In the 20th century, the rapid advance of organic chemistry and polymer chemistry resulted in an entire array of new materials for the artist to use not only in paint media but for three-dimensional structures and sculptures. A challenge with regard to these types of materials is that they can undergo significant degradation due to environmental effects including heat, light and air quality. For the art conservator, identification and understanding of material used by the artist initially can be vital for devising a proper conservation strategy.


The use of different forms of polymer materials that may have replaced material such as bone or ivory can give insight to when an object was produced.  The scientific literature has a great amount of value in regard to the commercialization of different polymer types which can aid the art collector in understanding when an object could have been made.

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If you would like further information on the scientific analysis of artwork and how it might be able to help you, please use the form below to send us a message. The procedure for having artwork analyzed is to first submit background information about the artwork along with a photograph(s) and what you are trying to determine about the artwork.  We will prepare a proposal for you, outlining the scope of the analysis and an estimate of the costs involved.  All communications with the Center for Art Materials Analysis are considered confidential.

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