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CONSERVATION IN DETAIL

CONSERVATION IN DETAIL

Pablo Ruiz Picasso (Spanish, 1881–1973)
Woman in Blue (Mujer en azul), (1901)


The team removed the layer of varnish in order to reveal the painting’s original colors, also leaving Picasso’s first brushstrokes more clearly visible.
Excerpt from Pablo Ruiz Picasso, Woman in Blue (Mujer en azul) conservation
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Mujer before

Pablo Ruiz Picasso (Spanish, 1881–1973)
Woman in Blue (Mujer en azul), c.1901
Oil on canvas
52 2/5" x 39 2/5" (133 x 100 cm)

Before conservation

Mujer during 1

Pablo Ruiz Picasso (Spanish, 1881–1973)
Woman in Blue (Mujer en azul), c.1901
Oil on canvas
52 2/5" x 39 2/5" (133 x 100 cm)

During conservation

Mujer cleaning

Pablo Ruiz Picasso (Spanish, 1881–1973)
Woman in Blue (Mujer en azul), c.1901
Oil on canvas
52 2/5" x 39 2/5" (133 x 100 cm)

During conservation

Mujer cleaning

Pablo Ruiz Picasso (Spanish, 1881–1973)
Woman in Blue (Mujer en azul), c.1901
Oil on canvas
52 2/5" x 39 2/5" (133 x 100 cm)

During conservation, cleaning under ultraviolet light

Mujer after

Pablo Ruiz Picasso (Spanish, 1881–1973)
Woman in Blue (Mujer en azul), c.1901
Oil on canvas
52 2/5" x 39 2/5" (133 x 100 cm)

After treatment, the way the artist intended

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CONSERVATION IN DETAIL

Pablo Ruiz Picasso (Spanish, 1881–1973)
Woman in Blue (Mujer en azul),c. 1901

Woman in Blue, painted in 1901 by a young Picasso at the beginning of his Blue Period, is one of the Reina Sofia’s most important and popular works, with approximately two million visitors viewing it every year. Over recent decades, following an earlier restoration procedure involving the liberal application of varnish, Woman in Blue became greener than her intended blue. The contrast between lighter and darker areas consequently seemed more muddied, and the painting lost much of its original drama.

The restoration effort carried out by a team of eight experts in the Reina Sofia’s own conservation studio has been completed, and Woman in Blue is back on public display, allowing visitors to view her in all her former glory. The team carried out close analysis of the painting using the most sophisticated technology, including visible light macro photography, infrared reflectography, UV light and radiography. They removed the layer of varnish in order to reveal the painting’s original colors, also leaving Picasso’s first brushstrokes more clearly visible and more easily appreciated.

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CONSERVATION IN DETAIL

Pablo Ruiz Picasso (Spanish, 1881–1973)
Woman in Blue (Mujer en azul),c. 1901

Woman in Blue, painted in 1901 by a young Picasso at the beginning of his Blue Period, is one of the Reina Sofia’s most important and popular works, with approximately two million visitors viewing it every year. Over recent decades, following an earlier restoration procedure involving the liberal application of varnish, Woman in Blue became greener than her intended blue. The contrast between lighter and darker areas consequently seemed more muddied, and the painting lost much of its original drama.

The restoration effort carried out by a team of eight experts in the Reina Sofia’s own conservation studio has been completed, and Woman in Blue is back on public display, allowing visitors to view her in all her former glory. The team carried out close analysis of the painting using the most sophisticated technology, including visible light macro photography, infrared reflectography, UV light and radiography. They removed the layer of varnish in order to reveal the painting’s original colors, also leaving Picasso’s first brushstrokes more clearly visible and more easily appreciated.

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Pablo Ruiz Picasso, Woman in Blue (Mujer en azul). © 2016 Estate of Pablo Picasso/ Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

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