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The research project 'Processes of Physical Emergence of Resin Bleed: Causes, Prevention, Treatment (POPE: Resin Bleed)', has been awarded a NICAS Small Project grant. The project aims to gain a better understanding of the processes leading to resin bleed in wood and how to prevent it in works of art.

Nicholas Pope, The Village, the Church or Myself (1986), collection Kröller-Müller Museum. Photo: Marjon Gemmeke

Various sculptures by the British/Australian artist Nicholas Pope (1949), including in the collection of the Kröller-Müller Museum, demonstrate how resin bleed has locally dissolved the painted surface, leading to stickiness, paint loss and an overall negative appearance of the work. The research aims to identify the mechanisms behind resin bleeding, and includes a conservation treatment of one of these sculptures, The Village, the Church or Myself (1986), so that sculpture can feature as a key object in the exhibition on Art & Project in the Kröller-Müller Museum, 30 September 2023–25 February 2024.

Interdisciplinary research

In POPE: Resin Bleed, conservation experts from the Rijksmuseum, Kröller-Müller Museum, Cultural Heritage Agency of the Netherlands, and the University of Amsterdam join forces in interdisciplinary research to better understand the conservation problem of Pope’s sculptures with resin bleed and find appropriate ways to treat the artworks. This includes material research, such as the identification of the composition of the resin and paint layer, making reconstructions to test different treatment options, and artificial ageing of resinous wood samples for a better understanding of the processes causing resin bleed and how it may be prevented, as well as oral history research, including an artist interview with Nicholas Pope to document his ideas in relation to his use of materials and the phenomena changing the appearance of his work. The resulting information will be sustainably archived and made accessible from the Interviews for Conservation Research collection at DANS-KNAW, while the project results will be disseminated to form a basis for further research into other affected works by resin bleed and the conservation of the work of Nicholas Pope in general.

Project Leader

  • Paul van Duin (Rijksmuseum)

Project Team

  • Welmoed Kreb, Independent Conservator of Furniture and Wooden Objects
  • Tirza Mol, Rijksmuseum
  • Marcel van der Sande, Kröller-Müller Museum
  • Saskia Smulders - de Jong, Cultural Heritage Agency of the Netherlands
  • Sanneke Stigter, University of Amsterdam (co-applicant)

Project Partners

  • Rijksmuseum Amsterdam
  • Kröller-Müller Museum
  • University of Amsterdam
  • Cultural Heritage Agency of the Netherlands