GAGNE, S. JunFunori® and Water Based Media: A Comparative Investigation into Media Used to Inpaint Matte Surfaces, 2006

Posted on Tue, 10/28/2008 - 14:42

Master Thesis by Stéphanie Gagné
Master’s degree program in art conservation (MAC).
Queen's University (Ontario, Canada)


Matte surfaces are found in many ethnographic objects, paper works and paintings, and especially in contemporary acrylic paintings. In inpainting acrylic matte surfaces, very few media will give a satisfactory matching sheen while still allowing for reversibility without damaging the original paint. Media used include watercolour and Aquazol® 500. More recently, some conservators have tried funori, a polysaccharide extracted from a type of seaweed, Gloiopeltis furcata, that is well known in conservation as a suitable product for consolidating matte paint. As funori is a natural product, its quality varies. A purified form of funori, JunFunori®, has been developed by EMPA (the Swiss Federal Laboratories for Materials Testing and Research) in collaboration with the Institute of Monument Conservation at the ETH Zurich and the Centre for Conservation of the Swiss National Museum. The purpose of this research was to compare the visual and physical characteristics of JunFunori® with those of watercolour, Aquazol® 500 and acrylic, before and after accelerated aging with light, relative humidity and heat. Samples included the medium without pigment as well as the medium with the following pigments: titanium white, ivory black, French ultramarine and cadmium orange. JunFunori®, watercolour, Aquazol® 500 and acrylic samples were analysed for colour and gloss stability, and for reversibility using a re-solubilisation test, before and after aging. Fourier transform infrared (FTIR) analysis was also performed to detect any chemical changes in the medium before and after accelerated aging. Colour changes were determined using 1) visual observations and 2) the CIE L*a*b* spectrophotometric measurements. These tests were carried out in order to estimate the potential of JunFunori® as an alternative medium for inpainting matte surfaces such as acrylics. JunFunori® showed good stability under these specific conditions, thereby offering new possibilities to conservators.

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