Jennifer Mass

Jennifer Mass, Ph.D.

Professor of Cultural Heritage Science
Bard Graduate Center for Decorative Arts, Design History, and Material Culture

Jennifer Mass received her Ph.D. in inorganic chemistry from Cornell University and was awarded a postdoctoral fellowship at the Sherman Fairchild Center for Objects Conservation at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.  She has conducted the scientific study of works of art in museum and academic contexts for over twenty years, and taught this subject in U.S. master’s degree programs in art conservation for her entire career.  She formed Scientific Analysis, LLC (SAFA) in 2007 because of the growing need for the objective material assessment of objects in the art market that complements the expertise of the connoisseur and conservation assessments.  Her work at SAFA allows her to assist art collectors, dealers, auction houses, and private conservation firms in addressing questions of authenticity, state of preservation, and provenance of works ranging from 17th century paintings from the Dutch Golden Age to the works of the early modernists and expressionists, Meissen, Sevres, and Chinese Export porcelain, as well as continental, English, and American silver.  She also has a broad expertise in folk and vernacular art, including Pennsylvania German painted furniture, fraktur, New England painted furniture and weathervanes.

Jennifer’s research interests include the degradation mechanisms of artists’ pigments and developing nondestructive depth profiling methods for imaging buried paintings. Recent projects have included examining the photo-degradation of cadmium yellow in works by Matisse and imaging a portrait buried beneath an early Picasso interior scene (The Blue Room, 1901, the Phillips Collection). Jennifer has published numerous articles on her research in the art conservation and scientific literature, including Studies in Conservation and Applied Physics A. She has co-edited three volumes – two volumes of Materials Issues in Art and Archaeology, and Handheld XRF for Art and Archaeology. Jennifer gives dozens of lectures a year on her work nationally and internationally, and has received awards for her research from the Italian Society for Nondestructive Testing and from the American Materials Research Society.   Jennifer’s work has received worldwide media attention, being highlighted on NPR’s Science Friday and MSNBC as well as in The New York Times, The Washington Post, the BBC, the L.A. Times, London’s Daily Telegraph and numerous other national and international media outlets.