Picasso 1917: An Insight into the Effects of Ground and Canvas in the Failure Mechanisms in Four Artworks

Anna Vila, Alison Murray, Cecil Krarup Andersen, Francesca Izzo, Laura Fuster-López, Elena Aguado, Rayez Jimenez, Annemette Bruselius Scharff

Publications: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingBook chapterResearchpeer-review


Four paintings by Picasso from the Museu Picasso collection (Barcelona) painted in 1917 were examined: Seated Man1 (Fig. 18.1a), Man with Fruit Bowl2 (Fig. 18.1b), Woman on an Armchair3 (Fig. 18.1c) and Blanquita Suárez4 (Fig. 18.1d) [7]. Despite presenting similarities in materials, technique and concept and having been displayed together in Picasso’s family residence in Barcelona from 1917 to 1970, the paintings show very different degrees of cracking. The hypothesis is that differences in the composition of canvas and ground layers have contributed to the degree of cracking, from one painting with deep cracks throughout to another with no cracks. Fortunately, according to the principle of proofed fluctuations [11], it is unlikely that the fracture damage will increase in the present environment since the paintings have already been through stress relaxation and cracking caused by the less controlled climate of the Picasso residence. They have in other words become less vulnerable due to this initial response to former climate fluctuations.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationConservation of Modern Oil Paintings
EditorsKlaas Jan van den Berg, Ilaria Bonaduce, Aviva Burnstock, Bronwyn Ornsby, Mikkel Scharff, Leslie Carlyle, Katrien Keun
Publication date2020
ISBN (Electronic)978-3-030-19253-2
Publication statusPublished - 2020
EventConference on Modern Oil Paints - Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam, Netherlands
Duration: 23 May 201825 May 2018


ConferenceConference on Modern Oil Paints
Internet address


  • Modern oil paint
  • Paintings
  • Conservation

Artistic research

  • No

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