PAinT - Paint Alterations in Time


Piet Mondriaan, 1909


Oil on canvas - Gemeentemuseum, Den Haag

Numerous pits/cavities are observed in the surface of the yellow cadmium paint in Seascape. Some of these pits are open craters that reveal a crumbly paint underneath. The binding medium of the cadmium yellow paint seems to have degraded completely.

The research on Seascape is carried out in parallel to research on Mondrian's Evolution. The surface of the cadmium yellow paint in Evolution appears very deformed: the paint has lifted, forming tunnel-like structures. These structures are not filled with paint material. Some of them have collapsed and a crumbly paint is found underneath.

Cadmium oil paint in both paintings shows itself in different ways. The questions posed here are: What is the current physical and chemical state of cadmium yellow paint in both paintings, what degradation stage are present, what causes the differences in degradation phenomena, how to treat such paintings safely, and what are the best conditions for display and storage? Previous research has focussed on the analyses of the cadmium degradation products [Leone 2005; Van der Schnickt].

20 September 2012