print this page

Conservation Online: Polypropyleen

Development of the website 'From Research to Restoration' (R2R) intended to help prevent the rapid degradation of polypropylene objects.

Objects made of polypropylene (PP) appear to degrade strongly when exposed to light. The future deterioration of other such objects will hopefully be prevented by sharing online the experience gained from the treatment of two tapestries.

Cristina de Casto Gonzalez (RCE, 2006) weaves a polypropylene tapestry dummy.

Cristina de Casto Gonzalez (RCE, 2006) weaves a polypropylene tapestry dummy for testing purposes.

The two tapestries, Fête I and Fête II (1969) by the Dutch textile artist Will Fruytier, were treated. They are both made of polypropylene thread. Due to lack of knowledge about this material, the works have become seriously damaged over the years. Other works by Fruytier's hand were so severely degraded that disposal was the only option.


The results of the tapestries' treatment were documented on the website 'From Research to Restoration' (R2R), which was added to the INCCA platform for the preservation of modern art. This website is especially intended to make curators and conservators aware that polypropylene (PP) strongly degrades when exposed to light with no UV protection. The site provides insight into the best ways to preserve artwork of such modern materials as the experience with the two Fruytier works demonstrates. 


Under the Accessibility knowledge programme the creators of R2R investigated what professionals and students thought of this website by adding a response option to the feedback page of the website. The target audience was also sent a 10-point questionnaire through the INCCA platform. The feedback resulted in some adjustments to the website. Generally, however, respondents were positive and praised the usefulness of a website with diverse information about a particular conservation issue. Almost all respondents said they would return when they need information on polypropylene or were treating a work containing polypropylene.  

About the Artist

Wil Fruytier (1915-2007) was born Wilhelmina Elisabeth Maria van der Lande. As a textile artist she lived and worked in Amsterdam. Fruytier was especially prolific between 1950 and 1980 and is considered to be one of the pioneers of textile art. At first she wove tapestries of which the artistically strongest are her hangings made of raw rope. Fruytier called herself a 'textile architect' because she regarded her large hangings as spatial creations. In 1961 she participated in the Venice Biennale with patchwork blankets. Her work is represented in the collections of Delta Lloyd Amsterdam, TU Eindhoven, Bouwfonds and the RCE, amongst others.