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Historic Paintings of California Missions by Edwin Deakin in the Santa Barbara Mission Archives and Library


The restoration of 22 gorgeous high quality historic paintings of the California Missions by Edwin Deakin in the Santa Barbara Mission Archives and Library (SBMAL) are underway. Director, Dr. Monica Orozco, heads up the efforts with the help of Scott M. Haskins of Fine Art Conservation Laboratories (FACL, Inc.). This article by Elizabeth Stewart brings you up to date:

painting conservation

painting restoration

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Preserving California History: Art Restoration of Historic Paintings of the Missions of CA


Mission by Henry Chapman FordIf you are close to Santa Barbara this Thurs evening (May 22) a truly unique and special evening is planned at the very exclusive Santa Barbara Mission Archives and Library that will highlight important historical art of the Missions of CA. You are invited to attend the evening lecture by me, Scott Haskins, and to be part of the reception afterwards.

Fine Art Conservation Laboratories has been honored by being chosen with the art conservation of the irreplaceable and hugely important historical paintings of the Missions of California by Henry Chapman Ford, Will Sparks and now the complete collection of paintings by Edwin Deakin belonging to the SBMAL.

Interestingly, the Santa Barbara Mission Archives and Library is NOT the archives for the Santa Barbara Mission! Its actually the Archives for ALL THE FRANCISCAN missions that were build by the Padres! Its a rich and interesting depository of information.

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Rip in Painting Results in $350K loss in Value A Painful and Expensive Collector Care Lesson


By Adrian DiUberto, Painting Conservation InternAdrian DiUbaldo Guest Blogger

Vintage oil paintings have always been collected financial assets. But value, and therefore the importance, is not only determined by how much it sells for. Many works of art worth little money contain our histories, myths, memoirs, and definitely our emotions.

A simple but largely ignored collector care tip for your paintings begins with knowing the safety guidelines for hanging artwork.  By “safety” we are talking about the safety of the painting. Well, but not entirely… if your painting comes flying off the wall in a hurricane or earthquake it could be the safety of your family that is at risk. Your paintings, and more, are in jeopardy when they are not hung properly.

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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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