Heinrich Campendonk’s reverse paintings on glass: Technical and scientific studies and examples of conservation / restoration

Financed by the Ernst von Siemens Kunststiftung, Munich and coordinated by Gisela Geiger, director of the Museum Penzberg – Sammlung Campendonk, the core objectives of the research project are painting technique analyses and conservation treatment of reverse on glass paintings by the artist Heinrich Campendonk (1889–1957). These were undertaken on location on more than 30 glass paintings in museums and collections in Penzberg, Murnau, Munich, Krefeld, Cologne, Neuss, Wiesbaden, Amsterdam and Brussels. The development of Campendonk’s techniques over forty years of practice was revealed and documented. The visual analyses enable examination of the characteristics of paint application from both the front and reverse side.

Article Süddeutsche Zeitung 14.04.2017 (click on image for larger view)

Project partner for the analytical examination is the Doerner Institut, Bayerische Staatsgemäldesammlungen in Munich for analyzing the pigments and binding media. Moreover, with the support of the Freundeskreises Heinrich Campendonk e.V., non-invasive material analysis was undertaken by the Federal Institute for Materials Research and -Testing (BAM) in Berlin. A principle issue with the conservation of reverse on glass paintings is the weak adhesion of the paint layer to the glass. The conservation/ restoration treatment of selected works has provided a basis for developing future consolidation and restoration schemes.

With the exhibition “Magische Transparenz. Heinrich Campendonk als Hinterglasmaler“ (17.02.–07.05.2017) in the Museum Penzberg – Sammlung Campendonk the two-years project (2014 to 2016) was completed. All 76 reverse paintings on glass are in the catalog raisonné „Heinrich Campendonk. Die Hinterglasbilder“ documented.

Bretz, Simone; Geiger, Gisela: „Forschungsprojekt »Hinterglasmalerei von Heinrich Campendonk«“, in: Museum Aktuell, Konservieren – Restaurieren, Nr. 217, 2015, S. 16–17.

Bretz, Simone: „Gemalt, gesprenkelt und radiert – Hinterglasbilder von Heinrich Campendonk“, in: Novaesium 2015, Neusser Jahrbuch für Kunst, Kultur und Geschichte, 2015, S. 210–220.