Restoration painting


In June 2008 the artist Koen Vermeule approached Restoration Studio Picard enquiring whether we had time to undertake the restoration of a painted work of art dating from 2004. The project was then undertaken in collaboration with our colleague Alonja.

The painting “JUMP” (oil and acrylic paint on acrylic primed linen, on canvas stretcher, 130×180) had been damaged by smoke during a fire in the Embassy, which had left a substantial layer of soot attached to the entire surface (photo 1, before restoration). Luckily the painting itself and the stretcher slats were otherwise undamaged by the fire. Some 80% of the surface of this work is painted in a very plastic/relief-like style.

The Restoration

The fairly loosely attached soot particles were first removed using a museum vacuum cleaner. The back of the canvas and the stretcher slats were also cleaned in this way.

In part for the purposes of the quote, an initial test was carried out on the edge of the painting with the soot solvent mixture. Various different dilution ratios were mixed for this purpose. The appropriate dilution was determined on the basis of this test.

The surface was carefully dry cleaned using absorbent rolls/balls of an organic version of CreaColor. This treatment was repeated.

The entire surface was then wet cleaned (in matrix pattern A-C, B-D etc.) using cotton buds and the soot solvent solution, dissolved in demineralised water and immediately soaked up using dry cotton buds (dampen lightly/dissolve soot, soak up), all one quarter of a centimetre at a time.

Lastly the entire surface was given a final clean, again in matrix pattern (distilled water and absorbent tissue, cotton buds).

A mixed oil-on-acrylic painting, where some particles of acrylic paint are not covered by the oil paint, makes for a fairly vulnerable surface (notably for smoke damage and the like). From this point of view it is perhaps time for a reappraisal of the “old custom” of varnishing.

For that reason we recommended (for consideration in the near future, in consultation with the artist) treating this painting with a thin coat of varnish (eggshell/reversible varnish).

With thanks to:
Koen Vermeule,
Labshop, Twello

Restauratie Atelier Picard is lid van de beroepsvereniging Restauratoren Nederland