Catskill Landscape


Catskill Landscape


John Frederick Kensett
American, 1816-1872




This landscape by John Kensett was sent to conservation in 2009 for the treatment of foxing, pale-orange spots and splotches caused in this instance by the growth of mold. While the mold itself had been mitigated if not completely eradicated some time ago, the staining left in its wake seriously interfered with the image’s aesthetic qualities. The problem was addressed much in the same way as are acid and light burns: by washing and then bleaching the sheet in solutions with varying pH levels. The results were remarkable; however, the stains could not be reduced entirely. Close examination will readily reveal faint, pale brown blemishes across the entire surface of the drawing, indicative of the extent of the mold’s damage.

Mold can be doubly harmful. It not only tends to discolor the paper’s surface, as in the Kensett drawing here, but in feeding on sizing as well as on paper fibers, it can seriously threaten the sheet’s structure. Mold spores are everywhere, but they generally remain inactive until they are introduced into warm and especially damp environments. For this reason, the Palmer Museum maintains in all of its spaces a constant and low relative humidity, between 45 and 55 percent, a level at which mold is unable to grow.


Palmer Museum of Art, The Pennsylvania State University, Gift of Michael St. Clair




This image is posted publicly for non-profit educational uses, excluding printed publication. Other uses are not permitted.


Graphite on paper; 11-5/8 x 17 in. (29.5 x 43.2 cm)