Behind the Scenes in Conservation: Which solvents are best?

by Conservation

7/26/2018

behind the scenes , conservation , paintings , John H. Twachtman , painting treatment

Our paintings conservator has been examining this little painting by John H. Twachtman (1853-1902) and performing a few small cleaning tests in order to determine the best solvents to remove the discolored varnish safely.  The cleaned patch at the upper right corner shows how the scene will be brightened by cleaning. Since it’s such a small painting, once the conservation plan is completed, treatment won’t take long.

The artist painted the composition on a fine lightweight piece of canvas that was then mounted to fiberboard.  The solid support may even have been applied by the artist.  In any case it was done before the work was acquired by the museum and there is no reason to remove it at this time. 

Finally, one of the more curious details in this very early painting by the artist is that he signed his name with an extra “n.”   In the six other signed paintings in CAM’s collection he signed “Twachtman.”