Claartje van Haaften is employed at the Deutsches Historisches Museum in Berlin as a conservator for plastics, besides working in private practice in her own studio. She provides restoration treatment of modern and contemporary art for museum clients, galleries, and private owners. She also offers workshops and lectures about modern art conservation based on her own experiences from practice and research. She has been an associate conservator at Contemporary Conservation, Ltd. New York (2006 - 2009), sculpture conservator at Tate Britain (2013 - 2014), and project conservator at Hamburger Kunsthalle (2014 - 2018). As a study-coordinator for Post-Graduate students of modern art conservation from the University of Amsterdam, located at SRAL in Maastricht (2010 - 2012) she has lectured on modern art conservation at the University of Amsterdam, Technical University of Helsinki-Vantaa, and the Heritage Conservation Center in Singapore.
She holds a Master's Degree in Art History at the University of Amsterdam and a Post-Academic Degree in Conservation of Paintings and Painted Objects, with a Specialisation in Modern Art, at SRAL, The Netherlands. She is a member of the German Association for Conservators (VDR).
The conservation of modern and contemporary art is a new specialism within the field of conservation. In contemporary art meaning and content are often expressed by unconventional materials and highly individual methods of production. Artists may use food, plastics, commercially available objects, electronics, and household paint in their work. All these materials, including traditional artist's materials, are prone to aging, causing changes in appearance, which can lead to new interpretations of the artwork. In addition, the context of artworks changes with time, which can lead to changing values or meaning. These significant aspects must be considered when treating damaged art and assessing its condition, while the artist's original intent and the integrity of the materials are most relevant.