Conservation painting Van Rysselberghe

Throughout the summer of 2012, conservation treatment was carried out on the painting Per Kiridic rock near Roscoff in Bretagne by the painter Théo Van Rysselberghe (1862 – 1926). The painting can be seen in the new presentation of the collection.

The work was painted during the artist’s honeymoon in Bretagne in 1899. It had a shiny varnish layer that had turned yellow with age. Due to the gloss of the varnish, the two seams in the painting, which consists of three pieces of linen joined together, were visually very distracting. Thus, the majority of the conservation treatment involved the removal of the varnish, whereby the light and vivid colours of Van Rysselberghe’s brushstrokes became visible once again.

The painting during varnish removal

The seams are far less distracting after the varnish removal. They will never be entirely invisible, but that is not the intention, as they form an important part of the process by which the painting was created. Because it is known that Van Rysselberghe left his paintings unvarnished, the conservator has chosen not to apply a new layer of varnish. A few small lacunas along the two seams were filled and retouched.