Performing tear repair
Collaboration on ceiling painting
Removal of varnish
Removal of varnish
Before and After cleaning in UV
Before and After cleaning overpaint
Final clean state of painting
In 2018 I had the privilege of working at Redivivus, the private conservation and restoration studio of Gwendolyn Boevé-Jones in Den Haag, Netherlands. I assisted in the operations of the studio by examining paintings and proposing suitable treatment plans. I worked jointly with conservators who trained in a variety of European conservation programs. Our projects included the stabilization and consolidation of a large ceiling painting which had sustained water damage.
I also had thopportunity to learn more about Dutch golden age art while working through my treatment of a bird still life by Melchior d'Hondecoeter. The paint layers were in good condition but suffered from a heavy varnish layer that was now discolored.
The varnish was removed with a solvent mixture. The varnish layer was heavily discolored to an orange brown tone, which overpowered much of the pink and blue tones of the central still life. After cleaning, the cool tones give much greater perception of depth to the setting. The varnish had an spotty appearance from unvene discoloration or abrasion. This visually disruptive pattern is now also remedied.
The extent of retouching was also revealed during the cleaning. The edges had been restored to adjust for an enlarged stretcher. The brown background had been covered entirely with a flat black paint. This overpaint was easily removed with ethanol. Despite small abrasions, the original background now presents a clear modeling of the space. The green cloth had also been over-painted to strengthen its shadows, with these exaggerations removed the work now fits better with other paintings by the artist.
Still Life, Melchior d’Hondecoeter signed
M. d’Hondecoeter (center ledge)
ca. 17th Century, Oil on Canvas, 47.6 x 40.4 cm