Date of Award


Access Control

Open Access

Degree Name

Art Conservation, M.A., C.A.S.


Art Conservation Department


Fiona Beckett

Department Home page

First Reader

Rebecca Ploeger

Second Reader

Aaron Shugar

Third Reader

Jiuan Jiuan Chen


A severely damaged 19th-century oil painting depicting a portrait of a woman was treated at Patricia H. and E. Garman Art Conservation Department. A typed letter provided by the owner mentioned that it has been previously restored yet returned with unsatisfactory results. After further examination, the painting appeared to have been previously treated multiple times by different people. There was overpaint distinctly present on the face and later discovered to be present overall. The full state of condition of the painting was initially unknown due to the sum of the surface being overpainted. However, there were evidence of paint loss and abrasions in areas where the overpaint was previously removed. The main goal of the treatment was to determine a suitable conservation method to safely remove/reduce the extensive overpaint without disturbing the original painting underneath. Scientific materials analysis including cross-section analysis, M-transmission Fourier transform infrared (FTIR) microscopy, and x-ray fluorescence (XRF) and multimodal imaging was used to identifying the materials present in the artwork, differentiate the original paint layers from overpaint and help guide the overpaint removal. Historical research was conducted to provide additional context surrounding the woman in the portrait. The treatment was successful and the artwork is now in stable structural condition and improved aesthetical condition.