Obituary: Marcel Stefanaggi

Marcel Stefenaggi © LRMH / Dominique Bouchardon

By Dominique De Reyer & Emmanuel Maurin

It is with the deepest regret that we report the death of Marcel Stefanaggi, the news of his death being received on the day after SFIIC’s Annual General Meeting on 11th April 2019. 

Having graduated in chemistry and art history, Marcel Stefanaggi was a trailblazer in heritage conservation, recognising the importance of relationships and dialogues between scientific disciplines and the arts and their benefit for cultural heritage conservation.

In in 1982 he established LRMH (the Laboratoire de Recherche des Monuments Historiques), along with Jean Taralon, showing his awareness of the challenges of multi-discipliniarity and inter-discipliniarity.

In 1982, he set up SFIIC, the French Section of the International Institute of Conservation.  His wish, his vision, was to then establish a permanent organisation to promote and co-ordinate exchange between conservation specialists: curators, scientists and conservators.  SFIIC was supported by many of Marcel’s peers and, additionally, was recognised by the French Ministry of Culture.  Marcel acted as General Secretary of SFIIC until 2014.

His encouraging and collaborative mindset during these forty years successfully mobilised the support and commitment of the members and this allowed the growth and development of SFIIC’s  working groups, conference days and the regularly published review <em>Coré</em>. In particular he will be remembered as the tireless organiser of SFIIC’s conference days.

Following on from the 1984 IIC Congress on “Adhesives and Consolidants”, held in Paris, SFIIC’s conference days were held regularly on different topics, such as computer science, photo albums, colour, and, in 2015, on metals.  These international conferences enabled reviews, discussions and experiences to be shared, always with a view to improving scientific collaboration between different heritage specialities.

Deeply involved in the activities of SFIIC, Marcel became an early web-master with the creation of its website, and also became the artistic designer for SFIIC’s Review, <em>Coré</em>. <em>Coré </em>is now ranked as one of the best-established French conservation-restoration publications.

Bright and curious, Marcel Stefanaggi was also a man of great culture. He was an avid reader, and was also very fond of opera, about which he talked with a deep knowledge.

Having travelled all over France because of his occupation, he knew France’s national heritage very well; an absolute lover of monuments, he was also a good cook and knew, even in the most remote and obscure villages, precisely where to find the best food. 

His sometimes abrupt manner may have shielded a great sensitivity but his devoted and affectionate personality meant that he was a valued, faithful and reliable friend.