“The most essential thing to know about color is whether it is fugitive or permanent, poisonous or non-poisonous. A fugitive color is one that fades or diminishes from the hue recorded at the time of painting, after exposure to light, either in a long or short duration of time. Fugitive color should be avoided if the work is desired for permanent exhibition, but can be used indiscriminately if the work is of a temporary nature, or for reproduction.” Excerpt by Frank Atkinson in Scene Painting and Bulletin Art (1916, page 16)
Scottish Rite Scenery Collections were intended as works of a “temporary nature.” Scenic artists selected many colors for their vibrancy, not their permanency. These large-scale artworks were never intended as part of a permanent collection. All of the painted collections that I have restored over the years show signs of fading and the proof is what remained hidden under sandwich battens. When the battens at the top and bottom of each drop are removed, brilliant colors reappear and show their original vibrancy.