Bernard Buffet (10 July 1928 – 4 October 1999) was a French painter of Expressionism born in Paris. These two sizeable oil paintings (measuring 200cm x 350cm each) were a part of a much larger collection that Buffet originally painted for his private chapel.
Throughout the years, the paintings have begun to crack and peel, with paint coming lose from the canvas and years of dirt layering the surface.
The restorers began by researching the artist and his techniques more thoroughly, to better understand his intentions for how he may have desired the works to age – as a degredation of the materials may have been purposeful. The restoration lab then restored the paintings to how they believe the artist would have intended them to be preserved, and will display them for all to study and appreciate. The warped canvas was dismounted, repaired, and remounted; tears were fixed; paint was reintegrated; and then the lining was reinforced.
The Vatican Museums remain hopeful that the entire collection of these paintings from the chapel can eventually be restored and then displayed in a manner closer to which they were originally intended: as a collective whole. Visiting a chapel filled with wall to wall Buffet masterpieces would be an awe-inspiring moment, indeed.
The MN/ND chapter of the Patrons of the Arts in the Vatican Museums took on the financing of this project, which was completed with money to spare. The spare money will be put toward future projects.
Restoration Cost: The estimated cost was projected at 29,000 euros.