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Art Conservation and Restoration: Collage

Dilemmas in Contemporary Art: Richard Hamilton’s Hommage à Chrysler Corp. 1957

Dilemmas in Contemporary Art: Richard Hamilton’s Hommage à Chrysler Corp. 1957 including:

conservator's attitude to changing works;

condition of the work on its acquisition at Tate;

changes to the collage: discolouration and balance; 

Conservation attempt one: a replacement photographic element;

Conservation attempt two: a digital comparison;

the ethical concerns of intervention;

the conservation treatment, a reversible treatment;

the conservation treatment: printing on thin paper;

conservation treatment: a replaceable image;

the artist's reaction to the treatment;

Contemporary art dilemmas: the role of the artist and the responsibility of the museum;

 

Through microscopic and chemical analyses conservators discovered that the background in John Bettes’s painting was originally bright blue. The colour was derived from the pigment smalt, which is essentially blue glass ground up into small particles. Bound in linseed oil, however, smalt often discolours to the dark greens and browns seen in this portrait; this change of state is not reversible. Artists in John Bettes’s time would likely not have known that this would happen.

(Source: Tate - Conservation)