Take a look at how a Monet masterpiece was restored after sustaining a punch in 2012
Back in one piece and vandaliser jailed
The salvage operation to rescue the $15 million Monet masterpiece, Argenteuil Basin with a Single Sailboat, that savagely took a beating from a disgruntled 49-year-old man, has been completed. Here we reveal the painstaking labour of love by the team at the National Gallery Ireland, who restored the painting back to its former glory.
It was recently revealed that the man who randomly punched the painting in 2012, was sentenced to 5 years in prison for his crime.
The damage sustained by the oil on canvas painting was to the left hand corner leaving a great tear. The first stage of the restoration was to ensure that all fragments from the scene were preserved and individually collected from the floor immediately after the incident. Conservators looked for any indication of loose or compromised elements surrounding the area of impact before removing the painting from its mount and securing it for safe transport.
The teared edges were carefully aligned thread-by-thread and bonded by a specially formulated adhesive that had to be both powerful and delicate. A protective conservation grade tissue was adhered to the varnished surface of the painting during all of the works to prevent any further harm. Using microscopes, solvent-testing and ultraviolet imaging the restoration team were able to devise precisely the kind of paint Monet had used.
Unfortunately despite the more than 100 tiny fragments that were recovered and reattached, some parts had disintegrated all together from the impact of the punch. These missing pieces were filled in with a material made from chalk with a small element of gelatine glue called gesso. This was pigmented to match the original priming layer of the painting using the identical and newly formulated paint.
The painting is now back in its rightful place in the National Gallery Ireland at great cost and as a result of much hard work. Take a look at some of the stills from the arduous process below: