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SGS’s art services team is pleased to announce it will be working with the Renee and Chaim Gross Foundation on the proposed upcoming exhibition – Circa 1945: Abstract Art in the Renee & Chaim Gross Foundation Collection.

Circa 1945 Abstract Art

Chaim Gross (1904-1991) was a modern American sculptor and an integral part of the mid-20th century downtown New York scene.

The Foundation, incorporated as a non-profit organization in 1988, is housed in the historic Greenwich Village townhouse purchased by Renee and Chaim Gross in 1961 and used by the family as a residence and studio. The first-floor gallery contains the artist’s sculptures in marble, wood and bronze, and behind this is a studio, complete with tools and materials, left almost exactly as Gross had it. The second-floor is devoted to a temporary exhibition space and the third-floor is preserved as the family residence, the focus of which is a salon-style living room.

The Foundation’s collection is wide-ranging and contains more than 12,000 objects. The expansive range of styles and objects contained within it includes (among other things) Gross’ own works, his collection of ethnographic artifacts (African, Oceanic, and Pre-Columbian), and several American and European works either gifted to or bought by Gross from the wide circle of artists he interacted with or admired.

The townhouse site is primarily focused on Gross, his family and work but maintains an active role in the cultivation and promotion of downtown artists, exhibitions and other cultural programming. It also offers educational opportunities for museum studies and art history students. The rich history of the artist, collection, and building at 526 LaGuardia Place, is a unique resource within New York City and a monument to an important moment in the development of the city’s artistic legacy.

SGS has been working with the Foundation to examine and prepare condition reports on objects requested for loan as part of the exhibition. The Foundation does not have a dedicated in-house conservation department, and sought the help and advice of SGS to assess selected objects in the collection and consult during the exhibition process. The company’s Senior Conservation Specialist, Lauren Fly, has examined and prepared condition reports on many of the most significant works from the collection, including paintings by artists such as Arshile Gorky and John Graham, as well as sculptures by Gross himself.

The reports are being used in a variety of ways within the Foundation and support several activities. Primarily, condition reports provide a thorough and detailed assessment of the current state of conservation of a piece of art. By documenting extant damage and active areas of concern, the reports serve as a guideline for seeking conservation treatment to stabilize and prepare artworks for loan.

The Foundation’s newly appointed Executive Director, Sasha Davis, is also using the reports to prioritize artworks for treatment and request treatment proposals from conservators. The information contained in the condition reports can also be used to negotiate loan agreements, revise the exhibition list to mitigate the risk of displaying fragile objects, and prepare an exhibition budget. The reports establish a baseline for the condition of the works, and can be updated with condition report checks following treatment (should any be necessary) and during exhibition. Should damage occur during packing, shipping, and installation, the reports will be used to determine at what point the work was damaged and assign responsibility for the incidents of condition change. The unique level of detail and photodocumentation included in an SGS condition report also means that the Foundation will be able to use the reports to support grant writing and fundraising initiatives for any necessary conservation treatments.

Apart from specific concerns related to the exhibition in question, the condition reports have highlighted several points of concern which the Foundation has already taken direct action to address themselves. These include issues relating to framing, hanging and lighting, and display. SGS’s work with the Foundation has also highlighted the extent to which their current condition survey, undertaken nearly 10 years ago, no longer accurately reflects the collection’s condition and needs updating.

SGS has significant experience of undertaking comprehensive collection surveys and is pleased to support the Foundation in the development of their plans.

About SGS Art Services

For further information, please contact:

Stephanie Meyer-Pionchon
Global Marketing Manager
t: +33 4 42 61 64 46

About SGS

SGS is the world’s leading inspection, verification, testing and certification company. SGS is recognized as the global benchmark for quality and integrity. With more than 90,000 employees, SGS operates a network of over 2,000 offices and laboratories around the world.