Local humidification was used to gently relax the paint layers that were suffering from planar deformation and showing signs of delamination. A moistened section of felt was placed inside a polyethylene chamber to gradually raise the humidity. As the painting remained in a vertical position throughout the treatment, magnets were used to hold the chamber in place during humidification.
Additional tests were performed in the upper half of the painting to assess the condition of the varnish. Changes in temperature and humidity can accelerate degradation processes in the varnish, creating areas that appear "frosty" or undersaturated/blanched.
Mixtures of organic solvents were used to remove most of the superficial varnish layers. However, areas that were covered with thick applications of overpaint required the use of solvent gels to gently swell and remove the unoriginal restoration, revealing the original paint layers beneath (Pictured here: Maggie Bearden).
The left and right edges are the most damaged areas of the painting and were therefore heavily overpainted during various restoration campaigns. A combination of free solvents and solvent gels were used to remove the darkened and discolored overpaint. This detail clearly shows how the overpaint was used to obscure old tears and losses to the painting layer throughout the torso of the standing soldier.