La Salle University Art Museum
Online Exhibitions

Conservation Surveys


Theobold Michau

Landscape, 18th Century

Oil on Copper


Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Noah Butkin 

Théobold Michau was a Flemish painter of the 17th and 18th centuries. He mostly produced small-scale cabinet pictures, sometimes on copper, continuing the 17th century tradition of genre painting. His work is typically marked by landscapes, river views, winter scenes, and market scenes dotted with tiny figures working, celebrating, and strolling. These figures often wear red or blue and are frequently depicted with a collection of animals. Michau’s style is influenced by earlier masters such as Jan Breughel the Elder and David Teniers, and although he does not paint with their same strength, Michau was considered a successful genre painter at the time. 

Condition of the Artwork (2009): 

The built up paint texture has a very wet appearance. Ultra violet light, and careful examination in normal light, reveals that he sky has been heavily repainted, at two different times. The repaints in the sky appear to cover numerous small paint losses, and a lot of original paint. There are many small strokes of repaint in the distant hills, and in the hillside below the castle. The natural resin varnish has turned yellow brown and is a bit glossy. The more recently repainted areas of the sky have a more dull sheen. 

Conservation Treatment Proposed:

  • Remove/reduce discolored varnish layer with the appropriate cleaning agents.
  • Remove/reduce extensive, poorly matched repaints with the appropriate cleaning agents. The lower, earlier repaint may be very old, and may or may not be removed/reduced. Testing will need to be carried out.
  • Remove/reduce residues of old grime and varnish in paint interstices with the appropriate cleaning agents.
  • Apply an isolating layer of a conservation quality varnish.
  • Fill and inpaint paint losses with conservation quality materials. Losses in the sky currently hidden by repaint appear to be extensive, small flake losses. Inpainting in the smooth blue sky will be difficult.
  • Apply a conservation quality finishing varnish overall.
  • All materials used will be appropriate and conservation quality. All work will adhere to the highest standards of the field.

Estimated Cost of Treatment:  $2,000.00