The dream of every museum curator is to be offered an intact, untouched collection. Most of antique or modern pieces have already been restored. Sometimes the restoration is effective, but unfortunately it is often too interventionist and seldom respectful of the artist’s will.
It is not the case with the collections of Elise Rieuf museum.
- Elise Rieuf’s works have suffered few mechanical damages. Their varnish is light. A few oil paintings on paper show “chancis” (moulding) and need to be lightened. Elise Rieuf’s technique is diversified but well mastered.
- Charlotte Musson’s works were in lesser shape when they arrived. Pastel stocking is very expensive, often too difficult to be carried on successfully by a private person. The role of the museum is to decontaminate the pieces and to protect them from light and excessive humidity.
A technical record-card is established for each piece of work. It records the picture history, the date of its making, its dimensions, the meaning of its subject, its conservation state, its restoration history, the technique used for its making etc.
Regular observation of the collections allows us to maintain them in a correct state of preservation. When a piece arrives at the museum, it is framed with anti-reflection glass and its back is protected by a plate screwed to the back of the frame, to prevent mechanical problems, dust, too heavy variations of humidity or temperature.
Light, temperature and hygrometry are regularly checked within the museum rooms and storeroom.
We were granted the privilege to access Marguerite Jeanne Carpentier’s private collections. They are, on the whole, perfectly preserved. Marguerite Jeanne Carpentier used a particular technique of varnishing, which implies extra care when a cleaning is performed. With large pictures, different problems occur : tension, larger scales, brittleness of some irregularly thicker layers of paint, the size of the anti-reflection protecting glass.
Marion Boyer - Elise Rieuf museum curator