Cloud shepherd is now somewhat darker in colour and has a slightly matte surface. Art-historical research ultimately revealed that the original appearance was actually quite different than how most visitors have known it for years.

Matte instead of shiny

By leaving the sculpture outside under a tent for a considerable time, the surface colour has become darker in the most natural and controlled way possible. At the moment when the surface had enough colour, I sealed it with a protective layer of varnish. This ensures that the surface will maintain this colour.

The research also revealed that the sculpture was not intended to be very shiny. For that reason, a matte varnish was used. This gives the surface precisely the desired satin finish.

The search for the correct appearance and treatment options has been long, interesting and intensive, but the result makes it all worthwhile! A successful conservation with exactly the right amount of colour and sheen. And… as close as possible to the appearance that Jean Arp intended.

Vera Bakker
metal conservator
June 2019