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Treatment and Analysis of a Paint Chip from "Water Lilies": A Fire Damaged MonetA museum fire in 1958 severely damaged a Monet 'Water Lilies' (1916-1926) painting that was on display. The surface of the painting is very dark with areas of blistering and charring. Over the years, traditional techniques have been found to be ineffective at removal of the soot and char from the surface. The painting, which is now in the care of the New York University (NYU) Conservation Center of the Institute of Fine Arts, was the subject of a study to determine if atomic oxygen treatment could remove the soot and char without damaging the fragile painting underneath. For test purposes, a small chip of paint was removed from the edge of the painting by a conservator at NYU and supplied to NASA Glenn Research Center for atomic oxygen treatment and analysis. The diffuse spectral reflectance, at three locations on the paint chip, was monitored at intervals during the atomic oxygen treatment process. Photo documentation of the chip during treatment was also performed. The color contrast was calculated from the spectral reflectance data as a function of treatment duration. Results of the testing indicated that the contrast improved as a result of the treatment, and the differentiation of colors on the surface was significantly improved. Soot and char could be removed without visibly affecting the gross surface features such as impasto areas. These results indicate the feasibility for the treatment of the 'Water Lilies' painting.
Document ID
Document Type
Technical Memorandum (TM)
Miller, Sharon K. R.
(NASA Glenn Research Center Cleveland, OH United States)
Banks, Bruce A.
(NASA Glenn Research Center Cleveland, OH United States)
Tollis, Greg
(Cleveland State Univ. Cleveland, OH United States)
Date Acquired
September 7, 2013
Publication Date
December 1, 2001
Subject Category
Nonmetallic Materials
Report/Patent Number
NAS 1.15:211326
Meeting Information
2001 Fall Meeting(Boston, MA)
Funding Number(s)
Distribution Limits
Public Use Permitted.

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