School of Hokusai Drawing

 


When it comes to drawings, we can often learn something about the intention of the artist by noticing the selection of the paper that was used for the drawing. With its fine lines and added color, this drawing shows a high degree of finish. The fact that it is executed on gampi, an extremely thin and lustrous native Japanese paper, is evidence that the artist was not working on a random, throw away sketch. This drawing was previously adhered to a paper board at its edges, was foxed and stained overall and bore a small loss at the left center edge. For the treatment, enzymes and a fine pointed tweezer were used to loosen and remove the paper board perimeter. The drawing was then immersed in successive, pH adjusted distilled water baths and friction dried slowly between sheets of clay coated gampi paper and Goretex to retain its shape and texture. The rear sheet was left in contact with but not adhered to the original, for structural stability and to serve as a fill for the loss. Retaining the luminosity and flatness of the paper support makes works on gampi challenging to conserve.

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