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After an oil painting was stored in climate controlled facility for 8 years, yellow patches appeared in areas of the painting. The medium was alkyd based like Winsor Newton Oleopasto. The painting was stored in styrofoam and corrugated cardboard. Was there off gassing of the storage materials causing some yellow passages? Or, the effects of total darkness? Is there a way to correct without removing varnish and paint layers?
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I am not an expert in preventive conservation, housing, or
storage but my gut instinct is that the darkening is a result of dark aging or
too much binder, or a combination of the two. However, before suggesting
anything, I have forwarded your question to a moderator more knowledgeable
about those subjects. I may be off the mark on this.
Here is a response from Hugh Phibbs
to ligenous cardboard can produce a number of pollutants, peroxides and
acids, most prominently, and these oxidants could interact with the
chemistry, of the paint, but we have seen so many factors enter into
instability of paints, that it is hard to point to anything in the
storage materials, in particular. Styrene monomer has long been
suspected as a change agent in preservation setting, but the research is
scant. What may be safest to say is that this is an oxidation reaction
and that the storage setting did little to inhibit oxidation.
As to what you can do, and if the work does not contain any light sensitive or fugative colors, put the painting in a place that receives indirect sunlight for a week or so (not directly in the sun unless that is only far a very, very short period of time) and see if some of the yellow cannot be bleached out. If you see some beneficial but incomplete effect, try another week.