Georges Braque: A Closer Look

In conjunction with the exhibition Georges Braque and the Cubist Still Life, 1928-1945, colleagues from digital media, audio visual support, curatorial, and communications departments created a collection of short videos based on the technical examinations of four Braque paintings in our collection. These studies revealed new discoveries about Braque’s working methods, his palette, pigments, and the layering structure and composition of his materials. The videos are organized into chapters and feature associate conservator Patricia Favero narrating her findings. She examines paintings in visible, raking, and ultraviolet light and with a stereo-microscope and an infrared camera.

Treatment of Braque and Villon’s The Studio Table: Part 3, Final Steps

Read part one and part two in this series.

After drying The Studio Table (1923), it was noted that some adhesive still remained in the paper, creating distortions and discoloration.  Identification of the adhesive was made using examination with ultraviolet light and spot tests.  A gelatin specific enzyme was selected to remove the residual adhesive and brushed onto the margins under a controlled temperature and humidity setting. The print was then rinsed to remove any excess enzyme and a Japanese stippling brush was used to encourage the leftover adhesive to come loose. After drying between felts, it was observed that the adhesive had successfully been removed along with much of the staining in the margins. Click on the thumbnails below to view the process.

In addition to the previous mat being glued onto the piece, the mat board behind the print was composed of poor quality materials and had likely been in place for more than 50 years, which led to discoloration in the form of a matburn surrounding the image area of the print. A reducing agent solution was brushed onto the stain in tiny dots with a tiny brush in order to diminish it. The print was again rinsed, then rehumidified and dried between felts.

Here you can see the dramatic difference in the print’s condition before and after treatment. The Studio Table is currently on display on the second floor of the Sant Building as part of the Georges Braque and the Cubist Still Life exhibition until September 1, 2013.

Caroline Hoover, Conservation Assistant

Studio Table before treatment, left, and after treatment, right.

Studio Table before treatment, left, and after treatment, right.

Treatment of a Braque Hidden Treasure: Part 2, Removing Adhesive

Read part one in this series here.

In order to remove the adhesive from the margins surrounding the printed image of The Studio Table (1923), conservation treatment was undertaken. First, the print was humidified and placed upon a wet blotter infused with pH adjusted water.  Blotter poultices were added on top of the adhesive around the margins. Once the adhesive had sufficiently softened, it was gently coaxed off using a dental tool and the signatures were revealed. The print was then left to dry between felts. Click on the thumbnails below to view the process. Read part three tomorrow…

Caroline Hoover, Conservation Assistant