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Wednesday, May 31 • 3:30pm - 4:00pm
084. (Paintings) Lifting the Microfiber Veil: Utilizing Evolon fabric at the Mauritshuis to remove aged varnish from Hendrick Heerschop's A Visit to the Doctor

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This poster will focus on the use of Evolon® fabric as a material for a ‘tissue method’ of varnish removal. Evolon, a polyamide/polyester blended microfiber cloth, is currently marketed industrially as a fabric with a very absorbent internal microfilament structure, ideal for ‘high-tech’ wiping, healthy anti-mite bedding, and technical packaging, among other uses. However, conservation studios in France, Germany, and the Netherlands have begun to test the fabric as a material to aid in ‘tissue method’ varnish removal treatments, with promising results. This poster will highlight a case study from a treatment at the Mauritshuis in The Hague, Netherlands, including testing and subsequent methodology for using the Evolon fabric during varnish removal, as well as potential drawbacks to the technique. Hendrick Heerschop’s A Visit to the Doctor, a small 17th century Dutch panel painting in the Mauritshuis collection, was brought to the conservation studio for a technical study and treatment in the fall of 2015. Underneath multiple layers of markedly discolored varnish and overpaint, the painting exhibited extensive lead soap formation across the entire painted surface. Though no active paint flaking from these protrusions was observed during preliminary examination, the soaps appeared to have been disturbed and partially removed during a previous restoration, thus requiring a particularly cautious varnish removal method for the current treatment. When a variety of solvent tests with cotton swabs swelled the varnish but required too much time or mechanical action for safe removal, Evolon fabric was suggested as a potential alternative to cotton swabs and other solvent carriers. The microfiber composition of the fabric carried the solvents necessary to swell aged varnish films without leaking and subsequently absorbed the varnish without added mechanical action. Based on the successful treatment of Hendrick Heerschop’s A Visit to the Doctor, Evolon fabric may be a highly effective material option to consider as a ‘tissue method’ for varnish removal treatments.

avatar for Julie Ribits

Julie Ribits

Beverly & Gayl W. Doster Paintings Conservator, Eskenazi Museum of Art at Indiana University
Julie Ribits is a graduate of the SUNY Buffalo State Art Conservation Program, class of 2016. Julie completed a bachelor's double degree in Art (Printmaking) and Art History (Northern European Renaissance) from the University of Minnesota. Julie's experience includes internships at... Read More →

Wednesday May 31, 2017 3:30pm - 4:00pm CDT
Riverside West Exhibit Hall Exhibit Level, East Tower
  9. Poster, Paintings