Restoration of ‘The Blue Boy’ complete at California museum

Blue Boy

Thomas Gainsborough (English, 1727-1788), ‘The Blue Boy, Portrait of Jonathan Buttall’

SAN MARINO, Calif. (AP) – An 18-month restoration of Thomas Gainsborough’s “The Blue Boy” has been completed and the circa-1770 painting will go back on display next month at The Huntington Library, Art Museum, and Botanical Gardens in Southern California.

The conservation process involved high-tech data gathering and analysis and more than 500 hours of work to remove old overpaint and varnish, repair structural materials and restore areas where paint was lost due to flaking and abrasion, the institution said in a statement Thursday.

“Now, minute shades of color, fine brushstroke textures, and nuanced details of the famous figure of a young man in a blue satin costume, as well as the landscape in which he stands, are once again legible and closer to what Gainsborough intended,” it said.

Huntington President Karen R. Lawrence said the painting has been the star of its collections since it opened as the first old masters museum in the Los Angeles area in 1928.

“The Blue Boy” will be returned to public display on March 26.

The Huntington is located in San Marino, about 10 miles (16 kilometers) northeast of downtown Los Angeles.

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