The twin sisters Jill and Ellen Keppens are inseparable: they share a house, a car and even a job. Together restoration, they are paintings of inestimable value. “We like to work together. It only becomes difficult when we go to the middle working towards.’
Jill and Ellen Keppens stand next to each other, with their distinctive curl, a magnifying glass before their eyes and a cotton swab in the hand. Meticulously they work on a great work of Jacob Jordaens in a …
Jill and Ellen Keppens stand next to each other, with their distinctive curl, a magnifying glass before their eyes and a cotton swab in the hand. Meticulously they work on a great work of Jacob Jordaens in a depot of the KMSKA (Royal Museum for Fine Arts Antwerp (kmska), hiding in the port of Antwerp. The ladies working against the clock, because they need to be ready for an exhibition in Venice.
The MUSEUM recently launched a monthly vlog about that restorations, in which the siblings, monozygotic twins, play the leading role. Jill is working on the right side, Ellen works to the left. “We like to work together, and that’s going well, we keep each to our side of the painting,” says Jill. ‘It is only more difficult when we go to the middle-working and we are on a very small area to sit. If one person in the light of the other blocks, have anyone here place clear’, adds Ellen.
A ‘package deal’, as they describe themselves. “When it really should be, we also do individual orders, but it is just much more fun to work together. We know what we can do for each other.’ Though it is partly out of practical considerations. ‘We only have one car, ” says Jill. Because the two except in Antwerp also regularly commands received from Bruges, belgium, they decided also to be there together to go live.
The sisters have clearly fun if they are together works of art under the hands. ‘It is a very special honor that we are masters not only of close view, but also study it, touch it and restore it. That we together may do it, makes it more fun.’
While the thick, yellow layer of varnish to remove the work of Jordaens, do they also have a number of discoveries. So they see that in 1951, however, what is freer with the brush was handled. A kind of fotoshop or plastic surgery avant la lettre, really. ‘The character ‘Psyche’, a naked woman is central in the painting, was in 1951, fuller breasts, and her arms and abdomen were downsized. It can’t be otherwise than a male restaurateur have been, ” says Ellen, laughing. ‘Such adjustments view and we discuss. Which are valuable to maintain and which to delete? We both want to be as close as possible to the original work.”
Trouble with the security
Rather, it is by chance that Jill and Ellen in the art rolled out. “We didn’t really have an artistic family, but our interest was there from childhood. We urged our parents to go to museums.”
It was in the beginning hard work to get enough contracts. The first great command to remember the sisters yet, because it was also a great discovery. “It was a work attributed to Jan Steen, which in itself was good. But then we started the restoration we found the signature that confirmed that it actually is a Jan Steen. That was really fantastic.”
At the weekend, the brush just to play. ‘We’ll paint still like, but after a week we have been meaning to something totally different to do, such as dancing for example. Then we will also not soon go to a museum or exhibition pull. We always want to be close to the paintings, and then the security nervous.”