Chicago art conservator Louis Pomerantz (1919-1988), established and operated the conservation lab at the Art Institute of Chicago and then maintained a private practice conducting conservation work for individual collectors and various museums and art institutions in the midwest.
Pomerantz had originally intended to be an artist and enrolled at the Art Students League. After serving in World War II, he returned to Europe to study conservation as an apprentice to a private restorer in Paris, followed by a year spent working under the chief restorer at the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam, and study at the Courtauld Institute and the National Gallery in London. As head of the Art Institute of Chicago's first conservation lab from 1956-1961, Pomerantz employed new and emerging techniques such as powerful binocular microscopes, ultra-violet, infra-red and X-ray machines to study paintings, and a hot table to bond new canvasses to support old ones. Following his resignation from the Art Institute of Chicago to pursue his private practice, Pomerantz organized conservation training programs, and wrote widely on conservation. He served on the American Institute for Conservation of Historic and Artistic Works (AIC) and was a member of the committee which adopted the AIC's first code of ethics for art conservators in May 1967. He became consultant to various art and natural history museums including the Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago, where he formed part of the conservation team that completed an extensive renovation of the museum's Javanese gamelan ensemble composed of 23 brass and wood musical instruments.The gamelan was presented and played for the first time since 1893 in 1978, following the restoration.
Pomerantz also organized several museum exhibitions on conservation, including Know What You See, which was shown at more than 100 museums around the United States, Canada and Mexico, as part of the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service (SITES).