March/April 2006
Published by the Indiana State Mueum 

Donation of Preservation:
Conservator Barry Bauman Contributes his Talent
Barry Bauman provides the Indiana State Museum and State Historic Sites with a rare and valuable service. Bauman donates his skills as a painting conservator to the museum, asking for only the cost of the conservation supplies in return. This gift of skill has allowed the museum and state historic sites to conserve much of the collection more quickly than originally thought possible.
"In more than a decade of experience in the field of conservation, I have never heard of a conservator doing treatments only for the cost of supplies." said Peter Lundskow, Chief Conservator of Indiana State Museum. "If the museum would have to pay in full for this service it would amount to more than $60,000."
And conservation of paintings is no simple task. It involves special skills and expertise in areas from cleaning to repairing cracks to re-stretching wavy canvases. The processes may involve chemical analysis, removal of varnish layers, or even matching the colors to bring artwork to its original glory. The time it takes to conserve a piece of work depends on the size of the painting and its present condition.
"A work of art is at its highest value when it is in its best visual and structural condition," said Bauman. "Because of that, every conservation step must be reversible. Therefore, all varnishes and in-painting materials are soluble in mild organic solvents and can be removed if necessary." Throughout the process, the conservator documents both in writing and using photographs, every substance and method used.

T.C. Steele "Curved Lane" Before


Since beginning his pro-bono work in 2004, Bauman has conserved 24 paintings for the Indiana State Museum and State Historic Sites, including works by T.C. Steele, Frank Dudley, E.L. Winslow and Clifton Wheeler. Bauman says that all artists present unique challenges in conservation. T.C. Steele, for instance, painted over previously-completed paintings possibly to conserve supplies or because of his dislike for the previous work.
Older paintings are typically easier to restore, Bauman said, because the materials are more uniform and predictable. As the field of art continues to grow and change, newer works often use materials other than paint, such as synthetics, and this makes them more challenging to work with.
Bauman never imaged that art conservation would become his beloved career. "As a freshman in college I needed to fill an opening in my class schedule. I chose Introduction to Art History never expecting it would lead to my career," he said.
Bauman was hooked. After taking all the available art history classes, Bauman graduated from Beloit College in 1969 and received his Master's Degree in Art History from the University of Chicago in 1971. He served the Art Institute of Chicago for 11 years, but left the museum in 1983 to found the Chicago Conservation Center, a resource facility for the conservation of paintings, works of art on paper, objects, frames, murals and textiles. The Center grew to become the largest private conservation facility in America. Barry Bauman, an Elected-Fellow of the American Institute for Conservation, left the private sector in January of 2004 to establish America's first national conservation laboratory dedicated to offering complimentary conservation services to museums and non-profit organizations.

Frank Dudley
"When Sun and Shadow Meet"

During Cleaning

After Treatment
"The material the Indiana State Museum is sending me completely justifies what I am doing," said Bauman. "Preservation of history fuels my soul." Bauman's decision has been greatly appreciated by the Indiana State Museum and State Historic Sites.
"Mr. Bauman has been incredibly generous; his pro-bono work is invaluable to the institution and to the public, who will enjoy these paintings for years to come," said Rachel Perry, Fine Arts Curator.
The Indiana State Museum and Historic Sites is not the only recipient of Bauman's generous donations. Bauman is offering conservation services free of charge to over sixty organizations across the country. For more information on Bauman and his work, visit



Barry Bauman Conservation
Contact: Mr. Barry Bauman
1122 N. Jackson Ave., River Forest, IL. 60305
Ph.(708)771-0382  Fax.(708)771-1532