Work begins on damaged Monet painting
WORK BEGINS next week to restore the Claude Monet painting damaged in an incident in June at the National Gallery of Ireland in Dublin.
A man has been charged in connection with the damage.
Conservation work on Monet’s Argenteuil with a Single Sailboat (1874), the only painting the gallery has by the French impressionist, will begin with an assessment by the institution’s conservators in association with international colleagues.
The Monet painting was handed back to the National Gallery recently by An Garda Síochána, who held it for a time as part of its investigation.
National Gallery director Seán Rainbird said: “Conservation work on the Monet is our primary concern given the extensive nature of the damage.”
The work could take up to a year to complete and the cost will not be known until the initial assessment is concluded.
An internal team of four conservation experts will be involved in the intricate and delicate project.
According to the National Gallery, the painting was badly perforated and torn. The first stage will involve stabilising the painting “in order to contain and eventually reduce the structural distortion of the canvas support”.
Head of conservation Simone Mancini said their approach “will be dictated by retaining the integrity and originality of the painting” and using the principle of “reversibility, deceptivity and minimum intervention”.
A spokeswoman for the National Gallery compared the conservation work to surgery.
While the painting “will never be exactly the way it was”, any pigment loss to the painting will be treated. “You should be able to recognise what is the original and what the conservators have done.”
The spokeswoman added that the conservators were expert and highly skilled at this work and would be documenting the conservation procedure, which was standard practice.
The painting was donated to the National Gallery of Ireland in 1924 along with six other works by Degas, Corot and others, by Edward Martyn, a musicologist and one of the founders of the Abbey Theatre.
In the picture, the town of Argenteuil, a suburb of Paris, is only glimpsed on the horizon. The main focus of the painting is light and its effect on the water’s surface.
Monet, who died in 1926, moved with his family to Argenteuil in 1871 after the Franco-Prussian war. He turned a boat he owned into a floating studio, and the river Seine and its sailing boats became the principal theme of his paintings.