Van Gough Works Deteriorating

Conservation Issues
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Van Gough Works Deteriorating

Post by JohnMcafee » Wed 11 Mar, 2015 1:27 pm

In today's MailOnline
  • Red lead pigment used by Vincent van Gogh has been found to be fading
  • Impurities in the paint may have triggered a chemical reaction in sunlight
  • Scientists found a rare lead-based mineral has been forming in the paint
  • This then reacts with carbon dioxide from the air to create white crystals
  • They warn that many of the artist's paintings may be at risk of this process
  • They examined Wheat Stack Under a Cloudy Sky and found it had faded
"A little learning is a dangerous thing"

(Also known as John, the current forum administrator)


Re: Van Gough Works Deteriorating

Post by markw » Sat 14 Mar, 2015 9:22 am

Interesting article - just shows that however hard we try to prolong the life of the work - the initial decision to use the best quality materials is paramount. I know a number of artist who use the cheapest materials they can get their hands on. They only really care that the work sells. I wonder if Van Gough considered the longevity of his work or how much it would sell for.


Re: Van Gough Works Deteriorating

Post by Roboframer » Sat 14 Mar, 2015 9:51 am

Both artists and framers had ignorance on their side regarding anything archival - maybe one of those microclimate enclosure frames would help. I think they're only about a grand for a 14x11 :-)

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Re: Van Gough Works Deteriorating

Post by JFeig » Sat 14 Mar, 2015 1:16 pm

Dermot at can give you more info on my enclosures.
Jerome Feig CPF®


Re: Van Gough Works Deteriorating

Post by Graysalchemy » Sun 15 Mar, 2015 2:58 pm

We must remember that artists are poof penny less souls mist if their lives so materials used reflect this. Even when they make a success often old habits die hard.

We can only do the best we can with what we are given and the budgets artists are prepared to spend. Having said that most conservation techniques don't cost much more these days or take much longer to do.

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Re: Van Gough Works Deteriorating

Post by Benhen » Sat 27 Apr, 2019 10:08 am

Interesting. Not so long ago a senior director of a major American museum messaged me privately about his Monet, bits of the painting were shearing off at a disturbing rate and they were desperate. There is a lot of secrecy surrounding the care of pictures, despite global conservation conventions etc.
For my ignorance, I’ve never heard of artists’ red lead, engineers’ red lead, yes. Usually red is a mercuric compound, or iron based.

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