Painting Conservation

Conservation and Exhibitions



Painted Surfaces: New Light on Artists' Techniques


30th November - 1st April 2017
Iziko South African National Gallery

Visit the Gallery to see some of your favourite paintings in a whole new light – literally!

Using our newly-acquired technical examination methods of infrared photography, ultraviolet light, x-radiography and microscopic examination, Painted Surfaces goes beyond the paint layer to reveal insights into the painting techniques used by some of South Africa’s greatest artists.

Those represented in this exhibition include Thomas Baines, Frederick I’Ions, Freida Lock, George Pemba, Alexis Preller, Gerard Sekoto, Irma Stern and Edward Wolfe. There is a specific emphasis on the techniques of Stanley Pinker. Five of his paintings have been subjected to close examination, and the exhibition features many materials from his studio archive.

The exhibition features illustrated texts placed next to each artwork to explain our new discoveries and share highlights of our technical study. These have resulted from research that has been carried out over the last three years. With each painting, you will be able to discern something exciting and unique that you may not have previously seen!

This is an exhibition that will especially appeal to those who appreciate the relationship and interaction between Art and Science. Involving the University of Cape Town, the University of the Western Cape and other institutions, this kind of scientific analysis of South African paintings is something that has been undertaken for the first time.

We invite the public to join us on this, our first journey of scientific and technical discovery in relation to our Collection. You will be able to obtain a deeper understanding and appreciation of the work of these artists and how they created their paintings.

A special illustrated publication entitled Painted Surfaces: A Technical Study of Paintings from the Iziko South African National Gallery, which supports the exhibition, will be available.

There will also be a wide range of special educational events during the exhibition.

Please enquire for further details.



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Click the image for a view of: Details of a few discoveries made using infrared light (left), ultraviolet light (centre) and x-radiography (right)
Details of a few discoveries made using infrared light (left), ultraviolet light (centre) and x-radiography (right)
Click the image for a view of: George Pemba, ‘Harvesting the Wheatfields’, in normal and UV light
George Pemba, ‘Harvesting the Wheatfields’, in normal and UV light
Click the image for a view of: Frederick Timpson ‘I’Ons Krantdrift’ (Landscape with Cattle), in normal and infrared light
Frederick Timpson ‘I’Ons Krantdrift’ (Landscape with Cattle), in normal and infrared light
Click the image for a view of: Gerard Sekoto, ‘Street Scene’, in normal night and as an x-ray
Gerard Sekoto, ‘Street Scene’, in normal night and as an x-ray
Posted: 2017/11/29 (03:00:00 PM)
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