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

Kunsthaus Zürich

Félix Vallotton

The restoration: reasons and objectives

The main reason for the restoration is conservation issues. Remarks concerning ‘inadequate adhesion’, ‘layer separation’ and ‘flaking paintwork’ can be found in descriptions of its condition almost contemporaneous with its first recording in the Kunsthaus files in 1965. The reasons can be traced to the history of the painting but also to the techniques and materials used by the painter.

The picture is now in a precarious condition. Since they were originally described, the adhesion problems have led to numerous small losses in the paintwork. Additionally, there are repeated instances of areas of the paint layer lifting, and these can come loose and fall off when the canvas is shaken, for example when being transported.

The focus of the restoration is therefore on preserving the substance of the painting and preventing further damage. Systematic examination of the painting under the microscope can reveal the extent of the adhesion problems. Subsequent securing of the paint layer using a suitable consolidating agent will then be carried out to stabilize the painting without saturating or darkening the paint.

Particular attention will be paid to the coating and the question of originality. Analyses will be carried out to resolve these issues, and depending on the result, the next steps will then be discussed.

A further matter that will need to be considered is how to deal with the earlier overpainting before the minor chips in the paint layer are reintegrated into the surrounding paintwork.

Detail of the towel at the right edge of the picture with numerous small areas of paint loss
Detail of the towel at the right edge of the picture with numerous small areas of paint loss
Roof-shaped area of lifting paint which no longer adheres to the underlying layer and could easily come loose and flake off if the painting were shaken
Roof-shaped area of lifting paint which no longer adheres to the underlying layer and could easily come loose and flake off if the painting were shaken
Image taken under UV light: earlier retouching over a crack  revealed by the fact that it flouresces in a different colour.
Image taken under UV light: earlier retouching over a crack revealed by the fact that it flouresces in a different colour.