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Thursday, May 30 • 2:30pm - 3:00pm
(Paintings + Research and Technical Studies) Gessoes: Porosity and the Effects of Capillary Action

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Gessoes are a wide class of materials used in the surface preparation of art works. Traditionally the term refers to a white pigment, such as calcium carbonate or calcium sulfate, bound with an adhesive, such as hide glue. For modern artworks, however, the definition has expanded to include many materials that are compositionally very different but designed for the same purpose; that is, to prepare the surface for further work such as painting or gilding. In the field of paintings, gessoes are widely used, both by artists to prepare the support structure of the works and by conservators who commonly use gessoes to fill losses in the pictorial layer.

By their nature, gessoes facilitate the diffusion of fluids by capillary action. The diffusion characteristics of a material can affect many properties, including longevity, removal, and handling. More specifically in the conservation field, liquid diffusion can also cause components found within layers to migrate, which may result in the disruption of the pictorial layer. Such properties may also influence specific treatments, such as inpainting, in this way affecting the final appearance of the work of art.

This paper reports the measurement of the rate of diffusion of common cleaning solvents and inpainting media by attenuated total reflection - Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (ATR-FTIR) for a variety of commercially and lab-prepared gessoes. This includes materials based upon acrylic polymer emulsions, as well as those based on a traditional hide glue binder.

Speakers
MD

Michael Doutre

Research Technologist, Queen's University
Michael Doutre entered the field of art conservation during his thesis for a Bachelor of Science in chemistry from Queen's University in Kingston, Ontario, Canada. After finishing his studies he began working as a research technologist in the Conservation Science Laboratory of the Art Conservation Program at Queen’s University, focusing on the chemical and physical behavior of gessoes. His research interests include instrumental chemical... Read More →
AA

Ashley A. Freeman

Managing Collection Environments, Getty Conservation Institute
AM

Alison Murray

Professor, Conservation Science, Queen's University, Art Conservation Program
HF

H. F. Shurvell

Adjunct Professor, Queen's University, Art Conservation Program
Emeritus professor of chemistry, Adjunct professor, Art Conservation program, | Infrared and XRF analysis


Thursday May 30, 2013 2:30pm - 3:00pm
JW Marriott White River Ballroom F 10 S West St Indianapolis, IN 46204

Attendees (35)