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Cardenal I

Restored work

Rafael Ruiz Balerdi (San Sebastián, 1934–Alicante, 1992)

oil on canvas. 193,2 x 128,2 cm

Balerdi trained as a painter at the San Sebastián School of Arts & Crafts, at Madrid’s San Fernando Fine Arts School and at the Madrid Circle of Fine Arts. In 1955 he became friends with Eduardo Chillida, who helped him to discover the European avant-garde movements in Europe, which led him to abstract art. In 1956 he joined the art informel movement. Although he soon broke away, the movement would leave an indeleble mark on his art. In 1966, he was also a founder member of the local Gaur group.

On this occasion Cardinal I (oil on canvas 193.2 x 128.2 cm) was chosen from the Museum’s extensive collection of Balerdi’s works. First the stretcher had to be cleared of insects by anoxia (which involves eliminating oxygen and substituting it with an inert gas inside an airtight chamber) before a long tear in the canvas could be repaired. The tear had been treated previously, but cohesion and stability were deficient. Controlled heat and steam softened the adhesives and enabled deformations to be corrected. After a layer of dirt had been cleaned off the surface and the stretcher, the painting was given a conservation frame with suitable perimeter protection.