Sabine Cotte started her career in art conservation in 1985. After graduating from Institut Français de Restauration des Oeuvres d’Art in Paris she worked in France for 11 years before migrating to Australia with her family in 2001.

During her years of practice in France she has worked on a great variety of paintings ranging from European 14th to 19th century, to modern and contemporary world-renowned artists (Modigliani, Soulages, Buren). The projects include preserving three dimensional installations in various media and techniques, treating 18th century painting ensembles heavily damaged in a fire, preparing exhibitions for Museum of Modern Art from Paris to Japan, or cleaning delicate 17th century Dutch paintings on copper.

In Australia her conservation projects include complex treatment of a very damaged early Arthur Boyd for Heide Museum of Modern Art, delicate cleaning, tear repair and inpainting on artworks by 19th century artists such as Eugene von Guerard, Arthur Streeton and Frederick McCubbin; treatments on modern and contemporary paintings such as Ian Fairweather, Charles Blackman, Arthur Boyd, Clarice Beckett, Brett Whiteley or Jeffrey Smart; and treatment of traditional and contemporary Aboriginal paintings such as Brook Andrew, Emily Kame Kngwarreye, Judy Watson, and Paddy Bedford. Her close collaboration with Melbourne’s iconic artist Mirka Mora, borne of several conservation projects on her major artworks, resulted in a PhD (University of Melbourne) and a book on Mirka’s techniques of creation, published in 2019 by Thames and Hudson.

Her interest in Himalayan art started in 1992 in Bhutan with a project of handbook on preventive conservation of temples and artworks, sponsored by the Royal Government of Bhutan and UNESCO. This project won a Rolex Award for Enterprise in 1996 and the handbook is still in use in the region. Since then she has led several UNESCO conservation workshops in the Himalayas, participated in sustainable conservation projects in remote areas, trained professionals and communities in disaster recovery, notably in Nepal and the Philippines. She is now leading international workshops on conservation of frescoes in Northern India, with the association The Shekhawati Project.

She is an Honorary Fellow of the Grimwade Centre for Cultural Materials Conservation at the University of Melbourne, where she is also a casual teacher; she has published many papers and given talks in international congresses and journals. In 2017, she won the AICCM (Australian Professional Conservation body) Award for Outstanding Research in Conservation.



Tibetan thangka
Himalaya 19th century
Private collection, Victoria

During cleaning
Sabine Cotte