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Concealed Layers: Uncovering Expressionist Paintings

May 28 @ 10:00 am - 5:00 pm
|Recurring Event (See all)

A painting’s surface hides a wealth of information that can only be found using advanced methods of conservation science. Concealed Layers: Uncovering Expressionist Paintings presents new discoveries made during an ambitious three-year study of the Saint Louis Art Museum’s world-class collection of German Expressionist paintings. Complete underpaintings, a lost title and studio graffiti are just some of the exciting findings that will receive their public debut.

Concealed Layers invites visitors to discover the world of conservation research and experience behind-the-scenes technical revelations. At the Saint Louis Art Museum, 48 German Expressionist paintings were meticulously examined and documented with photography. High-powered microscopy and ultraviolet fluorescence identified artist materials and historic restorations, while x-radiography and infrared reflectography revealed hidden layers.

From this vast trove of research, 11 paintings were selected for the exhibition, along with extensive conservation images and examples of the tools and materials used during research. The paintings include Ernst Ludwig Kirchner’s monumental Circus Rider, Oskar Kokoschka’s double self-portrait The Painter II (Painter and Model II) and Vasily Kandinsky’s Murnau with Locomotive, one of his last figurative paintings. All reveal insights into the artists’ studio practices.

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