Portrait of Mary Daniel, 1938
Edward Fisk (American, 1886–1944)
Oil on canvas
Gift of Milton Fisk and Allethaire Hendricks 2001.24.1
This marvelous portrait is in desperate need of structural intervention. The tension on the canvas has gone slack, resulting in visible planar deformations throughout the picture. It’s highly likely that the canvas was rolled at some point during its lifetime, which didn’t do it any favors. The canvas will have to be removed from its stretcher and undergo a heat and moisture treatment to humidify and relax the distortions throughout the surface. The tacking margins (where the edges of the canvas are nailed, or tacked, to the wooden stretcher bars, have likely suffered damage. The solution is to take thin strips of linen and adhere them to the original edges of the canvas. The canvas will then be restretched and retacked to its support. If necessary, the stretcher will be replaced.
A moderate grime layer coats the surface of the painting, which will be completely removed, significantly improving the appearance of the picture. Right now, the surface is dull and matte, with very low color saturation due to the dirt embedded into the surface of the picture.