Master Series

master series at wam

The Worcester Art Museum's Third Thursday Master Series features in-depth presentations by art scholars, providing insights and stories about works in the Museum's collection or on view in special exhibitions. The art talks are held on most third Thursdays in the Museum Café at 6pm. See our upcoming events listed below.

Masks are optional at the Worcester Art Museum.
Click here for more information.

Access to all events is by advance registration only. To register for an event, click on the associated registration button in the table below. After registering, you will receive a confirmation email and ticket.

Cost: Members free; Nonmembers $5. Please note that the Museum is not currently open for general admission after 4pm on third Thursdays.

Hosted by the WAM Members Council, the Third Thursday Masters Series is presented with support from the Bernard G. and Louise B. Palitz Fund and the Amelia and Robert H. Haley Memorial Lecture Fund.

Sponsored by:   Abbvie logo


Probably Mughal, 'Gold Makara-Head Bracelet (kada)', early 1700s, Gold with enamel work set in the kundun technique with diamonds and rubies

Amulets and Adornments from Islamic Lands

Thursday, May 19, 2022, 6pm

Speaker: Courtney Ann Stewart, Researcher of Islamic Art History, and the History of Jewelry and Gemstones.

As a prelude to the opening of Jewels of the Nile: Ancient Egyptian Treasures from the Worcester Art Museum, Courtney Ann Stewart talks about jewelry and gemstones from the Islamic world, highlighting the various associations of such ornaments, from symbols of power to sacred objects of protection. Featuring stunning artwork from the WAM Collection and others, Islamic jewelry will be contextualized and connected to precursors from Ancient Egypt and Mesopotamia.

Pierre Subleyras, 'Maria Felice Tibaldi' (detail), 1739–1749, oil on canvas. Gift of Helen Bigelow Merriman, 1901.54

Pierre Subleyras’ Portrait of Maria Felice Tibaldi

Thursday, April 21, 2022, 6pm

Speaker: Eve Straussman-Pflanzer, Ph.D., Curator and Head of Italian and Spanish paintings, The National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.

This WAM portrait is featured in By Her Hand: Artemisia Gentileschi and Women Artists in Italy, 1500–1800, the first exhibition solely dedicated to Italian women artists. The co-curator of the exhibition, which started at the Wadsworth Atheneum and is now in Detroit, will share more about the portrait of this female artist and its role in the show.

Kara Walker, 'Scene of McPherson's Death. Harper's Pictorial History of the Civil War (Annotated)', 2005, Offset Lithography and Silkscreen

Us Them We | Race Ethnicity Identity

Thursday, March 17, 2022, 6pm

Speaker: Kimberly Juanita Brown, Ph.D., Associate Professor of English and Creative Writing, Dartmouth College.

Us Them We | Race Ethnicity Identity considers the ways that artists from the last forty years accentuate concepts like race and ethnicity through four formal devices: Text, Juxtaposition, Seriality and Pattern. Artists often employ one or more of these approaches as a means of storytelling, protest and celebration. Kimberly Juanita Brown, a specialist in visual culture studies, will address selected works in the exhibition and will share her thoughts on the stories they tell.

Image: Kara Walker, Scene of McPherson's Death. Harper's Pictorial History of the Civil War (Annotated), 2005, Offset Lithography and Silkscreen. © Kara Walker. Sarah C. Garver Fund, 2007.5

Graham Hughes, 'Helen Richardson-Walsh (née Richardson); Kate Richardson-Walsh (née Walsh)' (detail), 30 August 2016, C-type colour print

Love Stories from the National Portrait Gallery, London

Thursday, February 17, 2022, 6pm

Speakers: Lucy Peltz, Ph.D., Head of Collection Displays (Tudor to Regency) and Senior Curator 18th Century Collections from the National Portrait Gallery, London; A. Cassandra Albinson, Ph.D., Head, Division of European and American Art, and Margaret S. Winthrop Curator of European Art, at Harvard Art Museums.

This Valentine's Week presentation focuses on works in our special exhibition Love Stories from the National Portrait Gallery, London.

Detail of the cover of the book “Men of Terror” by Dr. William Short

Men of Terror: A Comprehensive Analysis of Viking Combat

Thursday, November 18, 2021, 6pm

Speaker: William R. Short, Ph.D., author, filmmaker, lecturer, and independent scholar specializing in Viking-age topics.

One thousand years ago, a runestone memorial was raised to a man named Fraði, called the “first among Vikings” and a “terror of men.” In this lecture, William Short discusses his new book that looks at how Viking society revolved around violence, seen in many sources. The holistic picture of Viking combat created from these sources allows us to understand Viking society and put a human face on these men of terror. WAM will also share information about our recently acquired Viking Sword.

Close-up photo of a bust of John Brown, sculpted by Edward Augustus Brackett

Creating an Icon: Edward Augustus Brackett's visit to John Brown's Prison Cell

Thursday, October 21, 2021, 6pm

Speaker: Laura C. McDonald, Art Collections Registrar at Tufts University Art Gallery.

McDonald will share the amazing story of the bust sculptor Edward Augustus Brackett carved of abolitionist John Brown and will trace how the bust went missing at Tufts University. WAM will share an update on its conservation project of Brackett's Shipwrecked Mother and Child.

McAuliffe Uniform Company, 'Milwaukee Brewers Jersey', worn by Hank Aaron, 1975, cotton and Nylon

Baseball by Design: Looking at the Rich Visual History of Our National Pastime

Thursday, June 17, 2021, 6pm

Speaker: Todd Radom

Todd Radom will speak on his expertise of the graphic design for professional sports, the aesthetics of baseball, and the dynamics of brand loyalty between consumers and professional sports franchises. Radom is the author of Winning Ugly: A Visual History of the Most Bizarre Baseball Uniforms Ever Worn, published in May 2018.

Chinese, 'Globular Vase with Stylized Peony Scroll Design (Blue-and-white ware)', early 15th century, porcelain with decoration in high-iron cobalt blue pigment under a clear lime-alkali glaze

Multiple Voices on Asian Art Collection Reinstallation Display in the 21st Century

Thursday, May 20, 2021, 6pm

Speakers: Laura Weinstein, Ananda Coomaraswamy Curator of South Asian and Islamic Art, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston and Karina Corrigan, Associate Director of Collections and the H.A. Crosby Forbes Curator of Asian Export Art at the Peabody Essex Museum.

Kikugawa Eizan, The Courtesan Yoyoyama of the Matsubaya with Her Two Young Female Attendants Standing Under Branches of Cherry Blossoms, detail, ca. 1830

Kimono Fashion in Kyoto

Thursday, April 15, 2021, 6pm

Speaker: Monika Bincsik, Ph.D., Diane and Arthur Abbey Associate Curator for Japanese Decorative Arts, The Metropolitan Museum of Art.

3D rendering of the proposed Lancaster Entrance stairs at WAM

Lancaster Plaza: Vision, Process + Future

Thursday, March 18, 2021, 6pm

Speaker: Seth Wiseman.

The Lancaster Plaza begins the process of resolving issues with guest circulation and experience. Join us to learn more about the project vision, the design and construction process, as well as how it fits into the bigger picture.

Reginald Gammon, Holy Family, 1964

Reginald Gammon: Notes on Assembly

Thursday, February 18, 2021, 6pm

Speaker: Kimberly Bobier, Ph.D., Assistant Visiting Professor in the Department of History of Art and Design at Pratt Institute.

Kimberly Bobier's talk will focus on WAM's recent acquisition, Gammon's The Holy Family.

Image: detail, © 2019 Estate of Reginald Gammon / Licensed by VAGA at Artists Rights Society (ARS), NY

Paula Modersohn-Becker, 'Three Boys Bathing by a Canal', 1901, Wurmsche Tempera on cardboard, mounted on wood

Paula Modersohn-Becker's Three Boys Bathing by a Canal

Thursday, November 19, 2020, 6pm

Speaker: Diane Radycki.

Diane Radycki will discuss WAM's recent acquisition of German painter Paula Modersohn-Becker's Three Boys Bathing by a Canal. Radycki will also highlight Van Gogh's Portrait of Postman Roulin, which is currently on loan to WAM from the Detroit Institute of Arts. Dr. Radycki specializes in European art from the late nineteenth century to the mid-twentieth centuries and is the author of Paula Modersohn-Becker: The First Modern Woman Artist published by Yale University Press in 2013.

John Singleton Copley, 'Paul Revere', 1768, oil on canvas

Beyond Midnight: Paul Revere

Thursday, February 20, 2020, 6pm

Speaker: Ethan Lasser, Ph.D., John Moors Cabot Chair, Art of the Americas at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

Art Talk: Paul Revere and John Singleton Copley: Making an American Icon.

Image: detail, photograph © 2019 Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

Robert Heineken, 'Untitled [Are You Rea]', 1964-1968, offset lithograph on white wove paper

Photo Revolution: Andy Warhol to Cindy Sherman

Thursday, November 21, 2019, 6pm

Speaker: Diana Tuite, Katz Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art, Colby College Museum of Art.

Art Talk: Paraphotography: Doing Things with Images.

Presented with support from the Michie Family Curatorial Fund, the Amelia and Robert H. Haley Memorial Lecture Fund, the Bernard and Louise Palitz Fund, and the Spear Fund for Public Programs.

Image: detail, © Estate of Robert Heineken, courtesy of Cherry and Martin Gallery

Otto Dix, 'The Pregnant Woman' (detail), 1931, egg-tempera, mastic varnish, stand oil, and oil paint on linen, mounted on plywood

With Child: Otto Dix / Carmen Winant

Thursday, October 17, 2019, 6pm

Speakers: Ute Tellini, former editor of the Woman's Art Journal and author of Images of Women During the Weimar Republic in Germany and Michelle Vangen, Ph.D., Art History Professor, Kingsborough Community College, CUNY.

Art Talks: Images of Women during the Weimar Republic and Images of Maternity in Otto Dix.

Image: detail, © 2019 Artists Rights Society (ARS), NewYork/VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn

Thomas Eakins, 'The Spinner', about 1876, oil on canvas

Thomas Eakins, The Spinner

Thursday, May 16, 2019, 6pm

Speaker: Erin Corrales-Diaz, Ph.D., Assistant Curator of American Art at the Worcester Art Museum.

Topic: Thomas Eakins' The Spinner.

Lee Mingwei, Stone Journey

Stone Journey

Thursday, April 18, 2019, 6pm

Speaker: Lee Mingwei, contemporary artist.

Topic: Five Stories.

Ando Hiroshige, 'Awa: Whirlpool at Naruto' (detail), 1855, woodblock print, ink and color on paper

Travels with Hiroshige

Thursday, March 21, 2019, 6pm

Speaker: Kit Brooks, Ph.D., Independent Curator.

Topic: Blending into the Woodwork.

Claude Monet, 'Waterloo Bridge' (detail), 1903, oil on canvas

Monet's Waterloo Bridge

Thursday, February 21, 2019, 6pm

Speaker: Gloria Groom, Ph.D., David and Winton Green Curator at The Art Institute of Chicago.

Topic: New Light on Monet

Persian, 'The Ambassadors of the Egyptian Sultan al-Nasir Faraj ibn Barquq Present their Gifts of Tribute, Including a Giraffe, to Timur (1370–1405)' (detail), 1436, watercolor, gold, and ink on paper

Preserved Pages: Book as Art in Persia and India, 1300–1800

Thursday, November 15, 2018, 6pm

Speaker: David Roxburgh, Ph.D., the Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Professor of Islamic Art History at Harvard University.

Topic: Illustrating Epic Poetry and History in Persian manuscripts from the Mongols to the Timurids.

John La Farge, 'Peacock Window' (detail), 1892–1908, stained glass

Radiance Rediscovered: Stained Glass by Tiffany and La Farge

Thursday, October 18, 2018, 6pm

Speakers: T. Amanda Lett, Ph.D. Candidate, History of Art and Architecture Boston University; Diane Rousseau, stained glass conservator; and Amanda Chau, Andrew W. Mellon Fellow in Objects Conservation.

Topic: The Techniques, Conservation, and History of John La Farge's Stained Glass.

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Attributed to Leonardo da Vinci and Lorenzo di Credi, 'A Miracle of Saint Donatus of Arezzo' (detail), about 1479, painting on panel

The Mystery of Worcester's Leonardo

Thursday, May 17, 2018, 6pm

Speaker: Laurence Kanter, chief curator and the Lionel Goldfrank III Curator of European Art, Yale University Art Gallery.

Rediscovering Leonardo: Laurence Kanter delves into the fascinating story behind this mysterious panel painting.

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Kim Byron, 'Emmett at Ten Years' (detail), 2003, oil on linen

Byron Kim's Paintings: On the Relationship of Big and Small

Thursday, April 19, 2018, 6pm

Speaker: Byron Kim, contemporary artist.

Issues in Contemporary Art: Byron Kim will speak about his captivating life and work, including his unique approach to portraiture.

Chinese, 'Ming Huang and Yang Gueifei Listening to Music' (detail), early Ming Dynasty (1368–1400), ink and color on silk

Dangerous Liaisons Revisited

Thursday, March 15, 2018, 6pm

A Reinterpretation of Ancient Music at the Chinese Tang Court: enjoy a cello concert with College of the Holy Cross visiting musician-in-residence, Jan Muller-Szeraws. This performance will be introduced by Shirish Korde, composer and professor, College of the Holy Cross.

Assyrian (Nimrud), 'A Winged Genius' (detail), 883–859 BCE, alabaster

Assyrian (Nimrud), A Winged Genius

Thursday, February 15, 2018, 6pm

Speaker: Ada Cohen, professor of Art History and the Israel Evans Professor in Oratory and Belles Lettres at Dartmouth College.

In the Company of Genies: Ada Cohen contextualizes WAM's winged genius within the palace of the 9th-century BCE Assyrian king Ashurnasirpal II at Nimrud in modern-day Iraq, where it was one of many such figures.

Winslow Homer, 'The Gale' (detail), 1883–1893, oil on canvas

Coming Away: Winslow Homer and England

Thursday, November 16, 2017, 6pm

Speaker: Judith Walsh, Professor Emerita of Paper conservation, SUNY Buffalo State College.

Color and Line: Homer's Studies in England. Looking at Homer's English work for changes in color and line, Judith Walsh will show that this period was critical to his later success as demonstrated in the painting, The Gale.

William Bullard, 'Reuben Griffin Leaning Against a Tree', about 1901; printed 2016, archival inkjet print on Epson Hot Press Natural paper

Rediscovering an American Community of Color: The Photographs of William Bullard

Thursday, October 19, 2017, 6pm

Speaker: Maurice Wallace, associate director of the Carter G. Woodson Institute for African-American and African Studies, University of Virginia.

Maurice Wallace will present the topic “We Look Like Men: Early Photography, War, and the Double-Bind of Black Manhood.” Strong Eagle Daly, Nipmuc flutist, will play a tribute to his ancestors preceding the lecture.

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Chinese, 'Lady with a Red Box' (detail), 18th century, Qing dynasty (1644-1912), silk

Chinese, Lady with a Red Box

Thursday, May 18, 2017, 6pm

Speaker: Vivian Li, Assistant Curator of Asian Art, Worcester Art Museum.

Greek, 'Lekythos (Oil Flask): Two Women Carrying Offerings to the Dead' (detail), 450–440 BCE, white-ground painted pottery

Jeppson Idea Lab: Master Vases from Ancient Greece

Thursday, April 20, 2017, 6pm

Speakers: Paula Artal-Isbrand, objects conservator, Worcester Art Museum; Amanda Reiterman, Archaeologist.

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Gaspar Miguel del Berrío, 'Our Lady of Mount Carmel with Bishop Saints' (detail), 1764, oil on canvas

Gaspar Miguel del Berrío, Our Lady of Mount Carmel with Bishop Saints

Thursday, March 16, 2017, 6pm

Speaker: Michael Schreffler, Associate Professor, Art and Architecture of Spain and Latin America in the 16th and 17th centuries, University of Notre Dame.

Devotion, Illusion, Curtains, and Candles: The Virgin Mary in Colonial Peru.

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Mary Cassatt, 'Reine Lefebvre Holding a Nude Baby (Mother and Child)'  (detail), 1902–1903, oil on canvas

Mary Cassatt, Reine Lefebvre Holding a Nude Baby (Mother and Child)

Thursday, February 16, 2017, 6pm

Speaker: Heather Lemonedes, Chief Curator, Cleveland Museum of Art.

Watch Video
Pierre-Auguste Renoir, 'The Jewish Wedding' (detail), about 1875, oil on canvas

Pierre-Auguste Renoir, The Jewish Wedding

Thursday, November 17, 2016, 6pm

Speaker: Judith Dolkart, Mary Stripp and R. Crosby Kemper Director, Addison Gallery of American Art.

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Jacob Lawrence, 'The 1920's...The Migrants Cast Their Ballots' (detail), 1974, color screenprint

Jacob Lawrence, The 1920's...The Migrants Cast Their Ballots

Thursday, October 20, 2016, 6pm

Speaker: Valerie J. Mercer, Curator of the General Motors Center for African American Art, Detroit Institute of Arts.

Image: © 2016 The Jacob and Gwendolyn Knight Lawrence Foundation, Seattle / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

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Indian, 'Abhisarika Nayika Braving a Storm', about 1760–1770, opaque watercolor and gold metallic paint on paper

Indian, Abhisarika Nayika Braving a Storm

Thursday, September 15, 2016, 6pm

Speaker: Vishakha Desai, Special Advisor for Global Affairs to the President of Columbia University and Professor of Professional Practice at the School of International and Public Affairs.

The Figurative and the Narrative in Courtly and Contemporary Art of India.

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Detail of a medieval illustration of men practising swordsmanship

Joachim Meyer, Die Kunst des Fechtens ("The Art of Combat")

Thursday, May 19, 2016, 6pm

Speaker: Jeffrey Forgeng, Curator of Arms, Armor, and Medieval Art, Worcester Art Museum.

Learn about this rare and important German fencing manual, and explore the fascinating prints it contains to illustrate the Art of Combat.

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Paul Signac, 'Golfe Juan' (detail), 1896, oil on canvas

Vision, Perception, and Art

Thursday, April 21, 2016, 6pm

Speaker: Margaret Livingstone, Takeda Professor of Neurobiology, Harvard Medical School.

Dr. Margaret Livingstone will explore the topic of Vision, Perception, and Art, focusing on objects in WAM's permanent collection, including Paul Signac's pointillist work Golfe Juan.

Roman, 'Helmet for a Gladiator', about 100 CE, bronze

Roman, Helmet for a Gladiator

Thursday, March 17, 2016, 6pm

Speaker: Donald G Kyle, Professor of History, University of Texas, Arlington.

Roman Spectacular Blood Sports: Both magnificent and menacing, the Worcester gladiatorial helmet invites us to enter the world of the Roman arena with its spectacular combats of men against men and against beasts.

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Pierre Bonnard, 'Dining Room in the Country', 1913, oil on canvas

Pierre Bonnard, Dining Room in the Country

Thursday, February 18, 2016, 6pm

Speaker: Worcester Art Museum Director Matthias Waschek.

Explore Bonnard's enigmatic and delightful country scene through this exciting loan.

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Olmec, 'Incised Standing Figure' (detail), 800 BCE, dark green stone

Olmec, Incised Standing Figure

Thursday, November 19, 2015, 6pm

Speaker: John Garton, Clark University.

Although small in stature, this stone figure reveals much about Olmec religion and culture. Learn what research performed in WAM's conservation lab has uncovered about this figure's facial scarification, body modification, and other spiritual symbols.

Terri Priest, 'Static Variations: Blue x 2' (detail), 1971-1972, acrylic on canvas

Terri Priest, Static Variations: Blue x 2

Thursday, October 15, 2015, 6pm

Speaker: Roger Dunn, Bridgewater State University.

Work by Worcester native Terri Priest (who passed away in 2014) is as varied as it is loved. Learn more about the woman behind this newly acquired work by the Worcester Art Museum.

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John Brewster, Jr., 'Portrait of Mary Coffin' (detail), about 1810, oil on canvas

John Brewster, Jr., Portrait of Mary Coffin

Thursday, September 17, 2015, 6pm

Speaker: Paul D'Ambrosio, President and CEO at Fenimore Art Museum & The Farmers' Museum

A Deaf Artist in Early America: The World of John Brewster, Jr.: John Brewster Jr. (1766-1854) was a prolific, deaf itinerant painter, who produced many portraits of New England families, especially their children.

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Tsukioka Yoshitoshi, 'Fujiwara no Yasumasa Playing the Flute by Moonlight' (detail), 1882, hanging scroll; ink, color, lacquer, silver and gold on silk

Tsukioka Yoshitoshi, Fujiwara no Yasumasa Playing the Flute by Moonlight

Thursday, May 21, 2015, 6pm

Yoshitoshi: Composer Shirish Korde will speak about the different types of historical Japanese flutes. Flutist Alice Jones will perform three musical pieces, including Korde's famed "The Tenderness of Cranes."

Watch Video
Rembrandt van Rijn, 'The Stone Operation' (detail), ca. 1624–25, oil on panel

Rembrandt, The Three Musicians and The Stone Operation

Thursday, April 16, 2015, 6pm

Speaker: Jon L. Seydl, Director of Curatorial Affairs and Curator of European Art at Worcester Art Museum.

Rembrandt and Fallibility: Jon Seydl shares insights on two early works by the Dutch master.

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Anthony van Dyck, 'Portrait of a Man' (detail), 1619, oil on wood

Anthony van Dyck, Portrait of a Man

Thursday, March 19, 2015, 6pm

Speakers: Matthew Cushman, Project Conservator at Yale University, and Jon L. Seydl, Director of Curatorial Affairs and Curator of European Art at Worcester Art Museum.

Portrait of a Man: Matthew Cushman and Jon Seydl discuss what conservation has revealed about this painting by Anthony van Dyck.

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Raphael, 'The Small Cowper Madonna' (detail), about 1505, oil on wood

Raphael, The Small Cowper Madonna

Thursday, February 19, 2015, 6pm

Speaker: Linda Wolk-Simon, Director and Chief Curator, University Collections, Bellarmine Museum of Art, Fairfield University.

The Small Cowper Madonna: Scholar Linda Wolk-Simon sheds light on the Renaissance master, Raphael.

This lecture is generously supported by the Robert and Amelia Hutchinson Haley Lectures Fund.

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Norman Rockwell, 'Study for "The Nightwatchman"' (detail), 1962, charcoal and graphite on paper

Norman Rockwell, Study for "The Nightwatchman"

Thursday, November 20, 2014, 6pm

Speaker: Deborah Solomon

Reflections on Rockwell: Deborah Solomon, author of American Mirror: The Life and Art of Norman Rockwell talks about one of America's most beloved artists.

William Hogarth, 'William James' (detail), 1744, oil on canvas, and William Hogarth, 'Mrs. William James' (detail), 1744, oil on canvas

William Hogarth, William James and Mrs. William James

Thursday, October 16, 2014, 6pm

Speakers: Rita Albertson, Chief Conservator at Worcester Art Museum, and Philip A. Klausmeyer, Paintings Conservator and Scientist at Worcester Art Museum.

Preserving Mr. and Mrs. James: Worcester Art Museum conservators Rita Albertson and Philip Klausmeyer discuss their work restoring the Hogarth paintings.