In November 2006 Alan Phenix joined the GCI's Museum Research Laboratory. By then he was no stranger to the Institute, having spent October 2005 to July 2006 doing research at the GCI as a Conservation Guest Scholar.
Alan earned his first academic degree, in chemistry, from University of Leeds in the United Kingdom; he went on to earn a postgraduate diploma in the conservation of paintings from Courtauld Institute of Art in London in 1984. For the next four and a half years, he worked as a paintings conservator in Britain and then in Australia. In 1989 he returned to Britain and began his career as a teacher of paintings conservation, first at the Hamilton Kerr Institute, University of Cambridge, and then at the Courtauld Institute of Art, where he was a lecturer for ten years. After short periods at the joint Royal College of Art/ Victoria and Albert Museum conservation program in London and at the University of Oslo, Alan joined the faculty of Northumbria University in the United Kingdom in 2002, where he served as senior lecturer in the conservation of easel paintings until coming to the Getty.
An important part of Alan's professional activities was his service between 1996 and 2002 as coordinator of the paintings conservation and restoration working group of the International Council of Museums Conservation Committee (ICOM-CC). Prompted by his continuing interest in the international conservation community, he became a member of the editorial board of Studies in Conservation, published by the International Institute for Conservation. He also regularly teaches courses and workshops for professional conservators.
Alan's work at the GCI focuses on paint analysis, primarily to assist Getty Museum paintings conservators and visiting conservators with paintings in their care, which recently included large works by eighteenth-century painter Jean-Baptiste Oudry and nineteenth-century landscape paintings by French artists Théodore Rousseau and Charles François Daubigny. He has also begun working with Decorative Arts and Sculpture Conservation at the Museum, studying the paints and coatings on outdoor works in the Museum's Fran and Ray Stark Sculpture Garden. Additionally, he is participating in the GCI's Modern Paints research project.
With regard to Alan's technical expertise, his experience includes visible/ultraviolet fluorescence microscopy of cross sections, Fourier transform infrared (FTIR) spectroscopy, scanning electron microscopy, and X-ray fluorescence. He is looking forward to continuing past research by conducting dynamic mechanical thermal analysis of artists' paints on newly acquired Institute equipment.