Meet the Conservators

Conservation Staff Gridlist

Maureen Del Degan

Conservation Technician

As Conservation Technician, Maureen Del Degan assists AGO conservators in preparing objects from the collection for storage, exhibition and travel. Maureen has a degree in Art History and Criticism and has worked for local art institutions and private collections as a mount maker, exhibit coordinator, installation manager and consultant.

Lisa Ellis

Conservator, Sculpture and Decorative Arts

Lisa holds B.A.s from McGill in English Literature and Art History, M.A.s in Art Conservation (Queen's) and Art History (U of T) and has studied arts and crafts, spending a year in OCA's glass program. She completed internships at numerous museums in Canada and abroad: at Parks Canada, the Redpath and McCord Museum in Montreal, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, the Getty Museum, Historic New England, and the MFA, Boston, and spent time with archaeological material at the Agora Excavations in Athens, Greece, and at the Institute of Nautical Archaeology labs in Bodrum, Turkey.

Christine Fillion

Conservator, Paintings, OPT

Christine Fillion completed a BFA in visual arts and a BSc, majoring in chemistry, from Concordia University. Her studies at Queen's University from 1980-1982 led to a master's degree in Conservation in the areas of conservation of paintings and works of art on paper. She completed internships for the M.A.C. degree in Washington, D.C and Dűsseldorf, Germany. After more advanced internships at the Atelier CREPHART (Geneva), Jönköpings Länsmuseum (Sweden), the Institut royal du patrimoine artistique (Brussels, Belgium) and the Kunstmuseum Bern (Switzerland), she worked as a private conservator of paintings in Switzerland (Montreux, Auvernier and Fribourg). She was also employed as Conservator of Paintings at the Kunstmuseum Basel, the Historisches Museum Basel and the Antikenmuseum Basel. She is presently employed at the AGO as Conservator of Paintings. Christine has completed graduate degrees in Religious Studies ( Indic Religions and Sanskrit, McGill University) and also in Contemporary Continental Philosophy (M.A. Brock University). She is currently pursuing a B.A. degree at the University of Toronto in German Studies.

Cyntia Karnes

Paper Conservator

Cyntia Karnes is a Paper Conservator working with the collections of the AGO and the E.P. Taylor Research Library and Archives. She earned a Master of Science degree specializing in paper and photograph conservation from the Winterthur Art Conservation Program at the University of Delaware in 1999, following museum internships in the U.S. and The Netherlands. Her professional experience includes staff and fellowship positions at the Library of Congress, the National Gallery of Art, and the National Archives in Washington DC, and at Winterthur Museum, Garden and Library in Delaware. Cyntia has published and lectured on the treatment, analysis, and technology of watercolours, prints, manuscript materials, and photographs, and has taught workshops on the assessment and treatment of iron gall ink manuscripts to graduate conservation students.

Meaghan Monaghan

Assistant Conservator, Paintings

Meaghan Monaghan is responsible for the conservation of paintings in the collection of the Art Gallery of Ontario. She earned a BA in Fine Arts with minors in Biology and Art History from Mount Allison University. In 2010 she received a Master of Art Conservation from Queen’s University. Before joining the AGO Conservation Department in 2017, she served as Assistant Conservator of Contemporary Art at the National Gallery of Canada; Andrew W. Mellon Fellow at the Walters Art Museum, Baltimore; Samuel H. Kress Fellow at Statens Museum for Kunst, Denmark; and Post-graduate Fellow in Painting Conservation at the Yale University Art Gallery. Meaghan also held internships as part of her conservation studies at the Canadian Conservation Institute, Australian Museum, and Owens Art Gallery.

Sherry Phillips

Conservator, Contemporary Art

Sherry Phillips has been employed at the Art Gallery of Ontario since 1989, working as the Conservator of Contemporary and Inuit Art Collections since 1996. Following an Honours BSc in microbiology and zoology at the University of Toronto, Sherry studied Art History and Art Studio before receiving her Masters of Art Conservation degree from Queen's University. Although her original focus was the conservation of paintings, working with contemporary objects and installations over the years has cultivated a working knowledge of the unusual. Anything from modern materials to electronics, traditional art materials or living systems may require her intervention for conservation treatment or preservation.

Maria Sullivan

Head of Conservation

Maria Sullivan is currently responsible for overseeing and coordinating the day-to-day activities of the AGO Conservation Department. She worked as a painting conservator at the AGO for a number of years prior to taking on her current position. Maria has family connections to three generations of art restorers/conservators and fell in love with the profession while working in The Netherlands with her uncle and cousin. She has an undergraduate degree in art history and received a master's degree in conservation, specializing in paintings, from the State University College at Buffalo in 1995. She pursued internships and fellowships in painting conservation at the Carnegie Museum of Art, the Intermuseum Conservation Association, and the Baltimore Museum of Art. She first came to the AGO in 1997 on a fellowship from the Samuel H. Kress Foundation. In 2002, Maria served as Getty Senior Fellow and Lecturer in Painting Conservation at the State University College at Buffalo.

Sjoukje van der Laan

Assistant Conservator, Contemporary Art

Sjoukje van der Laan has been with the Art Gallery of Ontario since 2016 as the Assistant Conservator, Contemporary Art. She holds a Master’s degree and a Professional Doctorate (PD. Res.) in Modern & Contemporary Art Conservation from the University of Amsterdam, and a Bachelor degree in Art History from the University of Groningen (The Netherlands). Previously, she worked in the conservation studios of the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden (Washington, D.C.), Stedelijk Museum Aktuele Kunst (S.M.A.K., Ghent, Belgium) , and for the modern and contemporary art collection of the Dutch government. Prior to coming to Canada, she had a private conservation studio in The Netherlands, specialized in contemporary art conservation. Her specialization gives her a strong familiarity with the conservation of a wide variety of modern (synthetic) materials, kinetic art, electronic art and complex contemporary art installations.

Sandra Webster-Cook

Conservator of Paintings, Historical and Modern

Sandra Webster-Cook completed studies in Honors Science (Chemistry specialization), Art History and Studio art before graduating from the Queen's University Art Conservation program. She became an employee of the AGO in 1987 and is currently responsible for the conservation of the historical and modern paintings in the collection of the AGO.

Her work on the Canadian Historical collection includes research on the paintings of Cornelius Krieghoff and Tom Thomson. She carried out the research and major conservation treatment of Chardin’s masterpiece, Jar of Apricots, 1758. Her work on the 17th C Dutch collection includes the research and conservation of Rembrandt’s Portrait of a Lady with a Lap Dog and, Portrait of a Lady with a Handkerchief from Rembrandt’s studio, with the support of members of the Rembrandt Research Project.

She has recently completed the research and conservation treatment of Rubens, The Raising of the Cross, 1638, oil on paper which is the modello for the engraving and based on the triptych in the great Cathedral of our Lady in Antwerp, painted in 1610.

She is currently working with a team on preparations for a future multi-disciplinary exhibition on Picasso’s Blue Period with the support of Imaging Scientist John Delaney and the scientists of Northwestern University/Art Institute of Chicago (NU-ACCESS).

Joan Weir

Conservator, Works on Paper

Joan Weir has a BFA in fine art from Nova Scotia College of Art and Design (1981) with a specialization in printmaking. Post-graduation she was a scholarship recipient of the Banff Center School of Fine Arts – Winter Cycle Studio Programme 1981-83. Joan graduated from Queen’s University Art Conservation graduate program (M.A.C 1989) with a specialization in paper objects. In 1999/2000 she was selected to participate in a Canadian/Chinese cultural technology exchange in Beijing, China where she lived and worked for four months. She has worked as conservator/consultant in private practice, a project coordinator and a registrar for numerous Canadian institutions and private collections. Joan first came to the AGO during the Stage Three project as Deputy Registrar on contract in 1991-2. In 2002 she joined the AGO Conservation Department as Conservator of the varied collection of historic, modern and contemporary works of art on paper.

Katharine Whitman

Conservator, Photography

Prior to coming to the AGO in 2007, Katharine was an Andrew W. Mellon Fellow in the Advanced Residency Program at the George Eastman Museum in Rochester, New York. Her work there culminated in the paper, The History and Conservation of Glass Supported Photographs (2007). She has published and lectured on the conservation of photographs on glass and co-taught workshops internationally. She will be continuing her research on photographs on glass as a Conservation Guest Scholar at the J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles, California, in 2018.

Looking for a Conservator?

You may locate a conservator in your area through one of the following professional organizations:

Do-It-Yourself Repair and Restoration: Why not?

  • The AGO does not recommend that you attempt to treat works of art by yourself.
  • Please take the object in question to a qualified conservator.
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