N.C. Wyeth Painting 

Dickinson College

HISTORIC OVERVIEW

After TreatmentN.C. Wyeth, short for Newell Convers Wyeth, was an American artist born on October 22, 1882 in Needham Massachusetts. He was known for his realist paintings and illustrations and was considered, by many, to be a melodramatic artist, meaning his artwork was designed to be understood quickly. Wyeth studied at several institutions including: Mechanics Art School to learn drafting, the Massachusetts Normal Arts School and the Eric Pape School of Art to learn illustration, and Howard Pyle’s School of Art. At age 21, Wyeth was commissioned to illustrate for The Saturday Evening Post—an incredible accomplishment for someone of that age. During the remainder of his career as an artist, Wyeth created 3,000 paintings and illustrated 112 books. Perhaps one of his most celebrated accomplishments was his illustrations for the classic books: Treasure Island and Robinson Crusoe.


PRE-TREATMENT CONDITION

Before Treatment - Frame RemovedThis still life piece by N.C. Wyeth, was delivered to the studios of B.R. Howard & Associates by Dickinson College, Carlisle, PA for an analysis of its condition and proposal for potential treatment. After it was extensively photo documented and inspected, it was determined that the painting was executed atop a water soluble gesso which had been applied to a masonite substrate. The piece was in stable condition overall; however, some areas of abrasions and loss were noted. Also, a colored accretion was detected that measured approximately one inch in diameter. Lastly, a layer of grime, believed to be nicotine residue, covered the complete surface of the painting. A detailed report illustrating these findings was issued to the curator of the college.

 

TREATMENT

Old glue on SurfaceWith permission given by Dickinson College to proceed with treatment, the painting was carefully removed from its frame. The surface of the painting was then cleaned using soft cotton tipped swabs moistened with a specialized cleaning solution in de-ionized water. The accretion was also reduced and removed using another specifically designed cleaning solution—diluted for this application. The painting was then cleared of any residual cleaning solutions and an isolation barrier was applied using a clear, non-yellowing isolation varnish. The minor scrapes and abrasions on the painting’s surface were filled using specific reversible putty designed for this type of application. These areas were then toned and in-painted using a reversible resin-based palette. A final layer of protective varnish was then applied atop the entire surface of the painting. The piece was then returned to its original frame. Once complete, B.R. Howard & Associates created a treatment report including extensive photo documentation of before, during, and after treatment images. The report and the painting were then returned to Dickinson College.

 


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