Our work with a German painter and graphic artist Max Lingner's drawing is an example of a complex conservation. The piece was given to the museum by Valentin Curell, the artist's assistant, and sent to the Graphics Conservation Workshop in 2010.
The drawing is made with coloured pencils on a wrapping paper made of wood pulp and contained, as the test results showed, lignin. The sheet consisted of two fragments, roughly glued together with synthetic glue, with one piece covering a large piece of another. Extreme deformation, contamination, as well as smudges, stains and ground losses completely distorted the drawing's original look.
After testing the pigments for resistance to water treatment it was possible to start conservation process. The glue was softened with an ultrasonic steam pen and then carefully removed with a scalpel.
Washing with a hydroalcoholic solution helped lessen the yellow discoloration. It was especially difficult to remove the smudges and stains; chemical treatment was performed with mild solutions in several stages. Upon reaching the desired result, the sheet was cleared off chemical reagents using iodide starch paper to control the process. All these treatments were done on a vacuum table.
Then it was time to glue pieces of the drawing together. The edges of the pieces were carefully smoothed with a scalpel, and then lined with Japanese paper. Small tears and creases were glued together, and the losses were filled with paper that was close to the original one in colour, thickness and texture. To stabilize the base the drawing was lined with a thin Japanese paper with wheat starch glue. Then the sheet was placed under press.
As a result, the deformations were fixed, the stains and smudges removes, tears and creases mended, and losses filled. Retouches were made at the areas of losses as a finishing touch, and thus the drawing was ready to be exhibited again.