Duration: 2008–2009

CICRP: Alain Colombini

Partnership(s): Museums of France Research and Restoration Centre Centre (C2RMF)

A research programme on the identification and behaviour of PVC materials was undertaken in liaison with the Museums of France Research and Restoration Centre (C2RMF), primarily from analyses carried out on pure PVC resins, current consumer products and works of art, particularly inflatable structures.


BALCAR, N. and COLOMBINI, A., ‘Approche multi-analyses pour l’étude du PVC : cas de structures gonflables’, presented to Art d’aujourd’hui, patrimoine de demain, S.F.I.I.C., Paris, June 2009.

Duration: 2010–2011

CICRP director: Alain Colombini

Partnership(s): Research Centre for the Conservation of Collections (CRCC); ARC-Nucléart; Laboratory of Molecular and Macromolecular Photochemistry of Clermont-Ferrand; Museums of France Research and Restoration Centre (C2RMF), in the context of a Regional Natural Park of Corsica (PNRC)

This project focuses on celluloid, a material widely used during the 20th century but which has become almost obsolete due to the risks associated with its usage, as well as its stability. The project has yielded proposals for conservation and treatment measures drawing on studies carried out on heritage works.

Duration: 2010–2011

CICRP: Alain Colombini

Partnership(s): Research Centre for the Conservation of Collections (CRCC), Laboratory of Molecular and Macromolecular Photochemistry (LPMM); Museums of France Research and Restoration Centre (C2RMF); Gwenola Corbin, conservator-restorer, National Centre of Plastic Arts (CNAP) grant

Under the restoration research allowance granted to Gwenola Corbin by the National Centre of Plastic Arts (CNAP), the CICRP has provided scientific assistance to this research project. The topics addressed have focused on identification techniques for rubbers present in museum collections, their degradation processes and their consolidation.


Corbin G. (2007), ‘Recherche sur la conservation et la restauration de Foot Soldier (Godzilla) de Kenji Yanobe. Complétée d’une étude sur les mousses polyuréthannes souples’, Ecole Supérieure d’Art d’Avignon, report p. 241.

Programme start: 2012

CICRP: Alain Colombini

Partnership(s): Clémentine Bollard, art restorer, grant holder of the National Centre of Plastic Arts (CNAP), Museums of France Research and Restoration Centre (C2RMF)

This programme draws on research carried out by Clémentine Bollard, art restorer, CNAP grant holder. The scientific assistance of the CICRP in this project is based on evaluations of the impact of these treatments with Raman imaging analyses. This work is carried out in coordination with the 20th-century department of the C2RMF and concerns the use of gels for the cleaning of plastics, especially PVC, PMMA and ABS.

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.

Programme start: 2007

CICRP: Alain Colombini

Partnership(s): the National Forensic Institute and the Marseille physico-chemical laboratory

The purpose of this research programme on the degradation and consolidation of polyurethane resins/paints and latex-rubber is to optimise consolidation methods of these two materials, allowing the display and easier handling of works, as well as prolonging their ‘life expectancy’.

The results from the study on the mixed artistic technique (acrylic paint applied together with latex on a polyurethane foam support) was presented in 2009 to the French Section of the International Institute for Conservation: ‘Art of today – Heritage of tomorrow: Conservation and restoration of contemporary works’, Paris.

For natural and synthetic rubber, this programme has drawn on work carried out by restorer Gwenola Corbin under a grant from the National Centre of Plastic Arts (CNAP) relating to the degradation of rubbers and for which the CICRP was the designated laboratory. Various treatments were tested combining the use of consolidants and antioxidants rarely used in the field of heritage conservation and restoration.

The research was carried out in 2012 with the identification of consolidating materials compatible with rubber and associated to a treatment providing protection against oxidation reactions and ozonolysis, without modifying the appearance of the works. It will provide a deeper knowledge of natural rubber (identification in collections, degradation processes etc.) and a closer relationship with the industrial sector specialising in this polymer.


  • COLOMBINI, A., CORBIN, G., LEAL ROMERO, V., ‘Les matériaux en polyuréthanne dans les oeuvres d’art : des fortunes diverses. Cas de la sculpture Foot Soldier de Kenji Yanobe’, CeROArt No. 2, 2008.
  • ATTARD, M-C., COLOMBINI, A., ‘Dégradations d’une couche peinte composée de latex : cas d’une sculpture en polyuréthanne de Kenji Yanobe’, poster presented at Art d’aujourd’hui, patrimoine de demain, SFIIC Paris, June 2009.