|Six-Month Restoration Ends of Vincent Van Gogh's "Bedroom" |
Restorer Ella Hendriks comments on the restoration of Vincent Van Gogh's 'The Bedroom' painting, right on easel, at the Van Gogh museum in Amsterdam, Netherlands, Thursday Aug. 27, 2010. Vincent van Gogh must have been horrified when he returned to his studio from hospital early in 1889 to find one of his favorite paintings damaged by moisture. He pressed newspaper to the canvas to protect it from further deterioration, rolled it up and sent it to his brother Theo in Paris. Ella Hendriks could still see traces of newsprint when she looked at "The Bedroom" under a microscope, as she picked and scraped at earlier restorations of the canvas and removed yellowing varnish that had been brushed on 80 years ago. Hendriks has completed a painstaking six-month restoration of the masterpiece, which returns to its place on the wall of the Van Gogh Museum on Friday. AP Photo/Peter Dejong.
By: Arthur Max, Associated Press Writer
AMSTERDAM (AP).- Vincent van Gogh must have been horrified when he returned from the hospital to his studio in Arles early in 1889 to find one of his favorite paintings damaged by moisture.
He pressed newspaper to the canvas to protect it from further deterioration, and later rolled it up and sent it to his brother Theo in Paris.
Ella Hendriks could still see traces of newsprint when she looked at "The Bedroom" under a microscope, as she picked and scraped at earlier restorations of the canvas and removed yellowing varnish that had been brushed on 80 years ago.
Hendriks has completed a painstaking six-month restoration of the masterpiece, which returns to its place on the wall of the Van Gogh Museum on Friday.
"The idea is to create a sort of balance, a feeling of rest," Hendriks said of her task.
The Bedroom is a familiar image. It has been reproduced in countless hotel rooms, on calendars and coffee mugs, and in art books on the Impressionists and post-impressionist period of the late 19th century.
Van Gogh liked it so much he painted two copies. One now hangs in the Art Institute of Chicago. A smaller version that he made for his mother and sister is in the Musee d'Orsay in Paris.
"When I saw my canvases again after my illness, what seemed to me the best was the bedroom," the Dutch artist wrote his brother in Paris after several weeks in the hospital.
But he found paint was flaking from dampness following flooding in the street outside his house while he was gone. Moisture also caused the canvas to shrink, pulling apart some paint at the edges as it dried.
"It looks much fresher and brighter now," said curator Leo Jansen. "It's more ... as Van Gogh intended it to be. It's more peaceful."
Van Gogh painted his own bedroom in what he called the Yellow House in the southern French town of Arles, where he had fled from the squabbling artist community of Paris. It was October 1888, in the midst of a critical six months that defined him as a painter, a period in which he also painted "Sunflowers."
"He felt liberated in the south," Jansen said in an interview. It was there that he "found those wonderful colors" and extraordinary original style.
At the end of 1888 Van Gogh began suffering a series of psychotic breakdowns. In 1889 he checked himself into an asylum in Saint-Remy where he stayed a year, producing 150 paintings, among them some of his most stunning works. After he left, despair continued to stalk him, and he died in 1890 from a self-inflicted gunshot wound. He was 37, and his career spanned just 10 years.
The Bedroom has been restored several times, most recently in 1931 and retouched by the same man 27 years later. Successive restorers tried to retouch the cracks, each time covering up a bit more of the original paint, Hendriks said, pointing to flaw lines in the unframed work as it stood on an easel in her laboratory.
After Van Gogh's death, a layer of glue-paste and canvas was ironed onto the back of the original canvas to make it more firm Van Gogh suggested it himself and in 1931 this process was repeated with a wax-resin adhesive. A layer of varnish was applied to the painted surface for the first time. Over time, these actions served to dull the vibrancy of color and flatten the spacial appearance.
Hendriks gently cleaned off most of the varnish with solvents. Then she scratched off microscopic layers of old overpaint with a surgical scalpel and used Japanese toothpicks to pluck out residues of varnish.
She discovered two white points of light that had been painted over, apparently because the earlier restorer had misunderstood Van Gogh's intention to show pinpoints of reflected sunlight from partially opened shutters.
As she worked, she and other experts at the museum kept a blog detailing their progress, their discoveries and the choices they faced. The blog had 115,000 page views over the life of the project. Nearly one-third of the viewers were from the U.S. and another third from the Netherlands.
There was no ambition to make the painting exactly as Van Gogh had painted it.
"You're always weighing up the advantages and disadvantages, what's safest for the painting, how was the painting meant to look, what impact will it (restoration) have," she said. And her work is reversible if ideas change.
"We don't want to retouch everything. We want to show that the painting has a history and achieve much more of a balance," she said. "We don't have the illusion that we should return the picture to an undamaged pristine state."
Hendriks, who has worked on restorations at the museum for 11 years, said she felt "privileged" to work on the Bedroom. "Just the fact of looking at this painting over such a long period of time, millimeter by millimeter it was a fantastic experience."
Still, you get used to it. "I wouldn't say that it's intimidating. That's the work that I do."
Copyright 2010 The Associated Press.
September 3, 2010
Bob Dylan's Specifically-Made 'Brazil Series' on Display in Denmark's National Gallery
Ed Ruscha's Apartments, Parking Lots, Palm Trees and Others at Sprüth Magers
Sotheby's Selling Exhibition of Monumental Sculpture at Chatsworth, Now in Its Fifth Year
Smithsonian American Art Museum Offers Largest Mission-Based Game Ever Designed
Treasures of the Islamic and Indian Worlds at Christie's London
New Book by the Royal Collection Explores the Impact of the Royal Portrait
Arthur Blumenthal Appointed Senior Numismatist at Heritage Auctions New York
Artist Mladen Miljanovic Draws Inspiration from Bosnia's Turmoil
Japanese Fascination with the West is Explored in Exhibition of 19th-Century Yokohama Prints
Pearl Harbor Marks 65th Anniversary of World War II's End
Galerie Anita Beckers Celebrates 20th Anniversary with Jürgen Klauke Exhibition
Australian Pavilion in Venice Showcases a New Perspective on Cities
Phillips Collection to Reopen on Saturday, Museum Waives Admission Fees
Rare Roman Lantern Found in United Kingdom Farmer's Field
Royal Institute of British Architects Announces Shortlists for Five Special Awards 2010
New Head of Exhibitions and Displays for Tate Liverpool
Six-Month Restoration Ends of Vincent Van Gogh's "Bedroom"
Bridget Riley and Wolfgang Tillmans Among Highlights of Frieze Talks
Bonhams to Sell Album of Paintings of Australia's Famed Wine Growing Region
Sprüth Magers Presents First Solo Exhibition by Barbara Kruger in Berlin
Larry Gagosian to Open New Gallery in Paris in October
Irma Sterns Zanzibar Image of Indian Beauty to Sell at Bonhams
Istituto Veneto di Scienze Shows Stanley Kubrick, the Photographer
Landmark New Sculpture by Acclaimed Artist Peter Randall-Page for Dulwich
Canadian Pavilion in Venice: Hylozoic Ground by Philip Beesley
Contemporary Designer Furnishings Added to Bonhams & Butterfields' Auction
Neues Museum in Berlin Welcomes One Millionth Visitor
Experts Reveal the Full Beauty of Petra's 2,000 Year-Old Cave Painting
"Dynamic Duo" Appointed to Curate 2012 Adelaide Biennial of Australian Art
Most Popular Last Seven Days
1.- Exhibition presents French Impressionist's most important and provocative paintings
2.- Sotheby's auction achieves the second-highest total for any sale ever held in London
3.- High Museum of Art premieres major United States exhibition of Alex Katz landscapes
4.- China's Great Wall is disappearing due to adverse natural conditions and reckless human activities
5.- Van Gogh to Pollock: Exhibition at Milwaukee Art Museum presents art world rebels
6.- Confederate flag furor spreads to stained glass windows at Washington National Cathedral
7.- Christie's London Impressionist & Modern Art Evening Sale achieves $112,908,380
8.- First comprehensive show on the history, politics and culture of homosexuality_ies opens in Berlin
9.- Sotheby's to re-launch Irish Art sales in London; Sale includes important nude by William Orpen
10.- Centre Pompidou devotes a major exhibition to Palestinian artist Mona Hatoum's work
Vincent van Gogh: The Letters Available Again in a Limited Number of Copies
Arnulf Rainer on Vincent van Gogh: Exhibition in Vincent van GoghHuis
Eleven Egyptian Officials to Be Tried in Van Gogh Theft
Six-Month Restoration Ends of Vincent Van Gogh's "Bedroom"
Over 120 Van Gogh Letters Will Be On View at Van Gogh Museum's Rietveld Building
Museums, Exhibits, Artists, Milestones, Digital Art, Architecture, Photography,
Photographers, Special Photos, Special Reports, Featured Stories, Auctions, Art Fairs,
Anecdotes, Art Quiz, Education, Mythology, 3D Images, Last Week, .
|Royalville Communications, Inc|