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Kunsthaus Zürich

Giacomo Balla
Extensive tests

A comprehensive investigation of the painting’s condition using a stereomicroscope revealed that the black paintwork required consolidation not just locally but over large areas.

Owing to the very delicate and sensitive nature of the surface, the extensive tests were initially carried out on specially prepared dummy areas (Ill. 2) before moving on to the original painting. The dummies replicated the original, with diluted black distemper being applied to a canvas.

Ultimately, a combination of JunFunori and sturgeon glue proved to be most suitable for consolidating the matt paintwork. JunFunori (pure Funori) is an adhesive prepared from algae that produces very good results when consolidating matt paint layers and is traditionally used in Japanese paper restoration. The addition of sturgeon glue, an adhesive obtained from the swim bladder of the sturgeon that is often used in picture restoration owing to its advantageous properties, increased the adhesiveness of the mixture.

Fig. 1
The dummies were used to observe possible changes caused by the consolidants
Fig. 1
The dummies were used to observe possible changes caused by the consolidants
Fig. 2
Additional tests of the consolidants on the original painting
Fig. 2
Additional tests of the consolidants on the original painting