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Maynard Dixon Painting Restoration, Art Conservation

Recently, a wonderful cowboy painting by Maynard Dixon was rediscovered after being hid away from the public for the last 110 years. It was found by super sluth art dealer Steven Stern Fine Arts. Here is a quick 2min. video of the art restoration cleaning of the painting:

I’ve been working on paintings by Maynard Dixon since working with Dr. Wesley Burnside in 1978. He published the first book on Dixon.

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Military Memorabilia of WW II – Artwork from the Coast Guard

By Scott M. Haskins, Art Conservator

World War II MemorabiliaRecently we received a contract from the United States Coast Guard to first consult with them about the needs of a collection of 29 works of art on paper then to do the art conservation treatments that are so badly needed.

Besides the very interesting images done in different types of pencils, watercolor, inks and pencil, there are some great lessons to be learned by collectors about what NOT to use when sticking, gluing, framing and storing. The suggestions and tips I’ll make have an affect on value and long term preservation of these types of historical collectibles.

I’ve put together a quick video blow by of the collection of 29 items…

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Rembrandt’s “Night Watch” is NOT the correct name!!!

Rembrant's Night Watch

Some of you may remember that Rembrandt’s Night Watch was damaged by a vandal with a knife a number of years ago. The art conservation of the damaged masterpiece made for a very interesting documentary (if you understand Dutch!) in which it was surprising to see that with the cleaning/removal of the very discolored varnish, the painting transformed from the “Night Watch” into the changing of the guards at noon day!!! And did you know that the painting is HUGE?!

For an interesting review of how it changed during the painting restoration click here.

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California Impressionist Guy Rose Hidden Signature Found with IR on Newly Discovered Painting

A serene painting by the California Impressionist master painter Guy Rose of French Haystacks done about 1910 walked into my lab today for an examination. The painting was in a private collection that, a couple of months ago, has passed to heirs… who admit they don’t know anything about art and are not collectors. Their parents had bought the painting in about 1935. As part of their due diligence in settling the estate they called me to give the painting a thorough look over. I pulled it out of its frame for the first time since its been framed (presumably in the 1930s) to make sure that a signature wasn’t hid by the rabbet… but no signature.

The painting has a bit of grime but is otherwise in very good original condition. UV inspection showed no previous restorations. This technique for inspecting a painting is required due diligence art analysis that anyone can learn to do. It is a basic investigative examination performed in art conservation laboratories. For more about utilizing a UV black light click on this link.

For the sake of not leaving any stone unturned, we decided to look at it with the infrared reflectometer. For more on this technique click on this link. I believe that this is the only infrared reflectometer available to the public (not in institutional labs) this side of Chicago? We were surprised and pleased to find that there WAS a signature in the lower right corner! Evidently, Rose had painted the picture and signed it… then later reworked the painting canceling out the signature. I’ve seen it happen many times. The last painting in my lab that had this situation was an Edgar Payne. Its hard to see but here are the two photos of the IR screen.

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“Monuments Men” and “Saving Italy” How did Europe’s great works of art survive the destruction of World War II?

Robert Edsel, author of “Monuments Men” and “Saving Italy” gives you the details and incredible story.

I just download “Saving Italy” in audio format and can’t wait to get into it. But right now, I’m listening to the precursor to this book which is “Monuments Men” which is due to come out in a movie with George Cloonie and Matt Damon this Sept. When the author was gathering info for his book, it became too massive and he couldn’t whiddle it down… so he published the very interesting details of saving Europe’s art during WWII in these two separate books.

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William Sargent Kendall’s “The Artist’s Wife and Daughters” in the lab for Art Conservation Treatments

by Oriana Montemurro, Art Conservator

Artist's Wife with Daughters by William Sargent Kendall

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Lost Leonardo Searched for with Infrared – Its also used to help art collectors find lost signatures – A short video

By Kelly Rose Almeida, Guest Blogger

From Leonardo Da Vinci to your own paintings, this instrument is used to search for hidden treasures within art across the globe.

Every art history class that learns about the beauty of the Renaissance has heard of “The Lost Leonard.”  The story begins like so.  In 1504 Leonardo da Vinci was given the commission by Piero Soderinito to honor the Hall of Five Hundred of the Palazzo Vecchio in Florence, Italy.  His adversary, Michelangelo di Lodovico Buonarroti Simoni, who had just finished his masterpiece David, was designated the opposite wall. Michelangelo chose to depict The Battle of Cascin and had finished a preparatory cartoon but other complications kept him from attempting his fresco. Leonardo chose to portray The Battle of Anghiari. Leonardo not only finished the planning drawings but also began painting his mural. Sadly, he never completed this vision.  Decades later, the chamber was reconstructed, and it was believed that this unfinished mural was lost to the ages.

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Vintage oil painting’s old labels can provide valuable information for art collectors! 3 tips to save them

By Chelsea Padgett, Guest Blogger

Last week a beautiful painting of a lady came into the lab. The back of the painting had fragments of an old ripped apart label. Labels are apart of the painting’s history and can increase the value by providing an interesting insight to the past. This particular label told the story of an exhibition at the Brooklyn Museum in the 1930’s. However, not every story is as obvious.

Below is a label that was brought to us with what looked like just an old hopelessly blank piece of paper. No writing on it… or was there? With infrared technology you can sometimes read old obscured writing… and we at Fine Art Conservation Laboratories happen to have two types of infrared reflectometers. Under the lights and with the aid of the infrared we were able to see that it was an exhibition label from the World’s Fair of 1861. It clearly read, “Richmond, Yorkshire England, James Peale, 1858″

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ShakeOut in California is a Reminder for Art Collectors! 5 Tips and Earthquake Supplies

By Guest Blogger Chelsea Padgett

Are you an art collector? Or even just have antique and collectible valuables. Here’s major help for you!

If you live on the West Coast, chances are you have experienced at least a tremor or a small earthquake and you are fearful of losing or having damaged your cherished collection.  If you have your paintings or mirrors held onto the wall with just a nail that will not suffice in a bigger earthquake… like the one they are expecting in the Great California ShakeOut Take this mirror, which just came into the lab, for example…

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Cleaning a Painting – A discovery process and the “unknown factor”

G.A. Cuomo Fruit Vendors with baby

Fruit Vendors with Baby C. 1880

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