National Gallery of Art Restores Gilbert Stuart Portraits of Founding Fathers

  • Independent conservator Gay Myers removing the varnish from Gilbert Stuart's Abigail Smith Adams (Mrs.  John Adams), (1800/1815).  National Gallery of Art, Washington, Gift of Mrs.  Robert Homans

    Independent conservator Gay Myers removing the varnish from Gilbert Stuart's Abigail Smith Adams (Mrs. John Adams), (1800/1815). National Gallery of Art, Washington, Gift of Mrs. Robert Homans

The National Gallery of Art's portraits of George Washington and John Adams are among a select group of 16 Federal-era paintings in its collection by American master Gilbert Stuart (1755–1828) that are being conserved.

A team of conservators are removing varnishes that have discolored with age, old retouchings that do not match the original paint, and structural problems such as cracks in the paint.

Discolored varnish removed from Stuart's portraits of John and Abigail Adams, begun in 1800 but not finished until 1815, exposed fresh new detail in the faces and clothing.

"The conservation work to date has resulted in major improvements in the appearance of the paintings and has greatly increased the stability of the paint layers. A wonderful group of historically significant portraits will soon be available for exhibition," said Earl A. Powell III, director, National Gallery of Art.

Several of the newly restored portraits will be unveiled in the installation of Masterpieces of American Furniture from the Kaufman Collection, 1700–1830, opening on October 7, 2012.

More News Feed Headlines

Gustav Klimt, "The Arts, Paradise Choir, and The Embrace (detail of Beethoven Frieze)," 1902.  Casein paint, chalk, graphite, applied plaster, and various appliqué materials, 84.7 x 189.4 in.  (215 x 481 cm).  Oesterreichische Galerie im Belvedere, Vienna, Austria © Belvedere, Vienna

ARTFIXdaily Closed for Maintenance, July 24-28

  • July 23, 2017 23:06

ARTFIXdaily will be closed from July 24 to 28, and the subscriber e-newsletter service will ...

Read More

Image of stolen Francis Bacon works.

3 Stolen Francis Bacon Paintings Recovered by Police in Spain

  • July 20, 2017 13:08

Spanish police announced the recovery of three of five stolen paintings by Francis Bacon on ...

Read More

Michelangelo's Sistine Chapel Ceiling, 1508-12.

New York Man Believes He Owns a Missing Michelangelo

  • July 20, 2017 12:19

A man in New York state thinks he has a painting by Michelangelo that hung for years in his ...

Read More

Odysseus hiding under a ram to escape from the cave of Polyphemus, part of the Torlonia Collection.

Antiquities Dealer Sues Wall Street Journal Over Article on ISIS Link

  • July 18, 2017 12:44

An antiquities dealer has sued the Wall Street Journal over an article linking his family-run art ...

Read More

Related Press Releases

Related Events from ArtfixDaily Calendar

 

ArtfixDaily Artwire