Robert Lodge

Robert Lodge


10915 Pyle South Amherst Rd.
United States of America (the)

Member Since

Member since June 11, 2008

What is your education and/or training?

The American Institute of Architects (AIA), Associate
American Institute for Conservation of Historic and Artistic Works (AIC), Professional Associate

Bob has been a conservator in Oberlin for 31 years.

While now principally engaged in projects management for the company and performing the oversight duties of a chief conservator, he still performs treatments, particularly involving outdoor sculpture and mosaics as well as coatings research and paint film microscopy. His initial field of study and work was the conservation of paint films (easel paintings, wall paintings and murals), and secondarily mosaics.

After high school and throughout his years in college Robert studied modern French literature (Céline, Beckett, Sartre) and philosophy (Sartre, Bachelard, Merleau-Ponty, Levi-Strauss, Derrida, Lacan, etc.) and focused on structuralism and post-structuralism; he also read art philosophy and art psychology and studied Christian theology, Catholic doctrine, and dogma (reading Adolf von Harnack). This period included, as well, two years studying painting at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts culminating serious work at painting throughout his youth, and coast-to-coast travels with his thumb. He eventually received a B.A. in art history and classical languages from the Pennsylvania State University, ceased painting and philosophy, went to graduate school, met his future wife and got serious about life.

During graduate school in art history (field: ancient Mediterranean art) and classical languages at the University of North Carolina (UNC) in Chapel Hill, Robert encountered art conservation in a course on museology and knew he had found his calling. Spending more time with the paintings conservator at the North Carolina Museum of Art than in class, he eventually stopped going to one Ionic Greek class, failed the course, and was thrown out of graduate school, though he had completed all course requirements for the degree and was finishing his thesis identifying depictions in the Historiae Romanorum codex 151.

He declined an invitation to return to UNC and instead pursued art conservation, first apprenticing in New York City. He received his Master of Science degree in Art Conservation in 1982 from the Winterthur Museum/University of Delaware Art Conservation Program with a specialty in the conservation of modern art and (ancient) mosaics. He served his third year graduate internship in the conservation department of the Philadelphia Museum of Art.

During his graduate program years, Bob spent two summer internships at the Intermuseum Laboratory of the Intermuseum Conservation Association (ICA), 1980 and 1981, restoring the Allen Memorial Art Museum’s 6th century AD Antioch Mosaic. This project was under the guidance of Prof. Larry Majewski of New York University as his graduate conservation program did not have a professor with expertise in that area. The mosaic was still bound in its concrete from the Princeton excavations begun in 1932, but had become extensively broken into pieces. During those two summers, he completed the concrete removal and assembly of the large mosaic onto a single panel and published the methodology. The mosaic has been on display at the Allen Memorial Art Museum since then. Bob has continued to pioneer mosaic conservation and their relocations to the present.

On graduation, Bob was invited back to Oberlin, hired to be Conservator of Paintings and Modern Art at the Intermuseum Laboratory (ICA). Bob became a leader of their museum collection surveys, specialized in the treatment of modern paintings, designed and constructed the office’s first database when Macintosh computers became available and supported at Oberlin College, and from 1986 to 1989 worked as the acting head of paintings conservation.
He left the Intermuseum Laboratory at the end of 1989 to establish with his wife Gina, a paper conservator, the private McKay Lodge Fine Arts Conservation Laboratory, Inc. in a new, purpose-built building on their 50 acre farm on the outskirts of Oberlin.

The company was an immediate success. Now with ten full-time employees, working from four purpose-built buildings, offering multiple conservation specialties, the company has become one of the largest providers of conservation services for wall paintings, architectural features, paintings, art on paper, sculpture, public art, monuments and historic fountains based on service revenue, facilities size and service variety in the United States. During 23 years of providing conservation services, the company has focused on museum and institutional fine arts collections; federal, state and local government collections; with an emphasis on the conservation of architectural features, outdoor sculpture, public art, monuments, metal artifacts, modern and historic fountains, while still maintaining its initial activities in paintings, murals and paper conservation. Of the company’s ten employees, six are conservators, each with their own distinct technical specialty, and three are conservation assistants.

Last book read (twice): Independent People (in translation from Icelandic) by Halldór Laxness.


outdoor sculpture