Exhibitions: John Singer Sargent Watercolors

IN CONVERSATION

Our visitors respond to this 30-second video.

  • How do you store these when not on display? In frames and mats? Flat? In plastic?
    Thanks
    Ruth westfall

    — Ruth

    Toni Owen Senior Paper Conservator replied

    Thank you for your question, Ruth. We store the watercolors in their mats with acid-free paper slip sheets. These are then stored flat in archival boxes. The frames are stored separately.

  • Hi
    What is the difference, if any, between opaque paint and gouche

    — Lisa

    Toni Owen Senior Paper Conservator replied

    Lisa,
    The only difference really is that opaque is a general term while gouache is a specific term. Some commercially prepared colors are sold under the name "gouache". However an artist could use watercolor mixed with zinc white to create his/her own opaque paint. So unless one is certain the artist bought the commercially prepared tube called "gouache" it is better to describe the paint as opaque.

  • Did you repair some of. His paintings?

    — David Luisa Therese/

    Toni Owen Senior Paper Conservator replied

    Thank you for your question. Yes. One of the greatest conservation concerns with Sargent’s watercolors are the areas of very high, thick paint (impasto). Thickly applied watercolor can develop large and small cracks caused by the evaporation of water. Over time the cracked paint can become loose and is in danger of detaching. Using a microscope, all areas of impasto were checked for stability and where loose paint chips were detected, they were treated with a small amount of adhesive inserted beneath the chip to secure it. Two examples of this are "Gourds" and "La Riva."