Conservation & restoration

The Conservation and Restoration department ensures that the museum’s collection remains in tip-top condition and that the approximately 500 objects that are loaned to museums all over the world each year travel safely.

Works on paper are restored by the department’s own staff. Other objects are restored in partnership with respected external experts. In addition to treating the works, the restorers also make condition reports and object analyses and provide advice on loans and display methods.

The museum has its own restoration budget, but also receives financial support from corporations, individuals and organisations such as the BankGiro Lottery.

Restorations in 2016:

‘Egoism’ and ‘Danger de la Force’ by Francis Picabia

‘Egoism’ and ‘Danger de la Force’ by Francis Picabia were both suffering from loosening of the paint layers, which have now been consolidated. Additionally, the piece of hardboard on which ‘Egoism’ is painted had become bent. It was therefore fitted with a framework on the back so that it can travel safely in its original frame. The two paintings were shown in a major retrospective of Picabia’s work at the Kunsthaus Zürich and at the Museum of Modern Art in New York.

  • Restored with support from Kunsthaus Zürich, MoMA and the Van Beek Family Fund.

Francis Picabia, Egoism, 1947-1950, purchase with support of the Mondriaan Fund, 1996
Francis Picabia, Danger de la Force, 1947-1950, purchase Stichting Fonds Willem van Rede, 1999

'Hunting Still Life with a Swan' by Peeter Boel

The painting ‘Hunting Still Life with a Swan’ by Peeter Boel from circa 1645 had an extremely yellowed varnish layer, discoloured retouches and many sharp splits in the paint layer. The varnish layer and discoloured retouches were removed and the cohesion of the paint layer has been improved. The painting has now been returned to its original splendour. It will be on loan for the next five years to the Musée départemental de Flandre in Cassel, France.

  • Restored with the support of the Musée départemental de Flandre, Cassel

Hunting Still Life with a Swan, Peeter Boel, circa 1645, purchase 1864

Cradle by W.H. Gispen

W.H. Gispen designed this oak cradle in 1918 for his own children. The base had become unstable because the glue Gispen used had dried out. Other components of the cradle had become loose or were missing. These defects have been remedied and the cradle has also been cleaned and treated with a neutral, transparent layer of wax. The cradle was displayed in 2016 in the exhibition ‘Gispen Specials – The Customer is Always Right’.

Cradle, W.H. Gispen, 1918, purchase 1985

Saint Catherine and Saint Barbara by de Meester van het Geborduurde Lover

These two magnificent 15th-century panel paintings of Saint Catherine and Saint Barbara were suffering from cracks and raised areas of paint. These problems have been solved. The cradles on the reverse were also returned to working order so that the panels can travel safely. They are being exhibited in 2017 in two major exhibitions of works from the collection of Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen in Tokyo and Osaka.

Saint Catherine, Meester van het Geborduurde Lover, circa 1500, loan Cultural Heritage Agency of the Netherlands (RCE), 1988
Saint Barbara, Meester van het Geborduurde Lover, circa 1500, loan Cultural Heritage Agency of the Netherlands (RCE), 1988