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

Portrait of Anne Vallayer-Coster, by Alexander Roslin 1783.  Now part of the Crocker Art Museum collections.

Crocker Art Museum Acquires Portrait of 18th-c. French Artist Anne Vallayer-Coster

  • August 27, 2015 12:04

Among 400 new acquisitions last year to the Crocker Art Museum collections is a significant ...

Read More

Mark Rothko’s No.  6 (Violet, Green and Red)

Singapore Unfreezes Assets of Sued Art Dealer Yves Bouvier

  • August 25, 2015 22:48

In an August 21 order, the Singapore High Court  lifted a freeze on the assets of the Swiss "king ...

Read More

Still from footage of the boy breaking a Paolo Porpora floral still-life.  Via YouTube

Museum Mishaps: Kids Accidentally Break Baroque Painting, 2,000-Year-Old Vase in Separate Incidents

  • August 25, 2015 22:48

Two kids had their worst museum visits ever this week. A 12-year-old boy on a school field trip ...

Read More

250-lb.Red Ball on the loose.  Via Instagram user Jeremy 419

Giant Red Ball Rolls Away From Toledo Museum of Art Installation

  • August 24, 2015 22:00

A 15-foot-tall, 250-pound inflated ball, sponsored by the Toledo Museum of Art, broke free of ...

Read More

Related Press Releases

Related Events from ArtfixDaily Calendar

ArtfixDaily Artwire