Guggenheim conservation department


The NANORESTART project (NANOmaterials for the REStoration of works of ART) is an international initiative funded by the European Commission. Responding to the challenges posed by the vast array of contemporary materials, NANORESTART seeks to develop nanotechnologies for the conservation of modern and contemporary art.

The specific objectives of the project include:
  • The cleaning of contemporary plastic and pictorial surfaces, which entails the use of residue-free cleaning fluids, and the development of self-degrading tensioactives.

  • Stabilization of canvases and painted layers in contemporary art, using cellulose and nanocellulose derivatives combined with nanoparticles, among other methods.

  • Removal of unwanted modern materials, usually added after the original completion of the work, using polyfunctional protective systems.

  • Enhanced protection of artworks in museums and outdoors subject to atmospheric changes, with nanostructures substrates and sensors for the enhanced detection of degradation products.
The project, started in June 2015, terminates in November 2018 andm, so far, has established numerous partnerships between chemical industries, museums and other research organizations (27 collaborators in 12 countries). The Peggy Guggenheim Collection is specifically involved in the preparation of samples that replicate specific case studies, examined within the framework of NANORESTART’s Work Package 2 (New tools for cleaning). These include: oil on canvas and rough canvas mockups tested for dust removal; canvases painted and lined with wax resin, examined for the removal of wax visible on the paint layer; canvases covered with non-original ketonic varnish, treated for the removal of the varnish. These three samples reflect the conservation challenges presented by three works in the collection, respectively Two (1943-1945) by Jackson Pollock, The Studio (1928) by Picasso, and The Gentle Afternoon (1916) by Giorgio De Chirico.

pollock Due    

J. Pollock, Two (1943-45)
P. Picasso, The studio (1928)
G. de Chirico, The Gentle Afternoon (1916)

Of these three projects, Two has been successfully conserved thanks to the study and research carried out on the samples. The conservation initiative is also part of the broader POLLOCK PROJECT, a conservation and research program launched in 2013, of the eleven works by Pollock held in the Collection.

photo: Sergio Martucci