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Seeing in Different Ways: A Liz Magor Backpack Project
Seeing in Different Ways:
A Liz Magor Backpack Project

Why Paper Discolours (Part 2)
Why Paper Discolours (Part 2)

Why Paper Discolours (Part 1)
Why Paper Discolours (Part 1)

Mending a Tear in an Aboriginal Drum
Mending a Tear in an Aboriginal Drum

Distortions and Dimensional Changes
in Paper (Part 3)
Distortions and Dimensional Changes
in Paper (Part 3)

Distortions and Dimensional Changes
in Paper (Part 2)

Distortions and Dimensional Changes
in Paper (Part 1)

After treatment
Oscar Cahén: Innovative Conservation
for an Innovative Artist

Rigid Water Gels: New Treatment Options for Paper Conservators

Structural Remedies for Canvas Paintings

Organizing and Preserving Collections - Part 4: Digital-based Material

Organizing and Preserving Collections - Part 3: Photo-based Material

Organizing and Preserving Collections - Part 2: Paper-based Material

First Steps
Organizing and Preserving Collections - Part 1: The First Steps

Natural Dyes
The Use of Natural Dyes in Textile Conservation

A Relocation Project

Challenges of Preserving Contemporary Artwork

Preserve Your Investment through Art Conservation

A Project Completed: Heritage Preserved

Old and New Methods for Cleaning Paintings

I Can See Clearly Now – Or Can I? Part 2

I Can See Clearly Now – Or Can I?

The E.J. Hughes Mural: An Expanded Project

Is She or Is She Not an Emily

Treating Art with Sensitive Media

Malaspina Mural: An Update

For the Artist: Testing Your Materials

Conservator as Art Historian

Alum Sizing and the Art of W.J. Phillips

Treatment of an Elizabeth Keith Wood Block Print

Structural Treatment of an Emily Carr

The Treatment of a Monumental Wall Hanging

Changing Images

Preserving a Rare Record

Gold Leaf: Imitation and Genuine

The Case Against Canvas Backings

Heritage Colours: Research Discovers Original Colours

Lighting Your Art: Balancing Seeing and Protecting

The Double-Sided Emily Carr Painting

Choosing a Period Picture Frame

How to Identify a Picture Frame

Stretching Canvas and Restretching Artwork

Mounting Textiles

Aging Paintings:
Some Causes and Effects

Chine Collé Prints

What's Your Favourite Color?

Backing Removals

Rips, Holes and Tears

Filling in the Gaps

DIY – Preventative Care of Paintings

Frame it Right

Fire, Water and Smoke-Damaged Paintings

Inherent Vice

Saturated Problems:
A Water-Damaged Painting

Moldy Paper

Conserving Time

Conserving Paper: Dos and Don'ts

Repair of Textiles

Conserving Wood

Rescuing Endangered Murals

Repairing Acid-Matte Burn

Art Services & Materials
Exhibition Openings & Events

Conservation Corner Back

Structural Treatment of an Early Emily Carr

by Cheryle Harrison

Emily Carr’s early formal art studies included three years, 1890 to 1893, at the California School of Design in San Francisco. She copied classical statues, studied drawing, painted portraits and still-life. Her work of this period offers a comparative view to her later emotional and rhythmic work that developed from the influence of the Fauvists, the Post-Impressionists, and the experience of plein-air painting in France and Britain.

Before treatment above,
After treatment below

This still-life, Peaches, was given as a wedding present by Emily Carr to family friends in San Francisco. Peaches has been subjected to variable environmental and storage conditions. The activity of water and dirt has resulted in a dry and embrittled canvas support. Paint has lifted along the edges of raised crack lines. The weakened paint layer has formed cup shaped segments with curled edges, lifting areas resulting in small paint losses. Objects leaned against the artwork caused small holes and tears. The overall structure of the artwork was weakened and delicate.

The initial treatment of Peaches was concerned with making fragile areas safe before other treatment could ensue. The lifting and partially delaminating paint was stabilized by injecting adhesive underneath paint segments and infusing it into cracks to hold the paint layer in place. After preparation, humidification treatments helped ease the raised cracks and distorted paint layer towards a more uniform surface while maintaining the painting’s surface character. Frayed threads along the tears and small holes were repositioned and interwoven into place. Additional canvas threads were integrated to strengthen the joint lines of tears and woven in to create an insert for the holes. Adhesive solution was applied to the back and allowed to migrate through the painting’s layers and then activated to strengthen the overall structure of the artwork. The stretcher was cleaned and the painting re-stretched.

Before treatment above,
After treatment below

Peaches was cleaned using custom solutions selected specifically to remove the dirt, grime and darkened varnish on its surface. Areas of paint loss were minimally filled and inpainted with reversible, museum quality materials. The painting was varnished to protect and saturate the colours of the composition.

Structural treatment focuses on the physical activity of materials and the condition of an artwork. Treatments can be simple or a series of complicated processes used to stabilize a particular area or entire painting. A conservator’s goal is to observe, study, and direct their efforts to maintain an artwork’s integrity and to preserve its history.

Previously: The Treatment of a Monumental Wall Hanging
Next Issue: Treatment of a Japanese Print

 Fri, Apr 6, 2007