Friday, July 17, 2020

Academy Board

During the 19th century, the plein-air painting movement was fostered by several key innovations in art supplies, such as collapsible paint tubes, metal-ferrule paintbrushes, lacquered metal paint boxes, canvas board, and millboard.

Another kind of board known as "academy board" was a popular surface for oil studies. According to Alexander Katlan, "as its name implies, academy boards were an inexpensive, thin, semirigid support created for the professional artist's use in quick oil sketches and studies. They were a cheaper, disposable alternative for an oil painting support than prestretched canvas or wooden panels."

Academy boards were manufactured from pulp board and primed with a lead pigment in a light gray or white color. To solve problems with warping, they were sometimes primed equally on the back surface. Various manufacturers offered alternatives with a canvas or thin fabric surface, and with other priming colors.
Source: The American Artist's Tools and Materials for On-Site Oil Sketching by Alexander Katlan, Journal of the American Institute for Conservation


Virginia Fhinn said...

Are works painted on Academy Board still around or did they deteriorate?

Lou said...

Thanks for posting James. I'd always mistakenly believed "academy board" was just another name for Crescent Board or similar other multi-ply heavy cardboard.

Unknown said...

Virginia, academy boards appear to have been fairly durable! On the whole, my antique academy boards have held up better than my antique paintings on canvas.