http://www.kunsthaus.ch/en/the-collection/conservation/examples-from-the-world-of-art-conservation/the-restoration-reasons-and-objectives-pierre-bonnard/?redirect_url=title%3DPerspective

Kunsthaus Zürich

Pierre Bonnard

The restoration: reasons and objectives

Detail of «Woman in a Polka-Dot Dress»: areas of paint loss due to inadequate adhesion.
Detail of «Woman in a Polka-Dot Dress»: areas of paint loss due to inadequate adhesion.

The work’s rather delicate present condition is largely due to a combination of Bonnard’s painting technique and the materials he used. Wishing to achieve a matt appearance, Bonnard used a low-sheen paint containing little binding agent, which he applied to unprepared paper. The paper rapidly absorbed the binding agent from the paint, producing the matt effect the artist desired.

 

 

Detail (raking light image) of «Seated Woman»: Roof-shaped area of lifting paint without adhesion to the underlying layer. Further losses can be expected unless the paint is consolidated.
Detail (raking light image) of «Seated Woman»: Roof-shaped area of lifting paint without adhesion to the underlying layer. Further losses can be expected unless the paint is consolidated.

Unfortunately, this method of applying the paint soon led to adhesion problems. In areas of pastose or multi-layered paint especially, small flakes of paint have come loose from the underlying layer.

Today, the paintwork exhibits numerous areas of loss and projecting flakes of paint.

The aim of the work to be carried out, which is mainly conservatory in nature, will be to analyse the stability of the paintwork under the microscope and consolidate the loose areas.


Detail of: «Woman in a Polka-Dot Dress»: Multiple scratches in the sensitive paintwork date from the time before the works were placed behind glass.
Detail of: «Woman in a Polka-Dot Dress»: Multiple scratches in the sensitive paintwork date from the time before the works were placed behind glass.

Prior to this, tests will have to be carried out to identify the appropriate consolidating agent and the correct way to incorporate it. The work carried out must not alter the visual appearance of the paintings.

This website will be regularly updated while the restoration is in progress.