Outdoor Art Collection Assessment and Recommendations—Columbia University—Private

New York, NY

Columbia University’s Morningside Heights campus is recognized as one of the great urban public spaces in America. In addition to its buildings, the beautiful McKim, Mead and White campus has been the proud home to numbers of significant sculptural works. As a result of the inevitable corrosion factors that come with placement in an urban setting, especially one in the Northeast prone to unfavorable weather conditions, many of these pieces have suffered varying degrees of deterioration, some faring better owing to their construction or to earlier conservation treatments.

We were contracted to do a complete condition survey and treatment report for a group of twenty individual pieces on the Columbia campus. The sculptures ranged in age from constructions dating back as far as 1884 (the bronze and granite figure, Le Marteleur) and as recently as 1998 (the bronze sculpture, Life Force). They were constructed of a wide range of materials, including bronze, limestone, marble, granite, steel and concrete.

As well as the condition reports, each piece was given a priority ranking based on the investigation’s findings. Several of the works have been treated by our conservators during the University’s on-going commitment to its collection’s care.