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Unhinged cockling

Alexander

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Sep 17, 2019
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Hi, have this artwork on paper, not sure of medium. Customer asked to reframe and try and fix cockling if I can. When I removed the old frame and mat I noticed the picture wasn't hinged and that the cockling was probably due to that. Question is, how would I go about flattening that? The picture is embossed so I am weary of putting weight on it. 20200923_193530.jpg
 

Jim Miller

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Since it is a limited edition print (5/6) and obviously old, I'm guessing it could be a woodcut or other hand-produced print. The significant acid burn on the border indicates previous framing with materials inferior to today's standards. So, if this print is valuable to its owner or considered to be collectible, then a trip to a conservator would be advised, to work on the acid burn, as well as to flatten it.

Considering the degraded condition of the paper, attempting to flattening it by heat or moisture infusion might cause more harm than good.

If this is not particularly valuable or potentially collectible and the owner is not willing to pay for restoration work, then you could make it flat using an acrylic DCO mount under a new mat, with a secondary layer of glazing on top.
 

wpfay

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Was the original mat the same outside dimension as the paper the print is on? The white edge at the bottom of the margins seem to indicate that, and that would go a long way toward identifying the cause of the cockling, and the absence of hinges.

Hopes are that once treated the piece will be put in a frame with sufficient space for the paper to contract and expand with environmental changes.

My guess is the piece is a collograph which would account for the relief in the paper when printed and the variety of textures.
"Collagraphy was introduced in 1955 by Glen Alps and is a printmaking process in which materials are applied to a rigid substrate. The word is derived from the Greek word koll or kolla, meaning glue, and graph, meaning the activity of drawing." Wikipedia
 

Alexander

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Thanks for the reply Jim. I have 4 of them to do, all by the German artist Rolf Nesch, who I think was quite well know in the art world. They are dated from the 50s and 60s. They are certainly quite valuable.
Could you explain to me more about the acrylic DCO method?
I think 2 of the pictures are OK to go ahead but that one in particular is bad with acid burn and cockling. 20200924_142719.jpg
 

Alexander

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interesting wpfay.
The original mat seems to have caused the most burn but in general that one is by far the darkest.
 
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Ylva

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If client doesn’t want to go that way, although I would urge her to, I would reframe with larger mats. The paper might be able to relax more when giving space.
However, the acid burn might cause more problems down the road.
 

Jim Miller

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Sorry, I didn't notice embossing in your photo. Any sort of texture, raised or soft ink, or other features that could be harmed by the pressure of a DCO would disqualify that mounting method.

Still recommend a conservator.
 

wpfay

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That kind of printing process is done with the paper fairly well humidified so it won't separate when being deformed by the plate. I did this kind of printing in college, and the technique was popular because of the relatively low cost as compared to etching and engraving.

I am in agreement that these pieces need conservation treatment.
 

Matthew Hale

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survey says... conservator! and I agree. these are well worth the cost to clean and stabilize them. a little cleaning wouldn't hurt either.
 
Beauty, Brawn, and Brains: Wizard Z1 CMC

Alexander

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I see the way to go is to recommend a conservator, the thing is, I can't find one here in Norway. I even called a museum and they told me they have their own but know of no private ones I could use. A lot of neglected artwork here it seems.
 

artfolio

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I see the way to go is to recommend a conservator, the thing is, I can't find one here in Norway. I even called a museum and they told me they have their own but know of no private ones I could use. A lot of neglected artwork here it seems.

Maybe if you spoke to their conservator he/she would take this on privately? I once used a conservator at the W.A. museum who moonlighted privately.
 
Beauty, Brawn, and Brains: Wizard Z1 CMC
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