Painting Conservation

Conservation and Exhibitions

Research project

Technical studies on South African paintings in Iziko collections

The materials and techniques used by artists are a constant source of interest to art historians and curators. Through technical studies it is possible to learn about the significance of the choice and use of materials, and how these are applied in bringing particular qualities to works of art.

There are two aspects to this project: the first focuses on a technical study of selected paintings in the permanent collections of the Iziko South African National Gallery (SANG), focusing on paintings by South African artists; the second aspect uses this study as a basis for training and capacity building, through working with the UCT Honours in Curatorship students and emerging curators, which was included within Conservation Week 2016.

The project has been made possible by the Mellon-funded acquisition of specialized equipment by SANG, including a Leica stereomicroscope, ultra-violet lights and infrared camera. X-ray examination, medium analysis and cross-sections may also be included in the study.

The proposed project will be undertaken by Angela Zehnder in collaboration with Bronwyn Leone who is invited to participate as an expert partner in the project.

Despite the growing status of South African painting, both nationally and internationally, no previous technical studies on works by South African artists in the SANG have been undertaken. This project will, therefore, add to the body of technical knowledge on South African artworks and thereby enhance the insights of curators, researchers, educators and students.

The paintings to be examined will come from the permanent collection of SANG. They have been selected in order to reflect the diversity of South African painting, and to show interesting technical features adopted by South African artists.


A modest exhibition on the materials and techniques used in South African paintings will be developed and installed. From this further education programs could be generated. To reach wider interest groups, open access conservation sessions could also be included as part of this component.

Posted: 2017/01/01 (18:06:03)
Conservation and Exhibitions
Honours in Curatorship

Coservation Week 2016
2016 Professor Ellen Pearlstein
2015 Sanchita Balachandran
Future plans
Visit Abe Bailey Conservation

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