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Behind the Scenes in Conservation: Conservation at your fingertips!

by Conservation


Elizabeth Boott Duveneck , Frank Duveneck , CAMConservation , paintings conservation , cleaning paintings

Our paintings conservator posted about conserving this colorful floral still-life while the cleaning was underway earlier this year. The treatment is now finished, and we thought you’d enjoy using a new horizontal scroll feature that we’re adding to our blogging repertoire. We plan to employ it in many conservation posts to come.

Elizabeth Boott Duveneck (United States, 1846-1888), “Blossoms,” 1882, oil on canvas, Gift of Frank Duveneck, 1904.200

“Blossoms” was given to the museum by Frank Duveneck in 1904. It had been painted by his late wife, Elizabeth Boott Duveneck, in 1882. Her monogram and the date are visible near the lower right corner.

In addition to cleaning the surface of heavy grime, our paintings conservator took the painting off its stretcher and removed the old and failing lining fabric. She then stretched a piece of strong open-weave polyester over the stretcher. She strip-lined the original canvas by adding a strip of canvas to each edge, and re-stretched the painting over the polyester. This ‘loose-lining’ adds support to the original canvas without having to employ the heat and pressure of the usual glued-on lining.

“Blossoms” underwent this complicated structural conservation treatment in order to stabilize the painting and to secure it on its stretcher under even and adequate tension. Procedures such as these are the elements of a conservation treatment that largely remain ‘behind the scenes.’ But the most visible result of the conservation is of course the transformation of the surface, as we hope you can see in the scroll.

“Blossoms” has just received its new frame, so look for it to pop up on the wall of our American galleries in the near future.