Programme start: 2009

CICRP: Alain Colombini (director), Norbert Bernstein, Emilie Hubert

Partnership(s): Art Institute of Chicago (AIC), Musée Picasso of Antibes, Interdisciplinary Nanoscience Centre of Marseille

This research programme on the identification of paints of domestic and industrial application used by Picasso and his contemporaries has essentially concerned works belonging to the Musée Picasso of Antibes.

It includes the scientific imaging carried out on the entirety of the Musée Picasso of Antibes’ collection of paintings on canvas, wood, fibrocement and paper support, a documentary research initiative relating to the formulations of paints used in the first half of the 20th century, the use of these paints by Picasso and his contemporaries, the analysis of a few standard Ripolin samples and painted works of the first half of the 20th century.

Ripolin chart

Colour chart of Ripolin paints.

During this programme, a Charisma application was carried out in 2010 by the CICRP in liaison with the Art Institute of Chicago (AIC), the Musée Picasso of Antibes and MOLAB (University of Perugia, Italy). It concerns the HOPPA Project (House Paints of Picasso in Antibes), which has drawn on the complementarity of investigations led under the Picasso/Ripolin programme. This project has primarily focused on the analysis of samples by non-invasive analytical techniques such as near- and mid-infrared spectroscopy and UV-visible spectroscopy. The first outcome of this study confirms the possibility of distinguishing, with the use of the portable analytical techniques applied, between industrial paints (thought to be Ripolin in the present case) and artists’ paints.

A significant part of this programme was concluded in May 2011 with the From Can to Canvas symposium.

Programme start: 2008

CICRP: Alain Colombini

Partnership(s): Fondation Vasarely, Atelier Arcay, Atelier Dernier Cri, All City

This programme draws on the systematic study of paints made from organic and fluorescent pigments/dyes used by artists in the second half of the 20th century with the aim of gaining an understanding of the deterioration mechanisms and conservation treatments of fluorescent pigments/dyes present in acrylic paint, Day-Glo paint, graffiti and contemporary screen printing.

An in-depth study of silk-screen printing works from Fondation Vasarely was carried out in consultation with the foundation’s abundant documentation, as well as the input of Vasarely friends and colleagues. Contact has been made with the Documents d’Artistes association of Marseille, based at La Friche de la Belle de Mai, with the aim of establishing connections with contemporary artists in the region with similar practices (screen printing, fluorescent colours).

In 2011–2012, under a partnership agreement with Heritage Malta, the scientific assistance and restoration of a work in acrylic paint and fluorescent aerosol by the English artist Victor Pasmore allowed the evaluation of the behaviour of this type of material in relation to various retouching procedures.

En 2012, this programme focused on gaining further knowledge of the paints used in graffiti art and their deterioration. A day of study on the topic of conservation of this type of mural paints, organised by the CICRP on 21 June, was the basis of this research, which will unite manufacturers, contemporary artists, restorers and the CICRP on the topic of material conservation of these paints.


  • COLOMBINI, A., ‘Characterization of some orange and yellow organic and fluorescent pigments by Raman spectroscopy‘, presented at the IRUG08 conference, Vienna, Austria, in 2008; e-PS, 2010, 7, 14–21.
  • COLOMBINI, A., VALAGEAS, C., ‘Characterization and degradation of fluorescent colours in works of art: preliminary studies’, FUTURE TALKS 09 symposium: The Conservation of Modern Materials in Applied Arts and Design, 22–23 October 2009, The International Design Museum, Munich; pp. 153–159.
  • COLOMBINI, A., VALAGEAS, C., ‘Degradation of fluorescent ink colours found in screen printing artworks‘, poster presented at Contemporary Art Who Cares?, Amsterdam, June 2010.