A Ketonic Quandary

This Ricard Anuszkiewicz acrylic painting from 1969 came to our conservation team slathered with a very discolored ketone varnish.  Now, I don’t know how much you know about pairing acrylic paint with a ketone varnish, but bottom line is, if you ever want to remove the varnish, it will be very tricky to not also remove the original acrylic paint layer as well.

Of course, our client wanted the varnish removed.

So, we did some testing on the painting, and immediately realized that it’s not just the varnish that makes cleaning this difficult, it’s also the impasto of the painting.  Each line is painted differently, and the painting is kind of sculptural; almost like a bas-relief in that the impasto is raised and lowered with each line.  It’s hard to show in a photo, but here’s a mega close up so you can see how small the lines are:

So! With all these obstacles ahead of us, we forged on ahead slowly and carefully and managed to remove most of the varnish.  To do so, we soaked small q-tips in solvents for several hours.

Then we took one q-tip at a time and worked lined by line between the impasto layers, carefully removing the varnish from the painting.  It took hours, but the results were remarkable.

1 section cleaned
half cleaned
Fully Clean

…and now onto the structural work…

Lowy art conservation: it’s own thang

Lowy has launched a brand new website dedicated to our art conservation department!  You can now reach both sites with one click at http://www.lowyonline.com, and just select your destination.  (Sounds a little like a trip to the beach, doesn’t it?)

Well we don’t have a beach but there are super exciting features such as the ask a Lowy conservator section: submit your question and check back on the site for an answer from a genu-ine Lowy conservator.  And much much more!!  Check it out for yourself and please send feedback!!

Beyond the Frame: Meet the Faces of Lowy Art Conservation

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Picasso, Monet, Pollock, or even a Van Dyck. You probably know we’ve framed works by these great artists, but what you may not know is that we’ve touched their art in another, equally important way: through conservation.

For over 100 years, Lowy has been a leader in the field of conservation. We’ve done work for many of the great museums, private collectors and galleries. Today, our talented team is led by Chief Conservator Bill Santel and Senior Conservator Lauren Rich who together offer over 50 years of academic and practical experience.

Our conservators combine true artistic talent with the latest science and technology, and are dedicated to the preservation of works of art using the most reversible and least invasive, yet effective techniques. This approach has earned Lowy a reputation for the highest ethical and professional standards.

We hope you enjoy the video and we would welcome and appreciate your thoughts and comments.