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MITRA Forum Question Details

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  • Robert VickeryApproveRejectUn-ApproveSubscribeUn-Unsubscribe
    Question asked 2018-11-01 15:40:25 ... Most recent comment 2018-11-01 15:29:00
    Varnishes Acrylic Art Conservation Topics

    ​I have a question about those paintings from artist Robert Vickery , that were done with acrylics. I have read that he used Liquitex colors, but what i am really interested is does anyone know with what type of varnish did he varnish those acrylic paintings, how those paintings look today? And are conservators able to remove this varnish and to clean the paintings without harming the acrylic beneath? 

    Thank you!

    Marko Karadjinovic

Answers and Comments

  • EditDeleteModerator Answer

    ​We will put some feelers out to our conservation colleagues....but in the meantime realize that his works are still quite "new." Paintings typically do not require cleaning or even varnish removal for several decades after they have been completed (and even longer in other cases). However, if a painting is not well cared for that is an entirely different discussion. Also...would you mind providing us with a couple of examples involving Vikery's acrylic works? From our abbreviated research it seems he was mostly focused on egg tempera. But if you are able to provide examples of his acyrlic works that are in public collections, perhaps we can reach out to the conservators who are the stewards for those museums.

    Kristin deGhetaldi
    2018-11-05 02:36:33
  • ApproveRejectUn-ApproveUser Comment

    Hi Marko,


    I've been looking into your interesting question and finally have some information.  


    Robert Vickrey had a very long-standing relationship with Tree's Place, a gallery in Orleans, MA (on Cape Cod), which is also where Vickrey lived. The gallery director at the time, Alison Collins (who has since left and started her own gallery, "Collin's Gallery", also on the Cape) worked with Vickrey for many years.  Tree's Place began representing my work in 2006, and Vickrey and I showed together before his death in 2011.  I asked Alison your question, and here is her reply:


    "It could have been Liquitex because Cape Photo and Art sold Liquitex in Orleans….I don't know about conservators working on his acrylic or oils at this time. I've only heard of the egg tempera paintings needing attention for minor humid in these parts! On a side note he would often paint in acrylic and oil typically when submitting paintings to the American Watercolor Society because works had to be submitted on paper."


    Alison said she'll contact Scott, Vickrey's son, to see if he knows more.  She also suggested I contact William Meek at Harmon Meek Gallery in Naples, FL (where Vickrey spent winters); he and Meek worked together for a very long time and were close; Meeks owns many of his paintings and has been responsible for coordinating museum shows of Vickrey's work.  I wrote Meek and got this reply:


    "Vickrey seldom used acrylic as a substitute for egg tempera. During the mid 1980's he painted a series of works of NYC windows and Staten Island Ferry window reflections. These were all done in a fast drying alkyd oil. We have an acrylic painting on resale now but I am not sure if he used any varnish over the paint surface."


    Mr. Meeks suggested I contact Vickrey's conservator in Naples, Tom Wagner, which I did.  Tom is an independent conservator who mostly works on old master paintings but was friends with Vickrey and worked often on his paintings.  He's never seen any Vickrey acrylics, just egg tempera.  I asked him if Vickrey ever varnished his temperas and Tom said that, at Vickrey's request, he varnished all his egg temperas for him; Vickrey preferred the even finish a varnish imparted and the protection.  Tom said he uses a very dilute mix of damar, just one layer brushed on.  He continues to get occasional Vickrey paintings to work on, although not nearly as many as he used to as when Vickrey was alive, obviously.   The most common problem he sees is mildew which, if not removed, eats away at the egg tempera.   


    I'll let you know if I learn anything more.


    Koo Schadler

    2018-11-07 18:08:28
  • EditDeleteModerator Answer

    ​Thanks so much for following up on this Koo. It does seem as if he primarily worked in tempera (at least from our research efforts).

    Kristin deGhetaldi
    2018-11-08 06:15:53
  • ApproveRejectUn-ApproveUser Comment

    ​Thank you Kristin and Koo for the effort and all those answers! I am very gratefull for all the info i have got!  

    This is the site where i have read about Vickreys acrylic technique. The site is called "underpaintings" , and it is about him and his acrylic technique. I think when  it gets to acrylic technique and painting stages, are actually his own words, where he describes the process and which paint brand, colors did he use. At the part where his acrylic color palette is described, it is written Vickrey's Egg Tempera Palette, but i assume it is so because above it was written that his egg tempera palette was almost the same as his acrylic palette. But , when we continue to read this, at get to the final version of this painting, the title is "Wings" by Robert Vickrey , size : 30 x 20 inches and technique : Acrylic 

    This is the site with the topic "Robert Vickrey on Acrylic" :

    Kind regards to all and thank you once more! 

    Marko Karadjinovic

    2018-11-10 18:13:08
  • EditDeleteModerator Answer

    ​After looking at this website it looks as if the one text mentioned towards the end of the article may be your best resource to date on his acrylic painting technique. I have looked into the public institutions which harbor his works and they are all egg tempera which means that my conservator colleagues will not be able to help answer your question.

    Kristin deGhetaldi
    2018-11-10 23:08:45
  • ApproveRejectUn-ApproveUser Comment

    ​Thank you very much! 

    2018-11-13 19:05:23

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