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Published on Mar 25, 2013
In 2007 LACMA acquired a remarkable group of six paintings by the Mexican painter Juan Patricio Morlete Ruiz (1713--1781). This group of works is based on engravings after Ports de France, an original series of fifteen paintings completed between 1753 and 1765 by eighteenth-century French artist Claude-Joseph Vernet (1714--1789). Commissioned for Louis XV of France (reigned 1723--74) by Abel-François Poisson, marquis de Marigny and brother of Madame de Pompadour, Vernet's series enjoyed immediate success and was widely disseminated through prints.
When LACMA acquired the works they were covered with a yellow varnish layer that obscured the contrast and tonality of the original colors and flattened the perspective. Once removed, the illusion of space and depth returned, revealing the work of a thoughtful and highly skilled artist.Careful technical examination also yielded much information about the artist's technique and use of pigments.This video documents the fascinating process of conserving Morlete's pictures.
—Ilona Katzew, Curator of Latin American Art, LACMA