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Subject: Rusted tacks and canvas

Rusted tacks and canvas

From: Niccolo Caldararo <caldararo>
Date: Tuesday, March 9, 1999
Barbara Cerrina <nina [at] digicolor__net> writes

>There is a painting on canvas by Lucio Fontana, done in 1954. The
>artist did several holes and cuts on the canvas. The problem is that
>the tacks that holds the canvas to the frame are rusty and the
>textile fibre around them is oxidized and torn.

In such cases where a localized treatment is necessary I use a
chelating agent to reduce the potential for further damage and then
treat the area with BEVA D-8 to consolidate the deteriorated canvas.
Pieces of Japanese paper or strong long fiber handmade paper can be
formed into repair tissues using D-8 to laminate sections together
to form a thickness similar to the canvas.  Then D-8 can be used to
adhere the tissues to the canvas.  In my experience BEVA used in
this manner forms a strong, but flexible repair and consolidation
material and when joined with an appropriate paper produces a
durable repair.  My main concern would be how extensive the
degradation of the canvas has become, often large areas are affected
and the repair I have just described is only intended to address
small areas of damage limited to the immediate area of the tack.

This is not a new method, Gustav Berger has been an innovator in the
use of BEVA products in many non-traditional solutions for canvas
treatment and, Lance Mayer and Gay Myers in the 1988 preprints
described the use of using BEVA (371) and paper to repair tack
holes.  I use D-8 simply because it seems easier to manipulate the
paper for a longer period.

Niccolo Caldararo
Director and Chief Conservator
Conservation Art Service

                  Conservation DistList Instance 12:73
                  Distributed: Friday, March 12, 1999
                       Message Id: cdl-12-73-001
Received on Tuesday, 9 March, 1999

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