A paper written by scientists at the Smithsonian’s Museum Conservation Institute exposes long-term problems with zinc white in oil paint. The report “The Chemical and Mechanical Effects of Pigments on Drying Oils” describes the highlights of a 28-year study on the stability and strength of oil paint films. The results are revealing and have important implications for artwork made with artists’ oil paints containing zinc white.
The paper by Marion Mecklenburg and Charles Tumosa examines the drying of different drying oils, traditional pigments and commercially prepared artists’ oil paints. It also studies the differences of the effects of pigments on the long-term stiffening and film formation of paints. For the study, different pigments were ground in different oils, applied to polyester films and then stored in a controlled environment. Over the years, the paints were removed from the polyester film and tested mechanically as unsupported thin films.Read More