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MITRA Forum Question Details

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  • Detaching textile from panel if glued using acrylic polymer emulsionApproveRejectUn-ApproveSubscribeUn-Unsubscribe
    Question asked 2017-04-27 07:01:42 ... Most recent comment 2017-04-28 21:17:05
    Rigid Supports

    ​Dear moderator

    Could you please advise how one might go about removing a painting done on linen from a panel (to which it has been adhered using acrylic medium) in the event that the panel has proven to be an unsuitable support or become damaged in some way? Or simply because the painting done originally didn't work out and one wants to glue a new piece of linen to the panel? I have tried removing linen from panel under the latter circumstances (when the painting didn't work out and was destined for the rubbish bin) , simply by pulling it off but found it virtually impossible. What solvents might a conservator use to achieve detachment in the event of a painting that needs to be saved?

Answers and Comments

  • EditDeleteModerator Answer

    Well sorry to say that there is no ONE way to go about doing depends entirely on the work of art, the exact acrylic emulsion, and the strength of the bond. All of these things have to be weighed carefully which is why trained conservators must do extensive testing each time to get a sense of what can be used that is safest for the artwork. Therefore our advice in this case is to simply consult with a trained conservator. They may be able to do the testing with you and then walk you through a potential treatment scenario that you can then carry out yourself. But without doing these tests and examining the paintings ourselves it is really impossible to give a "recipe" here...things could range from solvent-based to aqueous-based, getting very, very complicated (e.g. ph-balanced emulsions with chelators and buffering agents....well you get the idea).

    Kristin deGhetaldi
    2017-04-27 10:38:33
  • ApproveRejectUn-ApproveUser Comment

    ​Thanks Kristen. I suspected it would not be a simple or straightforward procedure. Given this complexity it would seem that artists should be very sure of their panel substrate before using such an adhesive; one that Gottsegan described as essentially--from the artist's point of view--irreversible--at least for an artist who doesn't have access to the advice of a conservator. In the absence of a reasonable degree of certainty about the substrate perhaps it makes more sense to use a reversible adhesive, rather than wed one's hard-won painting to an "unknown quantity" so to speak? 

    2017-04-27 22:31:21
  • EditDeleteModerator Answer

    Yes indeed and we agree with Mark Gottsegen's thoughts on this as well. While one can certainly use an acrylic medium and/or a pH-neutral PVA adhesive, BEVA is still probably your best bet as far as reversibility goes if you are going to adhere your painting to a rigid support. We have instructions on how to prepare your canvas in this manner in our Resources section in the "Rigid Supports" should you be interested.​

    Kristin deGhetaldi
    2017-04-28 01:23:24
  • ApproveRejectUn-ApproveUser Comment

    ​Thanks Kristin.

    2017-04-28 21:17:05

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  • The Department of Art Conservation
  • 303 Old College
  • University of Delaware
  • Newark, DE 19716, USA
  • Phone: 302-831-3489