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Conserving Van Gogh

May 17, 2011 - September 05, 2011


Conserving Van GoghChief Conservator Per Knutas will conduct a conservation project in public. He will be stabilizing and cleaning Undergrowth with Two Figures (1890), one of Vincent van Gogh’s last great masterpieces, which he painted just before his death in 1890. This iconic piece, which has been part of the Cincinnati Art Museum collection since 1967, will be on loan to the Philadelphia Museum of Art when the five-month project is finished. Visitors to the museum will see Knutas bringing his painstakingly detailed work out in the open in the Cincinnati Wing. The precise and delicate technique will be filmed and streamed on to a projection screen. Knutas will be working with a powerful microscope, solvents and special tools. His work will mirror the detailed activities of a surgeon. In particular, Knutas will be removing wax from the painting (a side effect from an in-house treatment) to reveal the vibrant colors and textures as the great van Gogh intended.