Art historian aims to reveal mysteries of MMA paintings

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Barry Bauman has devoted his life to the world of art with 46 years of experience treating and analyzing damaged paintings. Courtesy Muskegon Museum of Art

A conservator and art historian will uncover secrets surrounding two of the Muskegon Museum of Art’s paintings in a Zoom presentation next week.

At 5 p.m. May 6, Barry Bauman will host “Solving the Cranach Mystery Surrounding the Portraits of Martin Luther and Katharina von Bora.”

The virtual event is free and open to the general public, but registration is required. To register, visit the museum’s event page.

Bauman has devoted his life to the world of art with 46 years of experience treating and analyzing damaged paintings. He has uncovered lost signatures, hidden dates and entire paintings hidden beneath other works.

The historian recently opened Conservation Ventures, a company that focuses on presentations and CAP grants to assist museums with recommendations and priorities for long-range collection care.

In 2004, he established the Bauman Conservation, America’s first conservation laboratory dedicated to offering complimentary services to museums and nonprofit organizations. The conservation closed in 2018, but it was estimated that he had contributed more than $6 million in conservation services to museums and nonprofits.

He founded and directed the Chicago Conservation Center for 20 years, which was the largest conservation facility in the nation. Bauman also worked for 11 years at the Art Institute of Chicago, departing as the Associate Conservator of Paintings.

Bauman also is an elected Fellow of the American Institute for Conservation.

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