Black on Maroon by Mark Rothko

The painting Black on Maroon (1958) by Mark Rothko is back on display at London’s Tate Modern after 18 months of conservation. The painting was vandalised in 2012 by Wlodzimierz Umaniec who subsequently spent almost a year and a half in prison. The original estimate for conserving the painting was £200,000. BBC News Entertainment & Arts reports –

Mark Rothko’s painting Black on Maroon has gone back on public display at London’s Tate Modern gallery, 18 months after it was vandalised with graffiti. The 1958 painting was defaced by Wlodzimierz Umaniec in October 2012. He was sent to prison as a result but has now apologised for his actions.

The Tate’s conservators have spent 18 months repairing the painting. Conservator Rachel Barker said: “It’s definitely better than I could have hoped at the beginning of the project.” She added: “The nature of the damage was such that we did think the worst.”

Ms Barker told BBC arts editor Will Gompertz the graffiti had covered “an area about the size of an LP” and some had seeped right to the back of the canvas. A vinyl record measures 12in (30cm) in diameter. The conservators first created a replica of the painting and added graffiti before cutting it into strips and testing different types of solvent to see which was most effective at removing the graffiti. They then retouched the damaged area.

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