This charming charcoal portrait by Italian artist Mario Grixoni (1879-1946) was drawn in 1937 on a light weight machine-made paper.
Upon arrival at ICS, the piece was suffering from staining and tide lines caused by a recent water-damage incident, most noticeably around the subject's right eye. There was also a small tear in the top right-hand corner and some minor discolouration towards the edges.
While the treatment required to reduce these kinds of stains is normally fairly straight forward, complications arose due to the charcoal medium. Charcoal is very friable and difficult to handle without disturbing it. So, instead of a more immersive aqueous treatment, the piece was carefully treated using a controlled blotter washing method, which reduced the stains and discolouration whilst ensuring that the charcoal was not affected in any way. The torn corner was then repaired and the whole artwork gently humidified and pressed to flatten under light weights. Although difficult to see in the after treatment photographs, the water stains were successfully reduced, allowing the viewer to once again enjoy this artwork without distraction.
Before treatment - Tear in right-hand corner
After treatment - Tear repaired
Before treatment - Tide lines & staining visible below the eye
After treatment - Tide lines & staining reduced