Exhibitions Conservation Ecuador

Prints of Louvre masterpieces found covered in fungus

A collection of historic prints sent to Ecuador rediscovered in storage and restored for display

Visitors see the restored prints in Quito

A collection of prints illustrating well-known works in the Louvre, rediscovered after years in storage at Ecuador’s Casa de la Cultura, during which time they became covered in mould, have been restored and are on shown in Quito.

Nearly 90 prints were brought to Ecuador some time ago as teaching aids for students of the country’s School of Fine Arts, which was founded in 1904. Elisabeth Vigée Le Brun’s Madame Lebrun with Daughter, 1789, and Eugene Delacroix’s Barque of Dante, 1822, are among the works reproduced.

At some point, the school donated the works to the cultural institute, where they seem to have been forgotten. When the works were found over a year ago, most of them were covered in fungus, reports the Ecuadorian newspaper La Hora. The director of the museum, Guido Díaz, told La Hora that it was “almost inevitable for them to be found like that, since some of the works are from the 17th century”.

After months of careful restoration and research, assisted by the Louvre, highlights from the collection are on public display for the first time in a show that opened last week at the Museo de Arte Moderno at the Casa de la Cultura (until 11 November).

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