Conservators in the Straus Center for Conservation and Technical Studies are hard at work preparing objects for their big debut in our new building. Take a look at these photos of a 1794 portrait of George Washington by Charles Willson Peale being cleaned and restored by Kate Smith, Projects Conservator in the Paintings Lab. First steps include very patiently removing the varnish using hand-rolled swabs dipped in organic solvent, then removing grime layers and past restoration work that has deteriorated with age. Kate will spend the next few months working her way down to the original painting, which will reveal a worn and hole-ridden surface. Sometimes it has to get worse before it gets better.
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Image: Kate Smith, Projects Conservator in the Paintings Lab, restoring Charles Willson Peale’s portrait of George Washington. Photo: Antoinette Hocbo.