Joel Shapiro's Loss & Regeneration Sculpture

U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum, Washington, DC

We were hired in 2011 by the U.S. National Holocaust Memorial Museum to provide conservation services for the monumental bronze sculptures by Joel Shapiro in the outdoor entry plaza to the museum.

Joel Shapiro’s Loss and Regeneration poignantly addresses the disintegration of families and the tragedy of lives interrupted by the Holocaust. Shapiro’s work, situated on the plaza along Raoul Wallenberg Place, consists of two bronze elements that engage in symbolic dialogue. The larger piece is a towering, abstract, tree-like form that suggests a figure. Approximately 100 feet away, a smaller, house-like structure is precariously tipped upside down on its roof.

We assessed the conditions of the pieces, consulted with the museum’s staff conservators on the conditions, proposed treatment of the pieces, then carried out the conservation treatment. Pieces were stripped of lacquer and wax coatings, areas received localized spot-patination, and a new protective coating was applied to help protect the sculptures from the elements and pedestrian contact.