Woman with Mandolin, circa 1900, by Jules Chéret (1836-1932); lithograph from Les Maitres de l’Affiche series printed by Imprimerie Chaix, Paris. Georgetown University Art Collection; Booth Family Center for Special Collections.
Six lithographs from Les Maitres de l’Affiche were conserved in 2014, including this water-stained print by Jules Chéret. Paper made in the late 19th and early 20th centuries tends to be especially brittle and fragile today, due to the acidic materials used in its production. In addition, all six lithographs had been damaged from light exposure over many years. To conserve the series, the conservators surface-cleaned the prints to remove dirt and washed them to reduce acidity. They filled paper losses with non-acidic paper toned to match the print colors, and they mended tears with Japanese paper and wheat starch paste. Also, the conservators took care when flattening the prints to protect the embossed stamps that designated the Maitres de l’Affiche series. You can see another print (Woman with Flowers by Paul Berthon) from this conserved set on exhibit in the fifth-floor Special Collections Gallery.