Paula Artal-Isbrand is Objects Conservator at the Worcester Art Museum, a museum she joined in 1996 as Samuel H. Kress Fellow. She is responsible for archaeological objects, sculpture and decorative arts in a collection representative of most world cultures—from Antiquity to the present.
Major projects that Paula has overseen and participated in include the conservation of the important Roman mosaics from Antioch, the conservation of the Museum’s large Paul Revere silver holdings, the conservation of the comprehensive collection of Chinese and Japanese ceramics, and the conservation of the Museum’s Ancient Greek ceramics.
Her special interests in conservation include hands-on treatment, and understanding artist materials and techniques, especially of ancient Mediterranean objects. Her research has focused on ancient Greek vases from Athens, and specifically on the study and characterization and subsequent replication of the widely debated decorative lines on red figure-vases—the relief and contour lines—using RTI and confocal laser microscopy. This project was a collaboration with Conservation Scientist and Paintings Conservator Philip Klausmeyer.
Paula has curated two technique-focused exhibitions on ancient art at the Worcester Art Museum, the first in 2013 entitled Orantes: Ancient statues from South Italy, and the second in 2017 entitled Master Vases from Ancient Greece.
Since 1999 Paula has run a private conservation practice on the side. Her clients include the College of the Holy Cross, the Worcester Historical Museum, Harvard University Law School-Special Collections, the Harvard Art Museums, Princeton University Art Museum, and Yale University Art Gallery.
Paula received her M.A. in Art Conservation with a specialty in Objects Conservation from the Art Conservation Program at SUNY, Buffalo in 1994.
Photo Credit: Worcesterart.org