Applied Physics A

, 122:16 | Cite as

Gloss paints in late paintings by Francis Picabia: a multi-analytical study

  • Maria KokkoriEmail author
  • Marie-Odile Hubert
  • Nathalie Balcar
  • Gilles Barabant
  • Ken Sutherland
  • Francesca Casadio
Invited Paper
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. Paintings


In this paper, a multi-analytical approach for the study of the materials used by Francis Picabia in two paintings dating from 1949 and 1950 is reported, with a particular reference to the possible use of enamel paints. The study is complemented by analysis of paints that had the appearance of glossy enamel sampled from the artist’s easel in the collection of the Comité Francis Picabia. Analysis with Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy, pyrolysis gas chromatography mass spectrometry with thermally assisted hydrolysis and methylation (THM-Py-GCMS) and scanning electron microscopy coupled with energy-dispersive X-ray spectroscopy revealed that only few paints match the composition of historical reference samples of Ripolin enamels, while the majority of the glossy paints sampled likely consist of mixtures of binders and varnishes made by the artist. This study confirms the importance of scientific testing and comparison with reference materials, when determining artists’ use of enamel paints. Results should be interpreted in the context of documentary/historical evidence, for a more informed characterization of oleoresinous paint media.


Prussian Blue Barium Sulfate Abietic Acid Paint Sample Lead Chromate 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



The Grainger Foundation, the Stockman Family Foundation, the Andrew Mellon Foundation, the Comité Francis Picabia, Paris, and Musée bibliothèque Pierre-André Benoit are all thanked for support. This work made use of the EPIC facility (NUANCE Center-Northwestern University), which has received support from the MRSEC program (NSF DMR-1121262) at the Materials Research Center; the Nanoscale Science and Engineering Center (NSF EEC–0647560) at the International Institute for Nanotechnology; and the State of Illinois, through the International Institute for Nanotechnology.

Supplementary material

339_2015_9532_MOESM1_ESM.docx (878 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 877 kb)


  1. 1.
    W. Camfield, Francis Picabia: his art, life and times (Princeton University Press, Princeton, 1979)Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    O. Revault d’Allonnes, D. Bouissou, Picabia: Ecrits, 1921–1953, (Paris, Pierre Belfond, 1978)Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    M.-O. Hubert, C. Hyza, A. Coron, Picabia, pionnier de l’art modern (Musée Bibliothèque Pierre André Benoît, Alès, 2013), pp. 79–93Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    A. King, J.H. Townsend, B. Ormsby, G. Gautier, J. Am. Inst. Conserv. 52(4), 246–257 (2013)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. 5.
    K. Muir, G. Gautier, F. Casadio, A. Vila, in ICOM-CC 16th triennial meeting preprints (CD-ROM), ed. by J. Bridgland, (Lisbon, 19–23 September 2011)Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    F. Picabia, Volonté, Paris, 3 (March 4, 1926)Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    G. McMillan, F. Casadio, I. Fiedler, V. Sorano-Stedman, J. Am. Inst. Conserv. 52(4), 258–277 (2013)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. 8.
    J. Tsai, J. Krueger, C. Maines, J. Am. Inst. Conserv. 52(4), 236–245 (2013)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. 9.
    J. Arslanoglu, S.A. Centeno, S. Digney-Peer, I. Duvernois, J. Am. Inst. Conserv. 52(3), 140–155 (2013)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. 10.
    K. Muir, A. Langley, A. Bezur, F. Casadio, J. Delaney, G. Gautier, J. Am. Inst. Conserv. 52(3), 156–172 (2013)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. 11.
    E. Hanspach-Bernal, A. Bezur, J. Am. Inst. Conserv. 52(3), 173–183 (2013)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. 12.
    F. Casadio, C. Miliani, F. Rosi, A. Romani, Ch. Anselmi, B. Brunetti, A. Sgamellotti, J.-L. Andral, G. Gautier, J. Am. Inst. Conserv. 52(3), 184–204 (2013)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. 13.
    M. Raeburn, N. Radeuil (eds.), Picasso express (Musée Picasso, Antibes, 2011)Google Scholar
  14. 14.
    Tableaux, aquarelles, dessins par Francis Picabia appartenant à M. Marcel Duchamp: [vente] (Paris, Hôtel Drouot, 8 mars 1926, Paris: Alph. Bellier, commissaire-priseur, 1926)Google Scholar
  15. 15.
    M.L. Borràs, Francis Picabia (Thames and Hudson, London, 1985), p. 453Google Scholar
  16. 16.
    G. Gautier, A. Bezur, K. Muir, F. Casadio, I. Fiedler, Appl. Spectrosc. 63(6), 597–603 and suppl. (2009)Google Scholar
  17. 17.
    F. Izzo, KJ van den Berg, H. van Keulen, B. Ferriani, E. Zendri, in issues in contemporary oil paint, ed. by K.J. van den Berg et al. (Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2014), pp. 73–104Google Scholar
  18. 18.
    J.S. Mills, R. White, Nat. Gallery Tech. Bull. 6, 3–18 (1982)Google Scholar
  19. 19.
    K.J. van den Berg, M. Geldof, S. de Groot, H. van Keulen, in ICOM committee for conservation 13th triennial meeting, Rio de Janeiro (International Council of Museums, Paris 2002), pp. 464–472Google Scholar
  20. 20.
    M. Kokkori, K. Sutherland, J. Boon, F. Casadio, M. Vermeulen, Herit Sci 3(30), 1–14 (2015)Google Scholar
  21. 21.
    M. Kokkori, F. Casadio, K. Sutherland, M. Vermeulen, in issues in contemporary oil paint, ed. by K.J. van den Berg et al. (Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2014), pp. 117–125Google Scholar
  22. 22.
    M. Kokkori, F. Casadio, J.J. Boon, in ICOM-CC 17th triennial conference preprints, ed. by J. Bridgland, art. 0101 (Paris: International Council of Museums, 2014), p 8Google Scholar
  23. 23.
    H. Standeven, J. Am. Inst. Conserv. 52(3), 127–139 (2013)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. 24.
    C.L. Uebele, Paint making and color grinding. Trade Papers, London, 1913.
  25. 25.
    C. Derouet, Lettres à Léonce Rosenberg, 1929–1940, Cahiers du Musée national d’art moderne, Hors-série/Archives (Centre Pompidou, Paris, 2000), p. 74Google Scholar
  26. 26.
    F. Casadio, V. Rose, Appl. Phys. A 111(1), 1–8 (2013)CrossRefADSGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Maria Kokkori
    • 1
    Email author
  • Marie-Odile Hubert
    • 2
  • Nathalie Balcar
    • 3
  • Gilles Barabant
    • 3
  • Ken Sutherland
    • 1
  • Francesca Casadio
    • 1
  1. 1.The Art Institute of ChicagoChicagoUSA
  2. 2.Independent Conservator of Easel PaintingsParisFrance
  3. 3.Centre de Recherche et de Restauration des Musées de France (C2RMF)ParisFrance

Personalised recommendations