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Edith Emerson

Recessional, 1914

Oil on Canvas


Gift of Miss Edith Emerson

Edith Emerson was a Philadelphia-based painter, illustrator, muralist, and teacher. She primarily worked in oils and watercolors, favoring images of women in her work. She was involved in a variety of museum and educational organizations around the Philadelphia area. Emerson worked as the president and curator of the Violet Oakley Memorial foundation, taught at the Agnes Irwin School, lectured at the Philadelphia Museum School of Industrial Art, and taught art history at Chestnut Hill College.

Condition of the Artwork (2009):

The paint layer has an odd, pronounced cracking pattern. Either the sizing or priming layer was improperly prepared, or the glue used to attach the painting to the panel is thick and has contracted the canvas and paint layer in some areas. There is active flaking in the central figures, along the bottom edge. Ultra violet light reveals old blotches of repaint in shadows along the upper edge, in the dark column at right, and in the figures. Careful examination indicates that the repaints are much larger than the paint damages, and cover a lot of original paint.

Conservation Treatment Proposed:

  • Locally consolidate insecure paint with a conservation quality adhesive.
  • Remove/reduce varnish layer with the appropriate cleaning agents.
  • Remove/reduce repaints with the appropriate cleaning agents.
  • Apply an isolating layer of a conservation quality varnish.
  • Fill and inpaint paint losses with conservation quality materials.
  • 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