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Behind the Scenes in Conservation: Head of a Woman (Tête de femme), Fernand Leger

by Conservation


conservation , Fernand Leger , works on paper , ink drawing , object conservation


Preparing works on paper so they look their best when they are displayed in the museum often involves more than just treating the print or drawing.  That was the case for Fernand Leger’s ink drawing Head of a Woman (Tête de femme).  The drawing came to the Museum in good condition, but its frame had several losses of the gilding and underlying gesso layer.  After removing the drawing from its frame and releasing it from the back mat so that the buckled paper could be relaxed and flattened, the paper conservator turned her attention to the frame.  The first step was to check to see that all of the surface decoration was securely attached to the underlying wood.  Adhesive was fed under the loose areas to readhere them to the wood.  Then losses were filled to the level of the original gold surface, smoothed and toned to match.  Now that the drawing is back in its frame, viewers can focus on Leger’s portrait and won’t be distracted by the small damages to the frame.  Look for the drawing in Gallery 150 beginning July 11.


Frame (detail) for:

2014.40, Fernand Léger (French, b. 1881, d. 1955), Head of a Woman (Tête de femme), 1950, brush and black ink with pencil grid, Bequest of Gladys K. Lazarus, © 2016 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / ADAGP, Paris