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Subject: Vibration and loosely stretched canvas paintings

Vibration and loosely stretched canvas paintings

From: Tom Dixon <tom.dixon>
Date: Monday, June 23, 2003
Kathrin Pilz <kathrinpilz [at] yahoo__de> writes

>We are looking for means of protecting canvas paintings from
>vibration. We have already found lots of literature on temporary
>measures like for art in transit, etc. But we are searching for a
>permanent solution to this problem: e.g. loosely stretched or
>open-weave canvases like those by some impressionists. A buffer of
>air directly behind the painting should prevent the canvas from
>vibration. ...

We instituted a programme many years ago to back all of our
paintings using Fome-Cor (Monsanto trade marked material).  By
attaching a rigid and reasonably sealed back, an air cavity is
created between the reverse of the canvas and the backing board
which stops "flagging" (the snapping back and forth of large
paintings when they are being handled) and also stops most vibration
of the canvas.  On traditionally framed paintings stepped pine
strips are screwed to the back of the frame and the Fome-Cor is then
attached with self-drilling-self-tapping screws.  On frameless
paintings a plastic "C" strip is attached to the stretcher and the
Fome-Cor slips into it.  Another important part of the strategy to
reduce vibration in handling is to attach handles to heavy or large
pictures to aid in handling.  One of our colleagues here invented a
special handle very useful for handling large pictures.  It took
about 7 years for us to complete a project to back our collection of
3,500 pictures.

We have also glazed every picture we could using Mirogard low
reflection glass which seals the picture within an airspace and
further isolates it from movement.  The size limit for this is about
1 metre, so many of our pictures can't be glazed.  However, for
those that can, it protects them from being touched and from
coughs/sneezes and increases their accessibility through making them
safe for the public to be very close.

Thomas Dixon
Chief Conservator
National Gallery of Victoria
Melbourne Australia


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                  Conservation DistList Instance 17:4
                   Distributed: Monday, June 23, 2003
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Received on Monday, 23 June, 2003

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