Conservation of Personnages Oiseaux (Bird People) by Joan Miró was completed in 2016. Produced late in the artist’s life, the mosaic is a world masterpiece, the institution’s preeminent work of art, and an icon for the museum, the university, the City of Wichita and the State of Kansas.

The conservation of the Miró mosaic was an off-site project taking place at the facility of Russell-Marti Conservation Services, Inc. in Missouri. This conservation team provided care for the mosaic for fifteen years preceeding the project. The project began on September 27, 2011, and was preceded by a two-and-a-half-year exhaustive research study of the mural and a pilot treatment of three panels. In 2010, two nationally prominent conservators, Thomas Learner from Getty Conservation Institute and Martin Radecki, retired chief of Indianapolis Museum of Art Conservation Center, vetted and approved the proposed Russell-Marti treatment method.

The mural’s 80 panels, 3 x 5 feet each, were individually faced with foam padding, removed, and packed in specially produced wooden crates for storage and subsequent travel with Ulrich art handlers to the conservation facility. Groups of panels were designated for treatment in one of five phases, and they were returned to onsite storage at the culmination of the treatment phase. The final activity of the project—the re-installation of the mosaic on the Ulrich Museum façade—was completed in fall 2016.

Learn more about the process.

conservators at work on the MIro Mural

Tiles from the Miro MUral prior to the beginning of conservation

Conservators look at panels on the Miro Mural

close up of Miro mural

damaged panels from the MIro mural are removed