Preserving the past at Brazil’s Museum of São Paulo (MASP)

Our partnership with the Museu de Arte de São Paulo Assis Chateaubriand (MASP) in Brazil started back in 2021. The collaboration with this world famous cultural institute began when we helped conserve paintings by a Dutch master from the Golden Age. More recently, the relationship entered an exciting new phase with the restoration of the museum building using our International brand.

In 2022, AkzoNobel sponsored the restoration of three paintings at MASP by the celebrated Dutch portrait painter, Frans Hals. Dating from the 1630s, Maria Pietersdochter Olycan, Captain Andries van Hoorn, and Seated Officer were acquired by MASP in 1951 and now form an important part of the museum’s permanent collection. But over the years, paints and varnishes from previous restorations had oxidized and darkened the appearance of the paintings.

A team of scientists and art historians from AkzoNobel, MASP, Frans Hals Museum in the Netherlands, the Institute of Physics at the University of São Paulo (IFUSP) and the Federal Institute of Rio de Janeiro (IFRJ), got together to pool their expertise and help preserve these masterpieces for future generations to enjoy. 

MASP on renovation

Credit: Pedro Truffi

X-ray fluorescence, radiography and infrared reflectography were used to reveal the mysteries invisible to the naked eye, such as modifications that the painter made when creating the artworks. Analyzing the painter’s techniques and how materials might have degraded over the centuries gave scientists and art historians an insight into how the portraits would have looked when Hals put the finishing touches to his portraits.

"As experts in paints and coatings since 1792, we know the importance of color fidelity,” explains Daniel Campos, Director of AkzoNobel Latin America. “We’re always innovating with our products and application techniques to generate consistently accurate and long-lasting results. So we’re very pleased to participate in this project in Brazil.

The latest phase of our ongoing partnership with MASP involves using products from our International brand to restore the exterior of the museum’s celebrated Lina Bo Bardi building. This iconic concrete and glass structure is a landmark in the history of 20th century Brazilian architecture – and an important tourist attraction for the city. Our team of colorists has succeeded in matching “MASP Red,” so that the building’s original color can be replicated during repainting. Our International paint ensures that MASP’s external painted surfaces are easy to clean and weather resistant. It also offers excellent color and gloss retention to meet the building’s highest visual and aesthetic standards.

Housing one of the most important collections of European art in the Southern hemisphere, MASP boasts more than 11,000 exhibits. Its paintings, sculptures, artefacts, photos, videos and clothing from Europe, Africa, Asia and the Americas bear witness to centuries of artistic endeavor that art lovers can enjoy far beyond tomorrow. We’re proud to help our partners at MASP to paint a brighter future.

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