Conserving the Guggenheim Museum's Iconic Red Lily Pads

"Red Lily Pads" (1956), one of American sculptor Alexander Calder’s iconic mobiles, has occupied an important place in the Guggenheim’s collection for more than half a century. Here Nathan Otterson, Senior Conservator, Objects, and Tracey Bashkoff, Director of Collections and Senior Curator, describe the demanding process of restoring the work, from matching its distinctive red color—a signature of Calder’s—to adjusting how its leaf-like plates “branch out” and move once installed.

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