Public Outdoor Painted Sculpture: Assessment & Treatment

university art collection treatment


The Frost Art Museum retained RLA, with our considerable experience in university art collection treatment, to repaint Alexander Liberman’s Argosy, a monumental sculpture, in the characteristic style of this artist. Though it had been repainted as recently as 2010, the sculpture had faded badly in the Florida sun and the paint was blanched and streaky. The sculpture had been struck by an egg, and the area hit had faded differentially. Additional conservation issues included corrosion of the footings, and an overall haze on the surface of the work.

The structural stability of the piece was evaluated with a preservation engineer, who recommended having the footings repaired by welding. RLA supervised the lifting of the sculpture by an art handler and a certified welder making repairs to the engineer’s specifications. We contacted the artist’s representative to obtain information on the appropriate color match.

The existing surface was scarified and spray painted in situ using a color matched primer and TNEMEC paints of the highest color retention matched to the specified color in Dupont Imron, the artist’s original choice. The treatment exemplified how one can obtain an artist’s intent in painted outdoor sculpture, while improving on his materials. This must be done in partnership with an artist’s fabricator, estate, or foundation.

Project Summary Sheet