Technique and condition

The support was prepared by Lucien Lefèbvre Foinet, Paris. The fine linen canvas is primed with an off-white oil ground and attached to a stretcher with tacks.

The oil painting is in many layers encapsulating the reworking of the canvas over several years. The original portrait with skull was overpainted sometime after it was exhibited in 1936 obliterating the details of the face. A thick layer of varnish, now brown in colour and slightly opaque, was applied, and the top layer of additional images and reworking of the portrait and skull applied, which appear cool in colour and high in contrast against the earlier work below the varnish. The later repaintings often penetrate contraction cracks within the earlier painting.

The painting has developed an extensive network of brittle age cracks with slightly raised edges and suffered several minor damages. It has been varnished, cleaned, retouched and revarnished in the past.

The black lacquered frame had been fitted recently, prior to acquisition. The painting was surface cleaned and the frame glazed on acquisition.

Roy Perry