The magazine of the Palm Beach County Historical Society, The Tustenegee, has published an article featuring a painting titled "Everglades" by the artist Joseph Jefferson, which was treated at South Florida Art Conservation.
The surface of the painting had an old layer of varnish that was hiding the original colors. The natural resins present in the varnish oxidized with age, significantly changing the appearance of the colors and creating a yellowish monochromatic look. The conservation treatment consisted in the cleaning of the surface and the removal of the varnish. After a series of tests, it was meticulously done using the appropriate mixtures of solvents with no harm to the original paint layer. As a final step, the painting was re-varnished, this time using a modern low molecular weight varnish based on a synthetic resin that will provide better color stability and protection in the future. In conclusion, it was a reasonably straightforward procedure that improves significantly the way we can now look at the original work of Joseph Jefferson.
Did you know that the Historical Society of Palm Beach County has an Adopt-an-Artifact program? Donors can help by sponsoring an artifact that needs to be conserved. The article is one recent story of the adoption of a painting.
You can find the article here