University of Michigan's Museum of Art reopens Asian art conservation lab

In pictures: UMMA welcomes fourth-generation art conservator

By Meredith Bruckner - Community News Producer

New director: Fourth-generation conservator Qian He (Photo: Dave Lawrence)

ANN ARBOR - The University of Michigan's Museum of Art, under the direction of conservator Qian He, has reopened its Robert B. Jacobs Asian Art Conservation Laboratory.

The lab conserves art by mounting and remounting Asian, East Asian and Western works on paper for individuals and institutions around the world.

In addition, the lab will care for UMMA's existing collections of Asian art.

(Photo: Dave Lawrence)

According to a university press release:

Qian He is a fourth-generation art conservator, trained in orthodox Chinese Su-style craftsmanship. He has worked as a conservator of Chinese painting and as an instructor at the Chinese Academy of Cultural Heritage in Beijing. He also managed the Department of Chinese Painting at the Beijing Googut Auction Company and was responsible for the preservation of more than 50,000 objects. There, he was an appraiser of Chinese painting and calligraphy. 

(Photo: Dave Lawrence)

He received his bachelor's degree in conservation of cultural relics and appreciation from Beijing City University. He has extensive experience, including serving as researcher and visiting scholar at the Smithsonian's Freer and Sackler, as well as the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City and the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston.

UMMA visitors can view the Conversation Laboratory through a massive floor-to-ceiling glass wall and observe the process of art conservation without disturbing the sterile lab environment. In the future, He will also hold educational sessions for museum visitors about the importance of such work. 

An internship program will also be installed for future conservators to study the meticulous craft.

(Photo: Dave Lawrence)

"UMMA has the inherent advantages of an important research university supporting our efforts, professional and experienced technical staff, and a legacy of success in conservation, all in an educational environment," He said.
The lab was originally founded in 1987, with a grant from the Starr Foundation. 

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