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COLORS THAT FADE
Turner's Masterpieces CAN:HIS WORKS BE SAVED ?
'If such an eminent authority as Sir John Lavery, R.A., says that the Tur ner watercolors are bound to fade, I believe they are doing so according to t.h'p. reoort. Sir Johh says that wate*
color.is an irritating medium because ;:isre is no guarantee that it will last. Watercolor. nevertheless, is a very beau ;iful art.' - Thus commented Mr. C Pitt Morri son, curator of the Perth Art Gellery, discussing the 'contention that . the watercolors of J. M. W. Turner are fad Ing. ;.???? Keen precautions must be taken with paintings, especially, watercolors, . Mr Morrison said, because they 'are sus ceptible to fading if light is allowed to play on them. The Tate gallery, whichT denies that the watercolors of Turner are fading, have most of them stored in darkness in the cellars through lack of exhibiting space. Those on exhibition are kept in glass cases provided with blinds. ' Although no fading has been noticed at Perth Art Gallery every precaution is taken to prevent r&ys of light from striking the pictures. Otherwise they must fade quickly. TURNER'S INFERIOR MATERIALS. Watercolors are done on a white sur face which reflects a ray of light thiough the color. Thus they are sus ceptible to fading. Oilcolors are not so phone to the, effects of light, however, for the surface. ofr the canvas is first covered with an oil pigment which pro tects the colors from light reflection. That fact is, in a degree, also respon sible for the fading of Turner't, paintings, ' ? ?
Turner, Mr. Morrison said, . was noted for his parsimonious nature and did not worry about the Quality of his colors and oils so much as of their cost. Some, of his works have so far deteriorated that only little mannerisms distinguish them as works of the great artist. One of his most celebrated pictures in the National Gallery, London, 'The Fight ing Temeraire,' is completely gone^ A painting privately owned at Vic toria Park, which Mr. Pitt Morrison contends is a genuine Turner, is also badly faded. Turner's oils had so de teriorated, as far as colors are con cerned, that there were great hopes that the watercolors would not share the same fate. Apparently they are going *he same w&y.
VAN EYCK'S STABILITY. Of course. Mr. Morrison continued, much depends on the nature of the colors used in the painting. For in stance, vegetable colors like carmines fade much earlier than earthen colors, such as ochres. It is a great pity that Turner was not more particular about his oils for it seems now that unless ' a method is discovered to prevent further fading the next generation may not see his works. Turner (1775-1851), was the forerun ner of watercolors, so that his works are of especial interest and value. It is remarkable that while his oils havs generally disintegrated and evolved in to a drab brown, the colors of Jan Van Eyck, celebrated Flemish painter of the , 14th century, while mellowed with age, are almost as vivid, and certainly as ,full of charm, as on the day they were painted.
Van Eyck mixed his colors with' a medium other than oil as we know it,' but he died without telling his secret. Mr. Morrison said that the recent Royal Commission inquiring into the administration of the national museums and art galleries strongly recommended that many of the treasures stowed away, like those in the Tate gallery — because of lack of space on the walls might be loaned to provincial and Do minion museums. The matter is re ceiving the consideration of the auth orities in London, and it is hoped that it will be possible to arrange for many of these old masterpieces, including Turner's, to be made available for in spection in Perth's Art Gallery. .