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Thread: Transporting Reverse-Glass Painting

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    Transporting Reverse-Glass Painting

    Hello all, I've got a prospective move of a donated reverse-glass work, but I've never had to deal with one before. Is there anything in particular I should be aware of in regards to packing, or is it pretty standard?

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    PACCIN Advisory Committee Member T. Ashley McGrew's Avatar
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    In my book, painted glass is anything but standard in terms of packing solutions. For one thing the best conservator around is not going to be able to do much if it is damaged. Often basically a total loss. Just in terms of physics a huge consideration is just scale. A 4" x 6" x 1/8" piece of glass is not to going to be terrribly vulnerable if it is secured well within a frame or mount. Extra attention to cushioning components should probabably suffice in terms of shock and vibration issues. To everyone - please utilize published cushioning curves whenever possible - don't fake it! Anyway, other than being conscious of avoiding contact with pointed surfaces themselves for large glass panes no amount of cushioning is a substitute for stabilizaton. An inner container that provides rigid evenly distributed support for the entire surface of the artwork actually provides a more critical function for a substrate thats most vulnerable trait is brittleness than any amount of cushioning material. Most critically to start out with what are the sizes of the pieces in question?
    T. Ashley McGrew
    PACCIN Advisory Committee member

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    Attached is an image of the work in question. Unfortunately I was not able to ascertain the dimensions, but I was told that it would be between 16" x 20" and 30" x 32". I understand that is not terrible helpful in this instance but it is important to note that the acquisition of this work is still tenuous. More significantly from the image you can see that the frame has suffered significant damage which has thus far prevented the work from being shipped to us by a third party shipper.

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    PACCIN Advisory Committee Member T. Ashley McGrew's Avatar
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    Wow! That is useful! Just goes to show how much of a problem it can be to try to make suggestions without complete information - site visit etc...
    One not-uncommon cause of damage in shipping is the inherent instability of some individual objects. I have seen damages that shouldn't have occurred based on packing and handling if their condition represented the norm for their type. Objects that are not stable in their "mounts" (in this case frame) are much more vulnerable than the same medium /type of object that is secured in a "normal" condition. Looking at this image, it appears to me that the most hazardous aspect of the situation is not just that it is glass, it is that its frame, instead of reinforcing or stabilizing the piece actually poses a very real threat. You can see the disjoins in three of the four miters and two sections of the frame liner are entirely missing. Any shock transmitted to this artwork will be transmitted unevenly which is the exact opposite of what you are shooting for with a substrate thats primary characteristic is being brittle! One little chip in the edge of that sheet of glass, perhaps caused by being secured by a brad, can be flaw that could cause a crack to shoot all the way across the surface resulting in irreparable damage. I can see why the third party shipper is refusing! I would too! Probably the only way that I would consider shipping this would be to separate the glass from the frame. Whoever the new owner is should realize that they need to be separated anyway for the frame to be repaired or replaced (the piece can't be appreciated at all due to the unsightly condition of the pieces as it is now). I would suggest securing the glass to a barely cushioned rigid substrate which would then be cushioned with the appropriate amount of foam needed (based on the materials dynamic cushioning curve). Frame could be packed separately or within the same container but adequately stabilized to prevent the possibility of secondary impact with the glass package. Without seeing the piece in person I can't say exactly what I would do but on the simplest budget level I would consider sandwiching the glass between two pieces of lightweight but completely flat plywood with a thin layer of Polyethylene or Polypropylene foam (micro foam) solid on the non-paint side and with an additional rim of something even like mat board contacting the area where the frames liner used to be. Does that make sense? Thanks for sharing this. It is a good case study for the not so straight forward packing problems that you sometimes come across! Hope I was somewhat helpful. Feel free to contact me directly if you would like. Good Luck!
    T. Ashley McGrew
    PACCIN Advisory Committee member

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    Thank you very much! While it hasn't been decided whether or not we will actually accept the piece, if we do, and if I am sent to retrieve it, then I will definitely have some kind of game plan in regards to packing.

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