Early aqueous dispersion paints: Portuguese artists use of polyvinyl acetate, 1960s-1990s

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Publication Type:

Journal Article


Ferreira, Joana Lia; Avila, Maria Jesus; Melo, Maria Joao; Ramos, Ana Maria;


Studies in Conservation, Volume 58, Number 3, p.211-225 (2013)


The ageing of poly(vinyl acetate), PVAc, paints was assessed in works by Ângelo de Sousa and Joaquim Rodrigo. The materials and techniques of the artists were studied through interviews and by chemical analysis. They were both using PVAc in 1961, preparing their own paints by mixing commercial PVAc emulsions with selected colorants. It is shown that in most cases the emulsion employed was based on a PVAc homopolymer and that the paints are in good condition with no signs of deterioration. Finally, this study allowed a comparison to be made between paint samples aged naturally and those aged under artificial conditions. This means that these artificially aged samples may be used as reference materials for PVAc paintings. Both sets exhibit molecular infrared fingerprints that are undistinguishable from an unaged PVAc, suggesting little chemical degradation over 50 years of natural ageing.