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Friederike E. A. O’Connell, Portrait of a Woman, before 1880

Oil on textile, image dimensions: 92.5 x 73.5 cm, inv. no. A I 305

This painting, the top layer of which began to flake off and was secured at an earlier date with the application of wax, was first and foremost filthy, and was covered in a dark film. In examining the work, however, it was revealed that at least one of the three layers of varnish was pigmented, meaning it had been deliberately applied as a kind of tinting. This is particularly unusual, both for varnishes applied in the course of restoration work and for original finishes. It could be that the artist actually wanted to give the impression of a dark, aged surface, conveying the character of portraits by Old Masters such as Van Dyck. For this reason, after securing and cleaning the surface of the painting, the varnish was not removed. The decorative frame was stylistically adapted.

Restoration: Kerstin Krainer
Reframing: Markus Dengg