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Analysis of art can reveal hidden details important to authentication and value


Most art collector’s dream of discovering a lost masterpiece and I have had some “wonderful” stories and situations come through my front door. While many are expecting to hit the lottery (see my episode on Keeping Up With The Kardashians on the Media Page), many are digging for hidden details that uncover lost stories from the past.

Infrared technology often is the tool of choice but x-radiography is also used, mostly in older paintings. This short video demonstrates that no technology is the magic bullet in discovering the lost details but that it takes knowledge and using, sometimes, all the tools available.

Ultraviolet visible fluorescence was used in this case and the celebrity owner (Balky from Perfect Strangers) closes the video with a short testimonial.

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Posted in Research and Authentication | Tagged | Leave a comment

Historic Oil Painting of Russian Royalty Slashed and Painted Over But Not Forgotten


Over the decades we have, in our art conservation and restoration laboratory repaired rips (bayonet slashing) on portraits of Russian royal family members, discovered forgotten Russian master artists and worked on an important portrait by Ilya Rapin… but we have yet to find a portrait of a Tsar! Take a quick look at this story:

Painted Out Russian Royalty Rediscovered During Art Restoration

Art conservators unveiled this week a recently cleaned and re-discovered portrait of the last Tsar of Russia, after it was cleaned of over-paint that obliterated the portrait on purpose.

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Posted in Painting on canvas | Tagged | Leave a comment

Art Conservation UV Analysis of Modern Painting Before Sale At Auction


Standard operating procedure and due diligence for art collectors, curators etc should be the inspection of the artwork , BEFORE ACQUISITION, with a black light (also known as a UV light). But contemporary and modern art often pose weird and different situations that may require a second opinion. Hence, the reason why I was invited to visit Bonhams and Butterfields Auction House the other day to look at a painting:

Bonhams and Butterfields is intent on having all aspects of condition figured out for potential clients and consults with experts in art research, art conservation and painting restoration, art appraisals and art dealers when appropriate. This video illustrates their level of trust in these experts to give a solid, trustworthy second opinion.

For other methods of analyzing art (and doing due diligence) see this YouTube playlist: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLLxFeD9MHd7RZkd3i1YQXBRiHdCQb7qS7

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Posted in Consultations, Research and Authentication | Tagged | 19 Comments

Family Heirloom Painting Restoration in Salt Lake City – Testimonial


“What is a painting worth” is a subject I’ve written on several times; there’s financial value, emotional value and historical value. It’s doubly nice when your emotional ties or historical connection, like with a family heirloom, is also a really nice work of art. Affecting value, is the condition and the needed oil painting restoration (painting conservation, art conservation, art restoration) like rip repair, cleaning a painting, flaking paint repair.

This family heirloom and collectible painting, inherited from the owner’s grandmother was painted in the 1890s and was still gorgeous but suffering badly from all three of the above problems. Here’s a photo of the flaking paint that was caused by the canvas getting wet, dripped across the back probably unprotected in storage.

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Posted in In Lab, Painting on canvas | Tagged | 26 Comments

19th c. Oil Painting Restoration Caveats and Tips for Vintage Art Collectors – Maritime Painting Exam Notes


It may surprise you that many of the paintings of ships that highlight a particular ship with its flags and name clearly visible are actually a portrait of the ship. Portraits of ships were very popular at the middle and the end of the 1800s. It is also interesting to know that many of these paintings of ships hung in the cabins of the ship in the painting. Therefore some of these paintings have had serious time at sea.

It is very common, therefore, that maritime paintings have been in very bad conditions and circumstances. Bouncing around the ocean along with the ship is only part of the problem. Of course high humidity and actual water are serious problems. And you can imagine as things swing around the cabin in high seas how easy it is that these paintings on canvas get punctured and ripped. If you don’t already know, 19th century oil paintings (of all kinds of paintings from all countries) have extremely brittle fabric as they age… and rip easily.

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Posted in Painting on canvas | Tagged , | 35 Comments

Art Restoration of Paintings of Old Spanish Missions of California by Edwin Deakin in the Santa Barbara Mission Archive and Library


Click here for short video of the painting conservation lab tour: http://www.FineArtConservationLab.com

Click here for the website of Santa Barbara Mission Archives and Library: http://www.sbmal.org

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Posted in Painting on canvas | Tagged , | 35 Comments

The Art Restoration Of Texas’s Most Famous Lost Public Art By The Most Famous Texan Artist You Never Heard Of


By Jasmine Brand, Guest Blogger, HistorianJasmin Brand

James Buchanan Winn, Jr. (1905-1979), or better known as Buck Winn, was a Texas muralist, sculptor, architect, and teacher and has been said to have shaped American twentieth century art, especially in the South West. He achieved recognition in his lifetime as an artist and was commissioned to create all different kinds of art works including murals and sculptures, mostly for his home state of Texas. Despite this acknowledgement many of his original works have been lost or destroyed while many others remain in storage and away from the public eye.

Photo of Buck Winn

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Posted in Murals | Tagged , , , | 32 Comments

Does This Painting Need To Be Cleaned?


Isn’t this girl pretty? She was painted about 1860. Note the cleaning test of varnish removal on her neck (and on the pearls). You can see that she has more problems than just yellowed varnish (in fact she has several patches from past restorations) but we’ll only discuss the cleaning question of oil paintings in this article.

Clean an oil painting

Does this old oil painting need to be cleaned?

A question that comes up often with curators at museums, dealers and auction houses is, “Does this painting I’m looking at, need cleaning?” Well, that’s not a “yes” or “no” question.

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Posted in In Lab, Painting on canvas | Tagged | Leave a comment

Virginia Haskins Panizzon Painting Conservator


Those that connect with Fine Art Conservation Laboratories already know Virginia, probably. She’s good at everything, including connecting with clients. A business properly run is a “team sport” and here’s a fun illustration of why:

You may find interesting Virginia’s background… here’s her resume.

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Posted in Consultations, In Lab | Tagged | 1 Comment

After Mural Restoration in California The Horse Breakers by Fletcher Martin is again in Lamesa, TX!


By Wilson Jackson, Guest Blogger

A valuable Depression Era oil-on-canvas-glued-to-a-wall mural called “The Horse Breakers” by renown artist Fletcher Martin, painted way back in 1939, is back in it’s original community of Lamesa, TX after it was removed from a wall in a building slated for demolition and sent for restoration to a professional art conservation lab in Santa Barbara, California. Most people in Lamesa didn’t even know about the notable painting, although its been present on the same wall where it was originally placed since 1939. I guess you had to be a real “ol’ timer” to remember it.

But The Horse Breakers broke into the news when it was reported in several media outlets to have been taken away for mural restoration last September 2015. People were unaware that such a mural existed! This is mainly because the building where this mural was located has been vacant for more than the past two decades and it had not been in public view for the past 30 years. Back then, the building was a federal post office building, which was owned by the Lamesa Independent School District. But as the building was not utilized, this mural was hidden from public view. It was probably a good thing too, given the value.

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Posted in Consultations, Historic Buildings - Construction Sites, In Lab, Murals, Travel | Tagged | 20 Comments


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