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The Colour of White Paper – Predicting Light-Induced Damage to Paper

The light sensitivity of artworks on paper is one of the most pressing conservation challenges facing museums of prints and drawings. Light is necessary to view and display the works. At the same time it can cause irreparable damage, such as fading colours and yellowing binding media.

The research project funded by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG) is based on the observation that it is not only colour media – which have been the focus of research to date – but also paper as a support material is subject to significant light-induced alteration. The project investigates the effect of light on “white” paper, looking in particular at the role additives typically found in paper play in altering its colour under the influence of light.

The microinvasive method of microfading testing (MFT) has established itself as an important method for investigating damage to colour media subjected to the influence of light. The project seeks to determine whether MFT can also be regarded as a useful predictor of the light sensitivity of white paper.


Contacts: Dr. Dagmar Korbacher, Dr. Dipl.-Rest. Fabienne Meyer, Dipl.-Rest. Georg Josef Dietz
Funding: Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG)
Duration: Beginning in 2021
Project partners: Rathgen-Forschungslabor, Staatliche Akademie der Bildenden Künste Stuttgart