USE OF A PRESSURE-SENSITIVE ADHESIVE TO FACILITATE THE TRANSFER OF A SEVERELY TENTED PAINTING
GIANFRANCO POCOBENE, & IAN HODKINSON
Conservators have developed a number of treatment methods for dealing with severely damaged paintings. Among these are the procedures of facing and transfer of the paint film from an irreparably damaged or deteriorated support. Only dire circumstances warrant such major intervention, but such circumstances do arise. In the treatment described, traditional facing procedures would not have sufficed. The multiple problems of severe tented cleavage, disintegrating paint film, and irreversibly shrunken and degraded canvas support necessitated an innovative facing procedure. Fortunately, experiments with Rhoplex N-580 demonstrated its ability (1) to retain its flexibility and adequate adhesive strength after heating, (2) to remain soluble and thus reversible, and (3) to be applicable in either the liquid or the solid state. Its use, combined with a modified facing technique, allows for an almost complete reintegration of the paint layers and transfer to a stable support.
While the long-term stability of Rhoplex N-580 remains to be investigated, the facing procedure described here may prove a valuable solution to otherwise insolvable problems. The adhesive may also have broader applications in the conservation of works of art.
We wish to express our thanks to Robert Swain and Dorothy Farr of the Agnes Etherington Art Centre, Queen's University, Kingston, Ontario, Canada, for their interest and support during the conservation and restoration of the painting. The contents of this paper were presented to the Paintings Specialty Group at the 17th annual meeting of the American Institute for Conservation of Historic and Artistic Works in 1989.