WASHINGTON (AP) — Sixteen paintings by American artist Gilbert Stuart of some of the nation's founding fathers and other figures are showing their true colors for the first time in decades through a major conservation project at the National Gallery of Art.
The project is restoring the original appearance of Stuart's portraits of people including presidents George Washington and John Adams. Gallery conservators have been painstakingly removing yellowed varnish from Stuart's paintings to reveal true flesh tones and clothing colors that had been hidden by a discolored old protective coating.
Conservators told The Associated Press the work may reveal some new discoveries about Stuart's work. His "Vaughan-Sinclair" portrait of the nation's first president from 1795 may actually be a more finished painting from an earlier time than originally thought. It will likely draw interest from Stuart researchers, they said.
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