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


Logo Ernst von Siemens Kunststiftung

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 treatments of the reverse on glass paintings by the artist Heinrich Campendonk (1889 - 1957). These were undertaken on location on 37 reverse on glass paintings in museums and collections for example in
Penzberg, Murnau, Munich, Krefeld, Cologne, Neuss, Wiesbaden and Amsterdam. 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 back sides. Studies under incident, transmitted and raking light have provided a greater understanding of the creative working process of Campendonk.

Project partner for the analytical tests was the Doerner Institut in Munich for analyzing the colorants and binding media. Moreover, with the support of the Freundeskreises Heinrich Campendonk e.V., non-invasive material analysis were undertaken by BAM Federal Institute for Materials Research and -Testing, 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.

Research team:

With the exhibition Magische Transparenz. Heinrich Campendonk als Hinterglasmaler (17.2. - 7.5.2017, Museum Penzberg – Sammlung Campendonk) the two years research project (2014 - 2016) was accomplished. 76 reverse paintings on glass by Campendonk are documented in the catalogue raisonné „Heinrich Campendonk. Die Hinterglasbilder, Werkverzeichnis“.

Further Publications:


„Lying cow with sunflower“, Heinrich Campendonk, 1940, private collection


reverse side


reverse side in transmitted light