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

Jiuan Jiuan Chen

Second Reader

Dr. Rebecca Ploeger

Third Reader

Dr. Aaron Shugar


This Master’s Project is a multidisciplinary technical study and conservation treatment of Portrait of a Boy, a 19th century oil painting on canvas and thought to be an example of the American Folk Art movement. Research into Folk Art traditions was executed to inform the context of the artwork. Comprehensive imaging and scientific analyses provided additional historical and material context for the painting. The painting was imaged with the following techniques: visible illumination, ultraviolet (UV) reflectography, ultraviolet-induced visible fluorescence, infrared reflectography, visible-induced infrared (IR) luminescence, x-radiography, and multispectral imaging (MSI). Scientific and materials analyses included: optical microscopy of fiber and paint cross-section samples, x-ray fluorescence spectroscopy (XRF), Fouriertransform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR), and pyrolysis gas chromatography-mass spectroscopy (Py-GCMS). The historical and technical research informed an extensive treatment of the painting, including varnish removal, tear repair, lining, and inpainting. The conservation treatment was successful and resulted in a stabilized painting that more accurately depicts the sitter as well as preserves the painting's materials and composition.