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Subject: Ben Shahn painting

Ben Shahn painting

From: Patrica Smithen <smithen>
Date: Sunday, February 15, 1998
I am currently examining a 1951 Ben Shahn painting for treatment.
It was recorded as tempera on panel, however it turns out to be a
gouache medium on paper on linen.  This structure was wax-lined to
another piece of linen in the 50's, but the wax does not appear to
have impregnated the paint surface. The painting has a few problems,
the most serious one being that about 60% of the surface is cracked
and exhibiting microtenting and flaking.  I would prefer not to
remove the wax lining as the painting is remaining flat and the
lining appears to be in good condition.

Has anyone out there encountered other Ben Shahn paintings recently
with a similar phenomenon?  Also, does anyone have any suggestions
regarding consolidants that they have used successfully, without a
suction table, for a similar problem (cracked, flaking and tented,
thick gum-based paint)?

                  Conservation DistList Instance 11:71
                 Distributed: Friday, February 20, 1998
                       Message Id: cdl-11-71-010
Received on Sunday, 15 February, 1998

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