Nathan Stolow

May 4, 1928 - October 28, 2014
Nathan Stolow

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WILLIAMSBURG – Nathan Stolow was a man who touched history. He was an art and document conservator whose knowledge and experience permitted him to help conserve the major documents of Western history including the Magna Carta, the Declaration of Independence, Constitution of the United States, the Gettysburg Address and the Irish Book of Kells among other objects of history and art. Nathan Stolow was born on May 4, 1928 in Montreal, Quebec, Canada and died October 28, 2014 at Hospice House, in Williamsburg, Virginia at the age 86. His parents Moses and Anna Stolow, emigrated from Russia to Canada in 1926. Stolow began to paint in his childhood and followed an education in chemistry. The two fields were, at that time, largely distinct from each other, especially in North America. He created a professional life that encompassed both Science and Art. On graduating in 1949 with a B.S. in Chemistry from McGill University in Montreal, Stolow went on to study at the University of Toronto, graduating in 1952 with an M.A., his thesis Theoretical Chemistry: Rare Earth Oxides Magneto Chemistry. Stolow explored several career options where he could combine chemistry and art. He received advice from a colleague from Harvard University then at the Freer Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C. who suggested Stolow contact museum colleagues in Europe, where conservation activity was more established. Stolow studied with Professor Stephen Rees-Jones at the Courtauld Institute of Art, University of London from which. Stolow graduated in 1956 with a Ph.D. with a thesis on painting conservation. He subsequently did independent study of Museums in Europe and America to study conservation methods for art. He published this information on a report for the National Gallery of Canada. He had a long and varied career developing conservation methods for art and document conservation holding several significant positions and publishing many articles and books. He published several articles and books and treatments on art and document conservation. In 1957 he established the Conservation and Scientific Research Division of the National Gallery of Canada and planned and moved their entire collection from one facility to another. In 1964 he worked on the establishment of a separate National Conservation Research Laboratory at the National Gallery of Canada. In 1967 he worked on the presentation of art from all over the world in a specially constructed environmentally protected gallery at the Canadian Pavilion at Expo 67 (The World’s Fair) in Montreal, Quebec. From 1958- 1982 he served as Rapporteur-Coordinator, Committee for Conservation: International Council of Museums. From 1971-1972 Coordinator, Committees for Conservation and International Exhibitions: International Council of Museums and was Chairman of the Canadian National Committee for International Council of Museums . From 1972-2007 He worked on the encasement and preservation project of the Magna Carta later displayed at the U.S. National Archives in 2007. In 1972 Established Canadian Conservation Institute, National Museums of Canada, Ottawa. In 1975 Appointed Special Conservation Advisor, National Museums of Canada Corporation, Ottawa. 2008 Served on editorial board of Journal of Museum Management. 1982- 1984 Senior Curator, Conservation Department, Australian National Gallery, Canberra, Australia. From 1984-1987 Foundation Conservator, Department of Conservation, Colonial Williamsburg Foundation, Williamsburg, Virginia, U.S.A. 1985 to present International Conservation Consultant. 1991 designed and built a bullet-resistant, climate-controlled exhibit capsule for the U. S. Bill of Rights and the Declaration of Independence. 1994 Designed specialized cases for the Library of Congress for the The Gettysburg Address and the Virginia Declaration of Human Rights and The Irish Book of Kells. On March 24, 1995 he married Mary Grove Moore Stolow whom he cared for until her death on June 28, 2013. He was also preceded in death by his sister, Judith Stolow Kazdan. He is survived by his sons, Albert Stolow, of Ottawa, Canada and Jeremy Stolow of Montreal Canada (and their mother Sari Stolow) and his brothers, Meyer Stolov, of Ithaca, New York and Benjamin Stolow, of Montreal, Quebec, Canada; his niece Eleanor King, of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; and nephew, Warren Stolow of Quebec, Canada. Graveside service to be held Sunday, Nov. 2 at 1:30 p.m. at Williamsburg Memorial Park, Section 5 officiated by Rabbi David Katz.

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  • September 27, 2016
    Ellen Clark says:
    No mention of his wife that had passed before him, Mary Stolow. His family didn't contact any of her family when he passed. I thought a lot of Nathan. I was his deceased wife Mary's niece. Broke my heart if the coldness of his nephew that took care of his estate.