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Picnic in the Woods, Robinson, France No. 2

Not on view

Picnic in the Woods, Robinson, France No. 2

Artist: George B. Luks (American, 1867 - 1933)

Date: 1902
Medium: Oil on hardwood panel
Overall: 6 x 8 5/8in. (15.2 x 21.9cm)
Framed: 12 x 14 1/2in. (30.5 x 36.8cm)
Signed: Signed verso (black paint): Picnic in the Wood / Robinson-France / George B. Luks / 19 On Back, large 19. Written between lines of title 'Picnic - Robinson - France/by Geo. B. Luks'.
Inscribed: Inscribed verso (black ink, in another hand, possibly Mrs. Luks): Picnic-Robinson-France / by Geo. B. Luks
Credit Line: Edward W. Root Bequest
Object number: 57.187
Label Text
A Note About the Condition of this Picture

Why does this picture and the nine other related oil sketches in the Museum's collection (57.177-82; 57.185-88), which Luks painted in Paris and its environs in 1902, look dark? Around 2002-03 the Museum's curatorial staff considered having one or more of them cleaned. Conservators at the Westlake Conservation Studio in Skaneateles, N.Y. took microscopic samples of the paint and varnish layers from two of the works (see the relevant conservation report in the Museum's curatorial files) to determine the safest and most effective way this could be done. Scientific examination of these samples indicated that Luks mixed dark pigments with his varnish. This practice, while commonplace among artists, creates a quandary for the conservator, for if the varnish layer is removed in an effort to make the picture brighter, the result will not be what the artist originally intended. Another reason the paintings appear dark is because the pigments, binders, and additives that Luks used have a natural tendency to darken over time, a process that cannot be reversed. Laboratory examination of the pictures has also revealed that Luks only applied a protective varnish layer to certain parts of the surface of each of the pictures. It is unclear why he did this. Until more is known about Luks' working methods, the chemical and physical properties of his pictures, and how comparable pictures by Luks were successful cleaned, it seemed prudent that no attempt be made to "brighten" these beautifully painted and historically important works.


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