google.com, pub-1971575927446776, DIRECT, f08c47fec0942fa0 “THE BLUE BOY” IS REINSTALLED AFTER MAJOR CONSERVATION PROJECT  - Connoisseur Magazine
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“THE BLUE BOY” IS REINSTALLED AFTER MAJOR CONSERVATION PROJECT 

Written by Aksel Ritenis

“THE BLUE BOY” IS REINSTALLED
AFTER MAJOR CONSERVATION PROJECT

While the Huntington Art Gallery has not yet reopened due to COVID-19,
Gainsborough’s famous masterpiece is back on the wall, luminous and awaiting visitors

side by side blue boy.jpg
Side-by-side comparison of Thomas Gainsborough’s The Blue Boy.
Pre-conservation (left), post-conservation (right). Photo: Christina Milton O’Connell.
The Huntington Library, Art Museum, and Botanical Gardens.

SAN MARINO, Calif.—One of the most famous works at The Huntington Library, Art Museum, and Botanical Gardens, The Blue Boy (ca. 1770) by Thomas Gainsborough (1727–1788), has been reinstalled in the Thornton Portrait Gallery and will be on view for visitors when the Huntington Art Gallery is allowed to reopen. The painting was originally scheduled for installation in March 2020 but was delayed due to mandatory COVID-related museum closures. Now, when visitors are allowed to return, they will see a masterpiece resplendent after an extensive 18-month initiative to analyze, conserve, and restore the work. 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.

“Gainsborough’s Blue Boy has inspired generations of artists and scholars, and absolutely captivated the public imagination since it was first displayed publicly in 1770,” said Huntington President Karen R. Lawrence. “As stewards of this iconic masterpiece, we are thrilled with the results of this landmark conservation project that has restored the painting’s original brilliance and ensured its well-being for years to come. We can now see the vivid palette and the bold composition much more clearly than in decades past, and we cannot wait to share the painting with our visitors again, once it is safe to do so.”

About the author

Aksel Ritenis

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