The paintings conservators of the Midwest Art Conservation center are highly trained and with over 50 years of professional experience treating the effects of age and deterioration in paintings. The conservators treat paintings ranging from early Italian panel paintings to modern and contemporary works of art. Works of art come to the Paintings Conservation Laboratory that have been executed with a variety of supports and media; works on canvas, wood, metal, hardboard, paper supports and other materials. In addition to in-laboratory conservation, an important service provided by the department is the examination and treatment of murals in public and private buildings.
Paintings conservation is not simply the dramatic process of removing dirt or discolored varnish from a picture. Paintings suffer from the same elements and forces to which all art objects are subjected. Improper construction, inferior materials, poor painting techniques, aging and deterioration due to environmental factors and improper handling/storage, as well as accidents, disasters, vandalism, and well-intended but poorly-executed past restorations all may contribute to a painting’s condition. Recognizing the causes of structural and cosmetic problems is an important part in determining the proper course of treatment for paintings. It is also essential to identify and understand the historical context through careful examination of and research into materials, techniques, artist’s intent, and any prior interventions. MACC conservators understand these variables and are committed to providing treatments that are tailored specifically to each individual piece and adhere to the AIC Code of Ethics and Standards of Practice.
Meet the Conservators
Rita Berg, Associate Paintings Conservator
Ms. Berg joined MACC in 2016 after a Kress Fellowship at the Conservation Center of New York University’s Institute of Fine Arts, where she treated Old Master paintings from the dispersed Samuel H. Kress Collection and assisted with teaching and supervision of graduate conservation students. Prior, she spent a year at the Brooklyn Museum of Art and held internships at the New York Historical Society, the Cranmer Art Group in New York, The Cloisters, the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., and the Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna, Austria. While specializing in Old Masters and panel paintings in particular, Ms. Berg has extensive experience with modern and contemporary works. She holds a Masters of Arts in Art History with an Advanced Certificate in Conservation from the Conservation Center, New York University and a Bachelor of Fine Arts summa cum laude from the University of Minnesota. She is a Professional Associate of the American Institute for Conservation of Historic & Artistic Works with a membership in the Paintings Specialty Group.
Kristy Jeffcoat, Senior Paintings Conservator
Ms. Jeffcoat joined MACC in 2014. She has extensive experience in the care and preservation of paintings and painted surfaces, including canvas paintings, panel paintings, and painted sculpture, as well as Preventive Conservation. Prior to joining MACC, she worked at West Lake Conservators in Skaneateles, NY; the Western Center for the Conservation of Fine Arts in Denver, CO; and the Denver Art Museum. She interned at the Field Museum in Chicago, IL, and was a Kress Fellow at the Denver Art Museum. She holds a Masters of Art Conservation with a specialty in Paintings and Painted Surfaces from Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario; a Post Baccalaureate Certificate in Art Conservation from Studio Art Centers International in Florence, Italy, and Bachelor of Fine Arts with a specialization in Art History from Louisiana State University. Ms. Jeffcoat is a Professional Associate of the American Institute for Conservation of Historic & Artistic Works, Paintings Specialty Group.