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Art Conservation and Restoration: Paintings

Analysis of Dali's 'Forgotten Horizon'

Salvador Dali's 'Forgotten Horizon' - analysis of painting - visual analysis; infra-red light analysis, ultraviolet light analysis; microscopic analysis.

analysis under ultraviolet light

(Source: Tate)

Restoration of Rothko's 'Black on Maroon'

(From YouTube)

Filmed over 18 months, the story behind the restoration of Mark Rothko's 'Black on Maroon'.

Mark Rothko's 'Black on Maroon' 1958 goes back on public view at Tate Modern on 13 May 2014, following 18 months of intensive work by the Conservation team and colleagues across Tate.

The painting, one of the iconic Seagram murals which Rothko donated to Tate in 1970, was vandalised with graffiti ink in October 2012. It has since been the subject of detailed research and restoration by the core treatment team of Rachel Barker, Bronwyn Ormsby and Patricia Smithen.

Over nine months the team researched methods for removing the ink from the delicate paint layers, using special test canvases to assess the appropriate solvents and cleaning methods. Rachel then spent a further nine months working on Black on Maroon itself, removing the majority of the surface ink before restoring the painting's surface.

Conservation projects

The Poussin Project (NGV)

Fourteen months in 70 seconds (NGV)

Witness the transformation of Poussin’s Crossing of the Red Sea in this slideshow chronicling the various stages of conservation treatment: the removal of old varnish and restorations, the application of a new varnish, and the gradual process of inpainting the lost and worn passages of paint.  If you look closely you will notice the changes first in the lower half of the painting, then up through the mountains and landscape, and finally throughout the sky.