In short video's, we present the work in progress. The work will be accessible as much as possible.


Conservation JARDIN D'ÉMAIL #2

Conservator Susanne Kensche gives an insight to the new drainage system and the purpose of the many holes.


In this video you'll see how the layer of paint has been removed.

Three-dimensional painting

As conservator of modern art at the museum, Susanne Kensche is leading this major project. ‘Jardin d’émail faces a number of fundamental structural problems, the most pressing of which is the poor drainage. But since the outset, maintenance of the work has been challenging and problems arose that were primarily visible in the paint layer. The sculpture should actually be regarded as an edifice, but it is simultaneously a sort of three-dimensional painting.'


'The last large-scale conservation of the work took place in 1988, when mainly the surface layer was addressed. Since then, local repair and cleaning have been carried out occasionally, particularly on the paint layer. But the different layers of paint are again peeling off locally, the underlying concrete has cracks and there are serious problems with moisture in the construction.'

3D scans

'Therefore, in the past two years a (literally) deeper investigation has been conducted into the condition of Jardin d’émail. The hundreds of metres-long drainage system was inspected with a camera, the surface – a relief of 600 m2 – was scanned and documented using a 3D technique, chemical analyses were made of the active substances and a construction-physics study has been carried out. '

First phase: moisture and concrete

'For a structural solution to the moisture problem, the damaged drainage system will be renewed in the initial phase of the conservation work. Because the old pipes are cast in the concrete, a great deal of technical research is required to keep the surface intact as much as possible and to integrate the new drainage system into this existing construction almost invisibly. Furthermore, the concrete needs to be repaired thoroughly, hollow spaces and cracks have to be stabilized. The shotcrete in particular is in a bad condition. The greatest challenge hereby is to preserve the original form of the relief.'

Second phase: paint layer

'The following phase of the conservation work consists of the renewal of the paint layer. With the current knowledge of durable paint systems, it is possible to apply a more solid layer on top of the work. It is important to preserve the original intention of the artist. '

Protecting tent

The work is currently covered by a protecting tent and therefore not on view. The entire conservation work must be completed by spring 2020.

Dubufet tent

Cooperation with Fondation Dubuffet

'In previous repaints, the original black lines were not maintained throughout. Therefore, in the coming conservation we will be working closely with the Fondation Dubuffet in Paris and with Dubuffet’s assistant, who painted the black lines on Jardin d’émail in 1974.’


Adopt one or more pieces of Jardin d'émail by making a one-time donation of € 5,000 or five donations of € 1,000 per year. With this adoption, you acquire the status of Bronze Backer of the Helene Kröller-Müller Fund.

Are you interested? Please contact our assistant fund manager Daniëlle van Stralen. You can reach her by calling +31 (0)318 591241 or by sending an e-mail to

One-time donation?

Smaller contributions are also welcome. Deposit your contribution in the IBAN account number NL64ABNA0512958300 of Stichting Helene Kröller-Müller Fonds in Otterlo, with reference to Jardin d’émail.


The investigation of the condition of Jardin d’émail and the technical research was made possible by the Turing Foundation and the Helene Kröller-Müller Fund.



Images: images of Jardin d'émail by visitors Janne Stoop, Babette Cooijmans and Sarah van Veldhuizen / Jean Dubuffet, Jardin d'émail, photo Ede vanuit de lucht (©RoVorm Uitgevers) / cracks in the paint layer / 3D scanning / test drilling in the concrete / application of the original lines in 1974 (©Fondation Dubuffet)