CASE STUDY 4 - Photographic collection of Fundación Mapfre. By Clara María Prieto, independent conservator-restorator of photographs and graphic arts (Spain)
In 1989, one year after it was created, FUNDACIÓN MAPFRE started to build up an art collection, which currently boasts over one thousand five hundred works, most of them, drawings in particular that of 20th -century that clearly demonstrate the richness of Spanish art. In 2007 FUNDACIÓN MAPFRE began compiling a photography collection focused exclusively on art photography and the documentary tradition in particular from the second half of the 20th century. The initiative sought to introduce audience to major photographers whose work had not been previously exhibited in Spain, or was not part of other Spanish collections. The FUNDACIÓN MAPFRE collection therefore acts as a counterweight to public collections that only minimally represent photography from this period. The complete Brown Sisters series by Nicholas Nixon was its first major acquisition, thus setting the tone for a collection where portraiture is a cornerstone. Leading photographers who have most contributed to the development of the medium -including Atget,. Evans and Friedlander, alongside younger artists like Malagrida and Sheikh.
Decisions attending the treatment of this fond, considering its specificities, provide methodological criteria in the following issues:
- Appropriate design of a specific condition report for the collection, that suits the needs of information of the different implied staff: conservator, restorer, register, head of exhibitions... and compiles as much information as possible in order to avoid manipulation of the items.
- Detailed planning of intervention, for the purpose of resources administration, supplies acquisitions planning, and minimization of manipulation.
- Establishment of conservation procedures, starting with guidelines for the careful handling of photographs distributed to implied staff.