Tạ Tỵ’s Cubist masterpiece completed

by Bettina Ebert

Aug 08, 2012

About a year ago, I reported on the cleaning of a cubist masterpiece by Tạ Tỵ. The painting The Guitar was covered in a large amount of overpaint, which took a long time to remove.

It was only after overpaint and dirt removal that the full extent of damage and paint loss was visible. It was obvious that while the painting was damaged in some areas, with localised loss of the original paint, a lot of the overpaint had actually covered original paint that was in good condition.

Overpaint removal in blue area

These images show some of the original paint as revealed during overpaint removal. In particular, it was astounding how much of the painting had been covered in overpaint, just to disguise several comparatively small areas of damage.

Overpaint removal

In other cases, overpaint had been applied directly onto the bare canvas to hide paint loss. This was particularly disturbing in the bottom left corner, where a large section of paint was missing.

 

Overpaint at corner

Dirt removal also significantly improved the appearance of the painting, with the colours appearing brighter.

During dirt removal

Once the majority of overpaint and dirt had been removed, the areas of paint loss were filled with a white inert filling material in preparation for inpainting. The filler was carved and textured to replicate the surface texture of the original adjoining paint areas.

 

The painting after filling

Inpainting and retouching was undertaken with pigments bound in a synthetic resin. The completed painting can now be fully enjoyed in a state more in keeping with how the artist had originally intended it to look.

The painting after treatment

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