The staff at Conservation Solutions, Inc. are beginning to make the structural repairs to the metal skin.
Most of the holes in the object are located in the sections of galvanized sheet iron. In the photo above, the foot is made from zinc sheet, whereas the drapery for the garment is galvanized iron. The zinc plating provides a sacrificial layer to inhibit corrosion of the underlying iron, however eventually; the iron will corrode in a harsh outdoor environment. Given that the statue has been exposed to the elements in New York City since the late 19th c., the zinc coating appears to have functioned very well. There are not a significant amount of holes.
The repairs will mimic and be similar to the original methods of manufacture. After the ragged edges of the unstable iron sheet are mechanically cut back, as you see in this image, a new sheet of galvanized iron will be riveted in place, similar to how the original galvanized sheet was riveted as you can see in the detail of the drapery. The unstable edge needs to be cut to provide a sound surface for riveting. The difficulty in cleaning up the rough, very corroded edges of the losses will be avoiding the underlying structure of iron to which the galvanized sheet is attached. This interior structure provides the support for the sheet iron, and is essential for the structural stability of the statue.
Lisa Bruno is the head conservator of objects at the Brooklyn Museum, where she has been working since 1993. She has previously worked at the Art Institute of Chicago, and has had internships at The Cleveland Museum of Art, the Detroit Institute of Arts, and in private practice. She has a Masters Degree in Art Conservation from the University of Delaware, Winterthur Museum Art Conservation Department. She is a Professional Associate of the American Institute for Conservation.