.

Immediately following the discussion, the three-panel participants will entertain questions from the audience.


Brian Baade attended the Winterthur/University of Delaware Program in Art Conservation, graduating in 2006. Brian majored in painting conservation, focusing on identifying and analyzing historical painting materials and techniques. He has worked at the Chateau Parentignat in France, Amsterdam, where he assisted Dr. Leslie Carlyle with analyzing and reconstructing media used by Van Gogh and at the Yale University Art Gallery. After graduating, Brian accepted a WUDPAC Limited Term Researcher position to teach the materials and techniques of painting and introduction to painting conservation courses to undergraduate and graduate conservation students. Brian has spearheaded four projects funded by the Samuel H. Kress Foundation and the University of Delaware to create historically accurate reconstructions of Kress paintings from the distributed Kress collection. He was part of the team which created the first technical study of the paintings and techniques of Henry Ossawa Tanner for the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts. Brian was the author of the chapter on using dry pigments for the Paintings Specialty Group Inpainting catalog. Brian is now an Assistant Professor at the University of Delaware, where he teaches courses in the materials and techniques of Western art, inpainting, and technical art history, as well as heading numerous technical studies. Brian spends his spare time treating paintings with his conservator wife, Kristin deGhetaldi, as private painting conservators in Pennsylvania.

Kristin de Ghetaldi is a painting conservator who graduated in 2008 with a Master of Science degree from the Winterthur/University of Delaware Program in Conservation. After completing a three-year Andrew W. Mellon Fellowship in Painting Conservation at the National Gallery of Art, she enrolled in the Preservation Studies Program at the University of Delaware. She is currently focusing on employing novel analytical techniques to explore 15th-century Italian painting techniques. Working together alongside scientists, Kristin has been allowed to use various analytical techniques focusing on questions relating to media analysis. She has also participated in internships and conservation positions at the J. Paul Getty Museum, the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam, and the RISD Museum. Kristin earned a post-baccalaureate in Conservation (2004) at the Studio Art Centers International in Florence, Italy, and a B.A. (2003) in Chemistry from Grinnell College. Most recently, she has participated in developing the University of Delaware’s Technical Art History Website, a two-year project sponsored by the Samuel H. Kress Foundation.

George O’Hanlon is the technical director of Natural Pigments and executive director of Iconofile, a nonprofit educational organization dedicated to promoting the understanding of sacred art. George received his fine arts education and apprenticeship in Mexico. Upon his return to the United States, he worked as an art director and then creative director for Silicon Valley advertising agencies, working on major accounts like Sony, Hewlett-Packard, and Ricoh. He then established a marketing communications firm later acquired by the Japanese chemical giant, Shin-Etsu, where he was retained as president of U.S. marketing operations. In 1992, he left this post to study traditional art techniques, and then in 2001, he founded Natural Pigments and Iconofile to promote an understanding of these techniques among contemporary artists. Since then, he has formulated hundreds of artists’ paints and materials, including Ceracolors, a water-soluble wax paint.