Restoring a Punched Monet Painting
January 23, 2015 11:29 AM   Subscribe

Three years ago, a man punched a hole in a Monet painting as it hung in Ireland's National Gallery. Conservationists have restored it. This is their story.

A summary of their story for the faint of heart.
posted by cmchap (21 comments total) 22 users marked this as a favorite
 


The thing that impressed me about the Gizmodo link (the "summary") is that the restoration they did is designed to be undone, in case any future restoration technology comes along that is even better.

I'll also add a tangent that the way this was phrased just cried out for a sound effect:
a man punched a hole in a Monet painting as it hung in Ireland's National Gallery. Conservationists have restored it. This is their story.

CHUNG CHUNG
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 11:37 AM on January 23, 2015 [6 favorites]




The thing that impressed me about the Gizmodo link (the "summary") is that the restoration they did is designed to be undone
I'll go out on a limb here and say that all good restoration work is designed to be undone. Part of what made the recent epoxying of King Tut's mask's beard so terrible is that epoxy is not considered a reversible adhesive.
posted by cmchap at 11:40 AM on January 23, 2015 [3 favorites]


I dunno, that painting might've been punched for a reason.
posted by curious nu at 11:44 AM on January 23, 2015


that the restoration they did is designed to be undone, in case any future restoration technology comes along that is even better.

also to avoid future "damn Victorians kept painting cloth and leaves over crotches" thing.
posted by The Whelk at 11:53 AM on January 23, 2015 [2 favorites]


I'll go out on a limb here and say that all good restoration work is designed to be undone.

It's a pretty basic ethical tenet in conservation -- complete reversibility isn't always possible (or desirable!), but in 99% of all cases one should aim for it. (This is especially important when it comes to picking materials that might be reversible now, but not in twenty, thirty, fifty years.)
posted by kalimac at 12:00 PM on January 23, 2015 [2 favorites]


TRY IT YOURSELF!

I just can't bring myself to do it.

No, really I can't. There's something wrong with my keyboard.
posted by SpacemanStix at 12:03 PM on January 23, 2015 [1 favorite]


My 5 year old nephew slapped a Picasso at Moma does that count?
posted by srboisvert at 12:10 PM on January 23, 2015 [1 favorite]


My 5 year old nephew slapped a Picasso at Moma does that count?

Only if it was Paloma.
posted by Etrigan at 12:23 PM on January 23, 2015 [2 favorites]


I had a professor who did a lot of restoration on consignment. Tedious doesn't even begin to describe the process. One piece she let me examine at close hand was an Egyptian funerary encaustic portrait from sometime around the 1st century AD. The wood it was painted on was falling apart and couldn't be stabilized so she was removing the painting as a single piece. Daily progress was measured in mm. Way too tedious for me.

The painting itself was spooky. The sarcophagi for commoners were mass produced with a rectangular opening for an individual portrait. Encaustic painting uses pigment suspended in hot wax. It is never totally opaque and has an almost flesh-like quality in some instances. Very strange to be staring closely into the fleshy visage of a 2000 year old corpse...
posted by jim in austin at 12:40 PM on January 23, 2015 [1 favorite]


This is an amazing story! Thank you for posting those links; I found it fascinating, especially the restoration efforts.
posted by Lynsey at 12:42 PM on January 23, 2015


Yeah, I do book & document conservation, and reversibility is one of the basic tenets of any good practice.
posted by Shadan7 at 12:43 PM on January 23, 2015 [3 favorites]


Part of what made the recent epoxying of King Tut's mask's beard so terrible is that epoxy is not considered a reversible adhesive.

That should be a crime.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 12:49 PM on January 23, 2015


That was a terrific series. I love art restorers. In the long run they're fighting an inevitably losing battle against entropy, of course, but it really is wonderful what they can do.
posted by yoink at 1:18 PM on January 23, 2015


Three years ago, a man punched a hole in a Monet painting as it hung in Ireland's National Gallery.

I'm not a professional museum stuff arranger/hanger. In fact, I use a combination of sticky tack and random nails I find around the place to hang stuff. But I'm of the mindset that if you just put a block of wood/stone/whatever that is the same size as the painting, in back of the painting, people won't be able to punch a hole in it.

Why is that not done? I would have thought that was the first thing people do so paintings don't become a huge target for rocks, other projectiles and fists. Otherwise, its about as stable as a paper

"Go ahead, punch the painting, you monetfucker. You might get some paint on your hand, but claude will hurt you"
posted by hal_c_on at 1:21 PM on January 23, 2015 [1 favorite]


Nice idea hal_c_on, but you can't Andrew-fucking-Shannon-proof every painting. Andrew Fucking Shannon walked into the National Gallery with a can of Nitromores paint stripper. He'd obviously had bigger plans, which thankfully didn't work out. I'd feel some level of sympathy if he was mentally ill, but as far as I'm aware he's not. Andrew Fucking Shannon is just an asshole. Andrew Fucking Shannon is an asshole who felt aggrieved by the state so took it out on a painting by punching it. Asshole.
posted by Elmore at 1:49 PM on January 23, 2015


Glad I got that off my chest.
posted by Elmore at 1:50 PM on January 23, 2015 [1 favorite]


A friend of mine attacked a Mondrian once. It did him a world of good.
posted by twirlip at 2:13 PM on January 23, 2015


For all that this presentation spends a lot of time talking about special tools and techniques, they appear to be putting the canvas back onto the frame using whatever pins and thumbtacks they could scrounge out of the dusty corners of their desk drawers.
posted by Adridne at 2:31 PM on January 23, 2015


An acquaintance of mine, an artist himself, once had the pleasure of observing, at a gallery opening of his work, a drunken art critic puke on one of his paintings. Of course, vomit can be washed off a canvas but oh, the ignominy.
posted by Rash at 2:55 PM on January 23, 2015 [1 favorite]


« Older Foot push at 50 seconds... 🐈   |   Maura is a “she.” It’s one of the central points... Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments