The IMA has partnered with the Conner Prairie Museum for the long term loan of a Severin Roesen still life painting. In exchange for the loan, the painting is undergoing conservation treatment at the IMA. The treatment will be completed so that the painting can hang in the IMA’s American Galleries by June 2010.
Overall, the painting is in relatively good condition. There is one minor damage, a small tear in the left side, and some areas where cracks in the paint are unstable. Aesthetically, the painting is obscured by heavy layers of dirt, soot, and discolored varnish. Underneath those layers lie the delicate flowers with glistening dew drops for which Roesen is so well known.
The treatment will be completed so that the painting can hang in the IMA’s Early American Gallery by June 2010.
Once the grey dirt and soot were cleaned from the surface, varnish removal began.
For a paintings conservator, treatments like this one are very rewarding. There is going to be a dramatic difference between the before and after image because the visual effects that so many discoloring layers have on the original are quite profound.
A step by step account will be presented in a second blog once the conservation treatment is complete. For more discussion of the conservation process, here’s a short video with Christina Milton O’Connell, Associate Conservator of Paintings at the IMA, and Stephanie West, Conservation Technician at Conner Prairie.
Thanks again to Conner Prairie for sharing this lovely painting with the IMA and its visitors.