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Picasso's "The Actor" Returns - Repaired and Glazed - After Four Months
Pablo Picasso, The Actor (1904-–05). ©2010 Estate of Pablo Picasso / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York. Photo: Don Pollard.

NEW YORK, NY.- Opened on April 27, 2010, a special exhibition of 300 works from The Metropolitan Museum of Art’s collection by Pablo Picasso includes 238 paintings, drawings, and prints framed with Optium® Acrylic Glazing from Tru Vue. Among these, Picasso's large Rose-period oil painting The Actor (1904-–05) returns for viewing. The painting, now protected with Optium Acrylic Glazing, underwent conservation and restoration after being damaged in the galleries in January.

In February, Tru Vue began talking with the Museum about glazing all of Picasso’s works on paper, and perhaps, some paintings with Optium. “We are very grateful for Tru Vue’s contribution toward the glazing of the works of art with Optium; the result is marvelous,” says Gary Tinterow, Engelhard Chairman, The Metropolitan Museum of Art's Department of Nineteenth-Century, Modern, and Contemporary Art. As curator for this special exhibit, Tinterow is a Picasso scholar known for his highly acclaimed exhibitions and publications Master Drawings by Picasso, The Essential Cubism, Juan Gris: A Retrospective, and Picasso Classico.

Using Optium Acrylic Glazing on The Actor is an especially exciting opportunity to showcase the extraordinary clarity of the glazing material on such a significant painting, according to Julie Heath, Tru Vue’s museum market manager. She notes, “Optium Acrylic Glazing reduces reflection so that the glazing is nearly invisible allowing the viewer to better appreciate the artworks. Tru Vue has worked closely with the museum community to develop this product to meet superior, aesthetic standards, as well as conservation standards.”

Heath continues, “Optium combines the best of both worlds: glass and acrylic. It is a shatter-resistant, abrasion-resistant, anti-static, anti-reflective material that blocks up to 99% of damaging ultraviolet (UV) light, resisting fading and yellowing.”

“The anti-reflective, UV-filtering qualities of Optium make it among the best types of glazing to preserve very valuable art for generations to come. We’re proud to be a part of the project, and to contribute in a way that properly displays and protects these artworks,” says Mark Butwinski, general manager of M&M Distributors.

M&M Distributors delivered Tru Vue’s Optium Acrylic to its long-time customer, Gerlach Frames. Gerlach was contracted by the Museum for this project. Butwinski describes the company as “one of the premier framers” and notes their shared appreciation for Tru Vue’s Optium Acrylic products.

The majority of the exhibit’s framed works, from paintings to charcoal drawings and pastels, use Tru Vue Optium Acrylic Glazing products. In addition to The Actor, the exhibit showcases 34 paintings, 58 drawings, a dozen sculptures and ceramics, and an extensive selection of prints, all acquired by the Museum during the past 60 years. Importantly, the exhibition includes many works on paper by Picasso that have rarely, if ever, been exhibited before at the Metropolitan.

In preparation for this exhibition, all of Picasso's works in the collection have been studied closely, and many have been conserved to reveal the artist's intentions or to restore their physical integrity. There will be video displays that incorporate the Museum's recent research photographs to illustrate how Picasso revised his compositions, styles and themes, while re-working specific paintings.

The exhibition will disclose a number of exciting discoveries made during the research and conservation process. X-rays and infrared reflectography of several Picasso canvases have revealed paintings underneath paintings, bringing to light new information about the artist's working process. For example, Picasso painted The Actor on the back of a previously used canvas, after covering the earlier composition with heavy paint. The picture on the reverse appears to have been a Symbolist landscape painted by another artist. The exhibition will provide more details on the history of this intriguing painting.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art | Pablo Picasso | "The Actor" | Tru Vue | Julie Heath |

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