Lecture 009.019

CHARACTERIZATION AND DEGRADATION OF FLUORESCENT COLOURS IN WORKS OF ART: PRELIMINARY STUDIES
BY ALAIN COLOMBINI, CLAIRE VALAGEAS

The formulations of fluorescent paints have improved since the second half of the XXth century. These new colours have been introduced in artistic practices and have changed the perception of both colours and the consumer related symbols. Little is known about fluorescent pigments. Information given by manufacturers is sometimes non-existent and is secret knowledge. Therefore, it is important to characterize and to assess the degradation aspects of fluorescent paints found in works of art.
This study focuses on the photochemical degradation of fluorescent colours, using accelerated ageing tests under UV-A & B light and weathering accelerated ageing conditions, applied on experimental laboratory samples. The characterization and the assessment of the chemical change of materials during the ageing process are performed with the help of Fourier Transform Infra- Red (FTIR) spectroscopy and colour measurement by spectrocolorimetry. Severe ageing conditions were purposely used, as this relates to the stressful environment surrounding works of art, in particular graffiti artworks exhibited in public places.
A case study of late XXth century screenprinting artworks is also included in this project.

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