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James F. Hamm

James F. Hamm

(716) 878-5025
Campus Addess: Rockwell Hall 230


M.A., C.A.S., State University College at Oneonta (Cooperstown Graduate Program - Art Conservation)

B.S., Art History, University of Michigan

James Hamm has taught paintings conservation in the department since 1986. He earned his M.A. degree and Certificate of Advanced Studies in Art Conservation from this program in 1978, when it was part of the Cooperstown Graduate Program, SUNY College at Oneonta. Between graduate school and the beginning of his tenure at Buffalo State, Professor Hamm and his wife Patricia Hamm (’75) operated a successful private practice near Albany, New York.

Professor Hamm has an ongoing interest in authentication issues and the detection of fakes and forgeries in paintings. Working closely with colleagues in the department, he regularly examines paintings using modern imaging techniques and sophisticated methods of materials analysis, in conjunction with an educated eye, to address questions of age, authenticity and interpretation. He also applies the knowledge gained from the study of art materials and the processes of their degradation, to the improvement of materials and techniques available to modern artists and conservators. As a part of this work, he was awarded a U.S. patent for a rigid, lightweight painting support for artists.  More recently, he has guided the development of the pigmented wax-resin (PWR) fill material for paintings and objects conservation, now a product marketed by Gamblin Conservation Colors.

Professor Hamm was honored with the President’s Award for Excellence in Teaching in 2007. He has supervised students who have become conservation professionals at many museums in this country, or established successful private practices to serve the needs of collectors and smaller institutions.

Service to the Western New York community is incredibly important to Professor Hamm. He has been instrumental to numerous conservation projects in the area, involving students and promoting awareness of the department. During the summer of 2008, Professor Hamm and three students treated nine paintings from the James Joyce collection at the University of Buffalo in preparation for an exhibition at the North American James Joyce Conference at UB in June 2009. He conserved two Margaret Evans Price murals at the Aurora Theatre in East Aurora, NY as well as conserving a twelve part Alexis Jean Fournier mural originally installed in 1905 in the main salon at the Roycroft Inn. Professor Hamm also supervised the treatment of two large Josef Albers murals located on the campus of the Rochester Institute of Technology. In addition, he regularly participates in ongoing preventive consultancies and individual paintings treatments for the regional institutions.

Professor Hamm has been a reviewer for the Journal of the American Institute for Conservation, the Getty Grant Program, and the Institute for Museum Services as well as serving on the American Institute for Conservation's Certification Task Force. He is a long standing elected Fellow of the American Institute for Conservation. Professor Hamm has been a consultant to the New York State Museum on the care of the World Trade Center collections, and a conservation consultant for the University of Rochester Memorial Art Gallery, the Roycroft Revitalization Corporation, and the Martin Van Buren National Historic Site in Kinderhook, NY.

Recent Presentations

“Learning from The Governess: the technical study of a Chardin replica” with co -authors: Megan Salazar-Walsh, Aaron Shugar and Dan Kushel, Technology & Practice: Studying 18th-Century Paintings & Art on Paper, Centre for Art Technological Studies and Conservation, Copenhagen (June 2014) 

“Interpreting the Facts of Materials Analysis, ”Art from the Ground Up: The Protection of Cultural Heritage through Connoisseurship, Conservation, and Authentication, Pollock-Krasner House and Study Center, SUNY Stony Brook, Manhattan (November 2013)

“A Lost Michelangelo Discovered?” with D. Kushel and A. Kosanovich, Copying, Replicating and Emulating Paintings in the 15th - 18th Centuries, Centre for Art Technological Studies and Conservation, National Gallery of Denmark, Copenhagen, (May 2012)

“The Art of Deception: Fakes, Forgeries, & Copies in Painting” lecture given at the Burchfield-Penney Art Center for friends of the Art Conservation Department (March 2011)

“A Piece of History:  The Analytical Study and Conservation Treatment of Madonna and Child Attributed to Andrea Schiavone” with Claire Walker: American Institute for Conservation annual conference, Milwaukee (May 2010) poster

“The Causes and Potential Treatments of Ferrotyping on Acrylic Paintings” with Megan Berkey and Gregory Smith: American Institute for Conservation annual conference, Milwaukee (May 2010) poster

“Preserving Tragedy in the Community: the Role of the Conservator” with Patricia D. Hamm: Association of Professional Historians of New York Sate (April 2010)

“Creating Careers, Changing Lives” Buffalo State College Foundation Board of Directors (February 2010)

“Conservation Meets the Real World” Twentieth Century Club (January 2010)

“Conservation Priorities in the James Joyce Collection at the University of Buffalo”: Eire on the Erie (conference of international James Joyce scholars): Burchfield-Penney Art Center (June 2009)

“Structural Treatment of a 17th Century Flemish Panel Painting” with S. Kelberlau, D. Rogala, A. Bezur and J. Thornton: Getty Panel Painting Symposium, Los Angeles (May 2009) poster

“Interpreting the Kingsbury Girls: A naïve 19th century portrait attributed to Susan Catherine Moore Waters” with C. Albertson: American Institute for Conservation annual conference, Los Angeles (May 2009) poster

“Fishing for an Alternative to the Traditional Source of Isinglass” with E. Sullivan and Dr. A. Shugar: American Institute for Conservation annual conference, Los Angeles (May 2009) poster

“Madonna and Child: A question of Attribution and Authenticity”: Garrett Club, Buffalo, NY (January 2008)

“Connoisseurship, Provenance and Materials Analysis: Investigating Four Paintings Attributed to Rockwell Kent” Monhegan Historical Society Conference, Monhegan Island, ME (July 2007)

“What’s Wrong with This Picture?: the Investigation of Known Forgery by Robert Trotter” American Institute for Conservation annual conference, Richmond, VA (April 2007)

Recent Publications

“What’s Wrong with this Picture? The Technical Analysis of a Known Forgery” with co-authors G. Smith, D. Kushel and C. Rogge, Collaborative Endeavors in the Chemical Analysis of Art and Cultural Heritage Materials American Chemical Society (2012) 1-21. 

“The Appropriate Environment for the Display and Storage of Artwork” with Dr. G. Smith, American Artist (May 2009)

“A Method of Reinforcement Using Aluminum Bars” and “Tack Removal Methods to Minimize Damage” American Institute for Conservation Paintings Specialty Group Stretcher/Strainer Chapter (2008)

“What’s Wrong with this Picture? The Analysis of a Known Forgery” with Dr. G. Smith, D. Kushel and J. DiJoseph, American Institute for Conservation - Paintings Specialty Group Postprints, American Institute for Conservation 62-66 (2008)

 “Josef Albers’s Monumental Homage to the Square” International Institute for Conservation: Modern Art, New Museums, contributions to the Bilbao Spain Congress 179-184 (2004)

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Patricia H. and Richard E. Garman Art Conservation Department

1300 Elmwood Ave  •  Rockwell Hall 230 •  Buffalo, NY 14222
Phone: (716) 878-5025 •  Fax: (716) 878-5039