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Subject: Questionnaire on water sensitive oil paints

Questionnaire on water sensitive oil paints

From: Klaas Jan den van Berg <klaas.jan.vd.berg>
Date: Friday, March 2, 2007
water sensitive oil paints

At the Modern Paints Uncovered (MPU) symposium, held at Tate Modern
on 16-19 May 2006, a paper was presented:

    A. Burnstock, K.J. van den Berg, S. de Groot and L. Wijnberg
    An investigation of water sensitive oil paints in 20th Century
    paintings. Postprints of the Modern Paints Uncovered conference
    (London, 16-19 May 2006), to be published.

This paper highlighted the problem of sensitivity of well-bound tube
oil paint to aqueous solvents used for dirt removal, on the basis of
research on paintings by Jasper Johns (Untitled 1964-65) and Karel
Appel (la'Homme, 1953) from the collection of the Stedelijk Museum
Amsterdam. Hypotheses were proposed that link hydrolysis of metal
stearates with the formation of surfactant-like functionalities in
the paint related to aluminum or other fatty acid soaps, and/or the
presence of hydrated alumina which may increase the sensitivity of
the paint to water by acting as a swelling agent.

Within the research programme on cleaning of painted surfaces,
carried out at the Netherlands Institute of Cultural Heritage in
collaboration with the Courtauld Institute of Art and Tate, we are
looking for a more general overview on the existence and context of
this phenomenon. If anyone has ever come across well bound, water
sensitive oil paints on a painting, please let us know. When was
this painting made? Was the sensitivity to water local and/or
related to the colour?

Please contact

    M. Bisschoff <madeleine.bisschoff [at] icn__nl>
    Dr. A. Burnstock <aviva.burnstock [at] courtauld__ac__uk>
    Dr. B. Ormsby: <bronwyn.ormsby [at] tate__org__uk>

Thank you in advance. We will contact you with more detailed

    **** Moderator's comments: Please respond directly to the

KJ van den Berg, project leader
+31 20 3054710
Netherlands Institute of Cultural Heritage (ICN)
PO Box 76709
1070 KA Amsterdam

                  Conservation DistList Instance 20:43
                  Distributed: Tuesday, March 6, 2007
                       Message Id: cdl-20-43-035
Received on Friday, 2 March, 2007

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