$45.00 NZD (Incl. GST)

The Back of the Painting


The seal of the Prince of Yugoslavia, the icon that protected persecuted Russians, Monet’s repurposed canvas, the excised first wife, the stolen Tissot … all these stories can be found on the backs of paintings in New Zealand art museums.

This fascinating book by three painting conservators explores the backs of 33 paintings, ranging from 15th century artworks to the present day, from Claude Lorrain to Ralph Hotere, and held in the collections of the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa, the Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki and the Dunedin Public Art Gallery. Join them on their art-detective explorations.


Linda Waters is Conservator Paintings at the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa and has particular interests in the treatment of paintings from the midtwentieth century onwards and how the material nature of artworks contributes to their narrative. She has expertise in the microscopy an analysis of paint crosssections and has undertaken research on artists’ pigments.

Sarah Hillary is Principal Conservator at the Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki and specialises in the study of historical artist’s techniques. She has published research on New Zealand artists Colin McCahon, Rita Angus and Frances Hodgkins, and international artists James Tissot and Guido Reni. She has also been involved in curating exhibitions about artist techniques. Sarah is also a practising artist.

Jenny Sherman is the Conservator at Dunedin Public Art Gallery and specialises in European Old Master paintings with particular emphasis on Italian works. She has carried out treatment and technical study of paintings ranging from the 13th century to the present day. She has worked at the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco and the Conservation Center at New York University. She ran a private conservation practice in New York for many years before moving to New Zealand.

• A rare glimpse behind the scenes of the world of art galleries.
• A unique way to look at and think about art.
• Three expert authors.
• Draws on important works in New Zealand’s public collections.
• A beautifully designed book that is ideal as a gift.


This book is available for wholesale purchase. For pricing and more information, please contact