Art & Design Magazine

Spring Cleaning for Alice Pike Barney

By Americanart

Claire Walker, Samuel H. Kress Fellow in Paintings Conservation at American Art's Lunder Conservation Center, tells us how conservators clean paintings.


Claire Walker works on Hubert Vos's Alice Barney in White Satin

Alice Barney in White Satin, an oil painting on canvas by Hubert Vos, was recently treated at the Lunder Conservation Center. Alice Pike Barney was an artist herself, and several of her works are in the Smithsonian American Art Museum’s collection.

Conservators monitor and treat works as part of routine maintenance and address issues including damage, natural deterioration, and storage and display conditions. This painting came to the Lunder Conservation Center because of surface dirt and discolored natural resin varnish. Natural resins yellow and darken over time as part of their normal aging process. This gives the painting’s surface a yellow cast and masks the artist’s colors, particularly the delicate play of warm and cool pastel tones in Alice’s dress. Dirt darkens the image, but also speeds the deterioration of the artist’s materials and detracts from the artwork.

After careful testing, the conservation treatment began with the removal of dirt from the surface using a pH balanced water-based solution. Then the discolored varnish was removed using a solvent gel. A new, synthetic (and non-yellowing) varnish was applied to the surface to provide an even saturation and sheen overall. Several small losses along the painting’s edge were inpainted with a varnished-based conservation paint that can be removed easily by the next conservator.

Spring Cleaning for Alice Pike Barney

Before and After Removal of Discolored Varnish

Now Alice looks as bright and vibrant as ever, just in time for spring in D.C.! Look for Alice on the second floor at the Renwick Gallery in the coming weeks and visit our Facebook page for more treatment photos.

  • Lunder Conservation Center, Art Conservation, American Art, Smithsonian American Art Museum

You Might Also Like :

Back to Featured Articles on Logo Paperblog

These articles might interest you :

  • Artisanal Skincare Holy Basil Cleansing and Toning Water Review

    Artisanal Skincare Holy Basil Cleansing Toning Water Review

    As we all know how important the toning step is in our regular CTM routine. Lately I have been loving floral waters or hydrosols as toners and so far I have... Read more

    11 hours ago by   Skincarevilla
  • Soon By You Episode 4: The Dates | Soon By You (video)

    Soon Episode Dates (video)

    David and Sarah finally go on their first date. Jacobs explores foreign avenues for a love connection and Noa, Ben, and Z take up volunteering. Read more

    12 hours, 17 minutes ago by   Gldmeier
  • Locaflea Summer Jam 2017 Starts Today in Ahmedabad

    Locaflea Summer 2017 Starts Today Ahmedabad

    Shopping is the best remedy, someone said it and it’s true, especially when your city is boiling and the temperature stays beyond 38 throughout the day or even... Read more

    12 hours, 26 minutes ago by   Hetal Shah
  • Summer Makeup Tips for Long Lasting Makeup

    Summer Makeup Tips Long Lasting

    Hey everyone today’s post is very informative and very useful for the hot scorching summer time. I am going to talk about my most used summer makeup tips for... Read more

    12 hours, 40 minutes ago by   Sugandha Choudhary
  • A Very Nice Day

    Very Nice

    Thursday dawned bright and clear and rather cool -- a perfect day to be outside! Shelia, my friend since 7th grade, was in town and offered to come over and pul... Read more

    14 hours, 49 minutes ago by   Vickilane
  • 33, And Counting…


    I have 33 job applications out there. …Have taken 5 Interviews so far, and every day at work is like trying to survive a crawfish boil…as a fucking crawfish. Read more

    15 hours, 23 minutes ago by   Shewritesalittle
  • Hypermasculinity – Sometimes It’s Not All About The Girls

    Hypermasculinity Sometimes It’s About Girls

    16th December 2012. A 23-year old student was not just gang-raped but tormented and beaten in the most barbaric way possible on a moving bus. Read more

    16 hours, 41 minutes ago by   Scribe Project