Art Talk: Lifting the Veil from Herbert Bayer’s Verdure

October 13, 2020

Using a soothing, quieting, and appetizing color, Herbert Bayer’s monumental painting Verdure was part of our Bauhaus and Harvard exhibition celebrating the 100th anniversary of the Bauhaus in 2019. It originally was installed in the dining hall of the Harvard Graduate Center, which opened in 1950. Since the painting’s creation, the canvas has been conserved seven times to address the problems of grime and damage. Conservator Kate Smith takes us behind the scenes and breaks down the techniques she and her colleagues used in treating the work and getting it ready for the public to enjoy.

Speaker:
Kate Smith, Conservator of Paintings and Head of Paintings Lab, Straus Center for Conservation and Technical Studies

Works Explored:  
Herbert Bayer, American, Verdure, 1950. Oil on canvas. Harvard Art Museums/Busch-Reisinger Museum, Commissioned by Harvard Corporation, 1950.169. © Artists Rights Society (ARS) New York/VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn.

Herbert Bayer, American, Study for Verdure, 1950. Pastel and graphite on tracing paper. Harvard Art Museums/Busch-Reisinger Museum, Gift of Joella Bayer, 1990.80. © Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York/VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn. 

Herbert Bayer, American, Study for Verdure, 1950. Crayon on buff tracing paper, with graphite inscriptions. Harvard Art Museums/Busch-Reisinger Museum, Gift of Joella Bayer, 1990.79. © Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York/VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn. 

Herbert Bayer, American, Study for Verdure, 1950. Oil on canvas. Harvard Art Museums/Busch-Reisinger Museum, Commissioned by Harvard Corporation, 1950.106. © Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York/VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn.