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Behind the Scenes in Conservation: A black light revelation!

by Conservation


behind the scenes , conservation , Walter Schofield , black light , paintings conservation

In the course of examining this early 20th century painting by American Impressionist Walter Schofield, our paintings conservator noticed a curious thing.  Under ultraviolet light, also known as black light, the pure white paint in the snow-covered foreground showed (fluoresced) in two different colors.

Some of the white brushstrokes look bright yellow, while others are pinkish purple.  The varied fluorescence is a result of different light absorption, and it indicates that the artist used two different white paints in the snowy scene.  While the presence of two white pigments did not affect the conservation treatment, the images and notes about the finding will be entered in the painting’s conservation file.  It may be relevant in future studies of the artist or the period.


Related: Behind the Scenes in Conservation: Raking Light