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Re-cleaning of 19th Century Salon Painting Gave Marvelous Results

Cleaning a painting is the most common question we get. But interestingly, it seems that 80% of the projects that enter our doors are paintings that have been worked on before and have been damaged or have fallen short of the right kind of job. Such is the case with this wonderful, engaging 19th century realistic painting of a pretty girl all tangled up with a couple of attitudinal parrots. It had been worked on twice! Though the painting is in good condition, the previous cleaning just did not get the job done and woefully left behind a layer of gray that has muted the potentially gorgeous glow of this wonderful Salon Painting.

FACL, Inc.

The artist is Emil Villa (French, 1836-1900), Une Querelle (or The Quarrel), oil on canvas, 32 x 44 in., 48 x 59 in. including frame (not original but gorgeous!).

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Badly Ripped Gorgeous Oil Painting by Colin Campbell Cooper Repaired

The people that did this had to not know that this painting in good condition was worth at least $75,000! I mean, who treat beautiful art like this? Well… maybe I should answer my own question as I HAVE GOT STORIES and true confessions! Well, anyway, here is the quick video of the painting’s resurrection and thankful return to it’s former glory…

Professional art restoration ethics and practice, painting conservation grade materials, art connoisseurship and expertise all contribute to the long term results of halting deterioration, stabilizing the trauma of damage, restoring the beauty and original nature of the artwork and ensuring the long term durability of the procedures.

So, do the art conservation treatments required for the repair of this painting add back the value to the damaged work of art? Is the money worth it or is it a good investment? All questions I hear often…

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Posted in In Lab | Tagged , | 23 Comments

Art Damaged Over and Over…

by Laura Kadi, Art Conservation Intern Laura Kadi Art Conservation Intern

When we think of accidents, we think of random, sudden events that occur at unexpected moments in our lives. Kids run around and carelessly knock into an expensive painting. A water pipe breaks, damaging all the homeowner’s hanging artwork. However, some accidents happen that, unfortunately, go unnoticed, for long periods of time. What could have just started as a small, fixable accident ends up creating more damage than it should have because it occurs where no one is paying attention.

This unfortunate incident happened to the owners of this painting below. The painting below was mostly water damaged, but also covered in thick layers of dust and grime. What happened to this painting was not the result of just one accident, but was the consequence of a build up of several damaging effects over a long period of time. Forgotten in storage somewhere, maybe water dripping from a pipe combined with humid temperatures and a dusty environment damaged this painting badly.

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

Art conservation treatments are in the process. An update is posted after the newspaper article below…

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

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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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Posted in Historic Buildings - Construction Sites, In Lab | Tagged | 3 Comments

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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