Les Demoiselles d'Avignon: Conserving a Modern Masterpiece MoMA.org Les Demoiselles d'Avignon: Conserving a Modern Masterpiece Back
Pablo Picasso. Les Demoiselles d'Avignon. 1907.

Varnish Removal

The 1950 overall varnish has both discolored and diminished intentional gloss differences across the surface of the painting.


Pictured above:
Pablo Picasso. Les Demoiselles d'Avignon. 1907. Oil on canvas, 8' x 7' 8" (243.9 x 233.7 cm). Acquired through the Lillie P. Bliss Bequest. © 2003 Estate of Pablo Picasso/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

Fig. 1-Example of varnish removal

Fig. 1

Passage with the varnish removed. The matte appearance of the brown paint has been restored and the whites and blues have regained their original, cooler tonality.

 
Fig. 2- example of varnish removal-close-up

Fig. 2

Detail of Fig. 1.

 
Fig. 3-example of varnish removal

Fig. 3

Removal of varnish in a white area reestablishes a cool tonality and more subtle variation of color across the entire passage.

 
Copyright 2003 The Museum of Modern Art