Gloss paints in late paintings by Francis Picabia: a multi-analytical study

Maria Kokkori*, Marie Odile Hubert, Nathalie Balcar, Gilles Barabant, Ken Sutherland, Francesca Casadio

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


In this paper, a multi-analytical approach for the study of the materials used by Francis Picabia in two paintings dating from 1949 and 1950 is reported, with a particular reference to the possible use of enamel paints. The study is complemented by analysis of paints that had the appearance of glossy enamel sampled from the artist’s easel in the collection of the Comité Francis Picabia. Analysis with Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy, pyrolysis gas chromatography mass spectrometry with thermally assisted hydrolysis and methylation (THM-Py-GCMS) and scanning electron microscopy coupled with energy-dispersive X-ray spectroscopy revealed that only few paints match the composition of historical reference samples of Ripolin enamels, while the majority of the glossy paints sampled likely consist of mixtures of binders and varnishes made by the artist. This study confirms the importance of scientific testing and comparison with reference materials, when determining artists’ use of enamel paints. Results should be interpreted in the context of documentary/historical evidence, for a more informed characterization of oleoresinous paint media.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number16
Pages (from-to)1-11
Number of pages11
JournalApplied Physics A: Materials Science and Processing
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2016
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Chemistry
  • General Materials Science


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