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Subject: Inpainting


From: Elizabeth Hadlow <ehadlow>
Date: Friday, February 21, 2003
Tina Grette Poulsson <tina.grette.poulsson [at] nasjonalgalleriet__no>

>I am a student in paper conservation at the National Gallery in
>Oslo, Norway, and am now about to start working on my MA project,
>the subject of which will be retouching of works of art on paper.

In answer to Tina Grette Poulsson's query about Inpainting, here are
some thoughts.

>    1.  What does the term "retouching" signify to you?

Retouching to me means something similar to inpainting--though it
seems a term more common to restoration, rather than conservation

>    2.  Are there other words you would rather use?

I prefer inpainting--it implies to me that only losses in the work
are going to be "touched up", rather than areas perhaps being

>    3.  Do you think the view of retouching has changed the last
>        10-15 years?

I think that like most interventive conservation treatments,
inpainting/retouching is being done less and less.

>    4.  In your opinion, what are the advantages of retouching?

The main advantage to inpainting is aesthetic--artworks can be
displayed without disruptive losses and other damage being obvious.

>    5.  And the disadvantages?

Possible misinterpretation of the work; introducing new materials to
the work that weren't there originally; questionable
"reversibility"--especially on a medium like paper where inpainting
can be difficult to isolate.

>    6.  Are there occasions where you would retouch an item?

Yes--where there are large losses that need to be filled to maintain
the structural stability of the work--these fills would normally
require inpainting to maintain a suitable aesthetic appearance.

>    7.  If yes, which methods would you use?

It would depend on the original medium--mostly I use watercolours or
pastels. These would be applied to an infill, generally not to the
original paper (over a scratch etc).

>    8.  Would you use integrated, visible or neutral retouches?

Again, this would depend on the artwork and the amount of loss.
Where inpainting can be integrated with minimal interpretation, that
is the preferred option. Otherwise, I would tend to choose neutral
inpainting that tones in the loss. These decisions would be made in
consultation with the Curator of the artwork.

>    9.  Would you prefer using materials different from or similar
>        to those of the original?

Similar to the original--for surface finish, reflectivity etc

>    10. Would there be any items you would never retouch?

Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander material.

Elizabeth Hadlow
Australian National Maritime Museum

                  Conservation DistList Instance 16:50
                   Distributed: Monday, March 3, 2003
                       Message Id: cdl-16-50-006
Received on Friday, 21 February, 2003

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