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In the Lab: Restoring George Washington

Conservators in the Straus Center for Conservation and Technical Studies are hard at work preparing objects for their big debut in our new building. Take a look at these photos of a 1794 portrait of George Washington by Charles Willson Peale being cleaned and restored by Kate Smith, Project Paintings Conservator in the Straus Center. First steps include very patiently removing the varnish using hand-rolled swabs dipped in organic solvent, then removing grime layers and past restoration work that has deteriorated with age. Kate has been working her way down to the original painting, revealing a worn and hole-ridden surface. Sometimes it has to get worse before it gets better.

Follow the photo story of George’s facelift on Flickr

Have questions for our conservators? Post them here.

Caption

  • 01 Kate Smith, Project Paintings Conservator in the Straus Center for Conservation and Technical Studies, restores Charles Willson Peale’s portrait of George Washington. Photo: Antoinette Hocbo.

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