Minnesota and North Dakota Chapter

Le Manteau de la Vierge by Hantai

Artist: Simon Hantaï
Date: ca. 1962
Dimensions: 336 x 406 cm
Material: Oil on canvas
Total Cost: $29,250.00

Simon Hantai was born December 7, 1922 in Bia, Hungary. From his studies at the Budapest School of Fine Arts he delved into the Surrealist Movement, befriending André Breton who wrote the preface to his first exhibition catalogue in Paris. In 1960, Hantaï developed his technique of “pliage” (folding); the canvas is folded and scrunched then doused with colour and unfolded, leaving apparent blank sections of the canvas interrupted by vibrant splashes of colour. “The pliage developed out of nothing.” Hantai explained. “It was necessary to simply put myself in the place of someone who had seen nothing… in the place of the canvas. You could fill the folded canvas without knowing where the edge was. You don’t know where things stop. You could even go further, and paint with your eyes closed.”

A retrospective of his work was held at the Centre Pompidou in 1976, and in 1982 he represented France at the Venice Biennale. A representative collection of Hantaï’s works is held at the Musée National d’Art Moderne, Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris, and at the Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris.

The conservation of this work is a sensitive process due to the techniques used and the history of the painting. From the beginning of the 1970s, the piece has been mounted in a frame smaller than the canvas. The painting will, therefore, have to be totally dismantled, and the entire surface of the painting will have to be cleaned and restored. Finally, the work will be mounted on a new chassis designed specifically to hold it. The folding frame allows one to easily move the painting through the Vatican Museums, and its narrow corridors, and then reopen it without causing trauma to the work. The procedure can be repeated if necessary without having to remove the canvas from the frame, as was necessary in the past.


  • Total dismantling of the canvas from the old support
  • Overall cleaning of the surface
  • Fixing of the tears and holes and reinforcement of the edges
  • Relocation of the canvas on a new « bending » support
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