During the IIC 2018 Turin Congress this past September, W. Thomas Chase was presented with an Honorary IIC Fellowship for his contributions and achievements in the field of conservation.
Educated in conservation and art history at Oberlin College and the Institute of Fine Arts, NYU, Tom first found his way to the Freer Gallery of Art, Smithsonian Institution for a student fellowship under the supervision of Rutherford J. Gettens. Upon completing his Master’s degree at NYU he returned to the Freer in 1966 as assistant conservator under Gettens and became Head Conservator in 1968.
Tom’s primary area of research and conservation interest has been the technology of Chinese bronzes. He directed an international treatment project in Thailand in 1974 and was regularly a delegate to China for art and archaeology, often lecturing and teaching in China on archaeological bronze conservation. Tom has authored more than 40 publications on studies of bronze fabrication methods, corrosion and lead isotope studies.
He was a founding member of The American Institute for Conservation (AIC) and received Fellowship in both the AIC and IIC. He received the Conservation Advocacy Award from AIC in 1998 and Honorary Membership in AIC in 2001. Tom was President of the Washington Conservation Guild and chairman of the Smithsonian Conservation Council, as well as President of AIC from 2003-2005. He was also a long-standing editor (since 1976) and staunch advocate of Art and Archaeology Technical Abstracts. He continues to offer consulting services through Chase Art Services
He has been a conscientious teacher and mentor to many, and his enthusiastic generosity and good will have earned him not only the international reputation of a scholar, but also that of an ambassador for the conservation field.