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

Andy Warhol’s 1962 “One Dollar Bill (Silver Certificate)” fetched 20.9 million pounds ($32.6 million).

Sotheby's Sells Warhol $1 Dollar Bill for $32.8 Million

  • July 01, 2015 15:25

Andy Warhol once said, “I like money on the wall." The Pop artist would likely be pleased that ...

Read More

‘Artists Unframed: Snapshots from the Archives of American Art’ by Merry A.  Foresta, published by Princeton Architectural Press 2015

'Artists Unframed' Gives Intimate Snapshots of 20th-Century Artists' Lives

  • July 01, 2015 12:44

Artists Unframed: Snapshots from the Smithsonian’s Archives of American Art by independent ...

Read More

Video still of ISIS militants destroying statues at the Mosul Museum.

Islamic State Sells Looted Antiquities Online

  • July 01, 2015 00:03

Islamic State in Iraq and Syria is selling looted antiquities through eBay, Whatsapp, and ...

Read More

Winslow Homer's Milking Time

Delaware Art Museum Sells Works by Homer, Wyeth

  • June 29, 2015 23:12

The Board of Trustees of the Delaware Art Museum announced Monday the private sales of Arthur ...

Read More

Related Press Releases

Related Events from ArtfixDaily Calendar

ArtfixDaily Artwire