In the summer of 2022, James McNeill Whistler’s masterpiece underwent its first major restoration in thirty years.
Prior to this year, the Peacock Room had undergone two large-scale conservation projects during its time in Washington, DC, first in the 1940s and then in the early 1990s, when a team of ten conservators and scientists performed in-depth scientific analysis and conservation treatment over a four-year period. Their work brought to light significant artistic details that had been obscured by use, pollution, light exposure, environmental changes, and earlier treatments.
As one of the museum’s most visited spaces, this remarkable room had accrued its share of wear and tear since its last treatment. This year’s project focused on cleaning all of the painted and gilded surfaces as well as on stabilizing the shutters, which are occasionally opened to visitors so they can experience the space in daylight. Museum conservators documented their work on this important project in the posts below.