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Where Antiques Roadshow Meets CSI: The Role of Scientific Analysis and Material in Fine Art Forgery

decoration01 Nov. 2018

Lecture in Conjunction with the Exhibition “Things aren’t what they seem”: Forgeries and Deceptions from the University of Delaware Collections 

Lecturer: Catherine Matsen, Conservation Scientist,  Winterthur Museum, Garden and Library

Scientific analysis–in conjunction with provenance and connoisseurship–is an important tool in identifying whether art, antiques, and collectibles are genuine or fake. Though scientific testing alone cannot prove authenticity, it can often disprove it through the identification of materials that are inconsistent with a proposed date, method of manufacture, or known working methods of an artist. Through case studies of Winterthur Museum and other objects, this presentation will highlight how materials analysis with instrumentation provides an informed understanding of a work of art.

Catherine Matsen has worked as a conservation scientist at Winterthur Museum’s Scientific Research and Analysis Laboratory (SRAL) for 15 years. She has undertaken analysis on all types of decorative arts in the museum collection using the techniques of XRF, SEM-EDS, FTIR, Raman, XRD, GC-MS and pyGC-MS. Matsen’s research areas include Chinese export lacquerware, American silver, Pennsylvania German fraktur, and paint analysis of the museum’s period rooms and estate buildings. In her position, Matsen has taught instrumental techniques to over 150 graduate students as an Affiliated Assistant Professor in the Winterthur/University of Delaware Program in Art Conservation.

The exhibition, “Things aren’t what they seem”: Forgeries and Deceptions from the University of Delaware Collections, curated by Alexander Johsnton, continues in the library’s Special Collections Gallery through December 14, 2018.


01 Nov. 2018
181 South College Avenue
Class of 1941 Lecture Room
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