Conservators work to combat painting deterioration

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A partnership between Santa Fe’s Georgia O’Keeffe Museum and scientists at Northwestern University have discovered tiny blisters bubbling up under the surface of her paintings.

Scientists say the bumps are invisible to the naked eye but are growing, pushing up the paint and either warping the surface or piercing through.

“Free fatty acids within the binding media of the paint reacted with lead and zinc pigments started to aggregate, push the surface of the pain up forming what look like acne on the paintings,” said materials scientist Marc Walton.

Conservators are now using a special tablet to repair the damage while searching for ways to better protect the paintings all together.

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