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Subject: Painting on hardboard

Painting on hardboard

From: Bettina Ebert <be<-at->
Date: Tuesday, October 6, 2009
I am currently attempting to surface clean a painting on hardboard.
The paint used is possibly oil, and is applied on the textured rough
surface of the board rather than the smooth side.

There is no ground or priming, and paint is applied relatively
thinly, leaving areas of board visible. There are also some areas
with more heavy paint application. A yellowish water-soluble surface
coating which is possibly animal glue has been selectively applied
over some areas. The painting is covered in a thick layer of surface
dirt which is mainly concentrated in the more thinly painted areas.

The surface dirt and dust which has accumulated in the troughs of
the weave-like texture of the support gives the painting a very
grey, dull appearance. It is also possible that some form of
efflorescence is present, as the greyish accretions are more
concentrated in some areas as opposed to others.

When undertaking cleaning tests, some colour fields (black and red)
were found to be extremely water-sensitive. In addition, I have had
great difficulty finding a suitable cleaning method for removing the
dirt from the troughs of the textured support, as they are quite
deep and narrow. I have tried various different tools and
techniques, none of which are suitable. I have resorted to
sharpening bamboo swab sticks to a point which is about  0.2 mm in
diameter, and wrapping a few strands of cotton wool around, since
anything else is too large in size to safely clean the troughs
without dislodging paint or disturbing the wood fibres. If anyone
has any ingenious ideas or has previous experience with a similar
problem, I would be delighted to hear from you.

Bettina Ebert
Fine Art Conservation
Asiarta Foundation
Kuala Lumpur
Mobile: +60 173 889 620

                  Conservation DistList Instance 23:11
                Distributed: Wednesday, October 7, 2009
                       Message Id: cdl-23-11-020
Received on Tuesday, 6 October, 2009

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