Amsterdam publishes report into painting’s ‘botched’ restoration

Two reports into the botched restoration of the Barnet Newman painting Who’s afraid of red, yellow and blue III have been made public by Amsterdam city council after a court order.

The reports were kept secret to stop relatives of the restorer going to court and claiming damages, the Parool reports. But after years of legal proceedings led by art historian Jhim Lamoree, the Council of State ruled earlier this month the reports should be published.

The painting, one of a series of four painted between 1966 and 1970, was slashed by a visitor to Amsterdam’s Stedelijk modern art museum in 1986. In 1991 the restoration by Daniel Goldreyer was completed for a total cost of up to $400,000.


The museum’s experts were highly criticial of the restoration work, saying the painting no longer resembled the original. Two reports were carried out into claims the painting had been gone over with a roller, rather than individual paint brush strokes.


The conclusions were published in 1992, stating that the canvas had indeed been painted over. Goldreyer went on the attack and threatened the city with a massive damages claim to protect his reputation.

Five years later, the claim was settled. Goldreyer died in 2009, but the reports were kept secret because the city council feared his family would go ahead with a massive damages claim if they were made public.

According to the Volkskrant, the reports state that because Goldreyer used a different paint in his work, the original painting has been ‘destroyed for ever’.


Although the painting is still in the Stedelijk Museum’s collection, it is no longer on display.

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