Fine Art Conservation Laboratories (FACL, Inc.) Fine art conservation, painting conservation, art restoration Wed, 01 Mar 2017 08:17:31 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Fine art conservation, painting conservation, art restoration Fine Art Conservation Laboratories (FACL, Inc.) Fine art conservation, painting conservation, art restoration Fine Art Conservation Laboratories (FACL, Inc.) Art Conservation Painting Restoration Client Testimonials from Orange County, Los Angeles, Santa Barbara, Las Vegas, Salt Lake City Wed, 01 Mar 2017 06:48:19 +0000 Continue reading ]]> Nothing is as powerful as a spontaneous testimonial from a satisfied client. But can you trust the word or opinion of another person? Perhaps they don’t know the difference between a stretcher bar and a strainer? But, WHAT IF you had LOTS OF TESTIMONIALS, from collectors, dealers, corporate collections, government officials, auction houses, appraisers, etc that all gave the same good report? Put them all together and would that give you the confidence to at least call and ask some questions?

You see, there’s more to choosing a painting conservator than knowing if they can match paint colors. What if he/she is an excellent craftsman but couldn’t organize there way out of a shoe box? Or what if they can’t manage cash flow in their business? Or what if they put people like you as their last priority?

How long would it take you to call 10,20, 30 people to ask for a referral? Do you have time? On this page are some video testimonials and more links for the answers you are looking for. After all, you just want some assurance before you make the call yourself to ask your own questions, right? Note in this video that there are customers from Los Angeles, Orange County, Santa Barbara, Las Vegas, Salt Lake City… all places we do on location estimates and evaluations and also offer pick up and delivery on a regular basis.

Clients were helped with water damaged artwork, smoke damaged artwork, ripped oil paintings repaired, mural restoration, cleaning a dirty oil painting, analysis of artwork. We work with private individuals, insurance companies, disaster response companies, the trade, institutions, government contracts etc.

Here are many other video testimonials on YouTube from our clients:

Call us to discuss your questions 805 564 3438

Smoke Damaged 19th Century Oil Painting in its original frame brought back to life with a careful and expert cleaning.

Smoke Damaged 19th Century Oil Painting in its original frame brought back to life with a careful and expert cleaning.

We have been working with clients in these areas for decades…

Do you live in Orange County?
Do you live in the LA area?
If you live in the Santa Barbara area?
See info for Las Vegas:
If you live in the Salt Lake City area:

Scott M. Haskins, Virginia Panizzon, Oriana Montemurro. Gaby Irving,

Art Conservators 805 564 3438 or

Preventable damage seems like a disaster... but listen to the testimonial in the video.

Preventable damage seems like a disaster… but listen to the testimonial in the video.

Here are some recent written testimonials

There isn’t anybody in LA that is even a close second in quality of work, your expertise and the service your company provides. You always treat my clients the way I would and represent me well. I always think of you for “fine work” on restoration and art conservation questions for fine art. Thanks again.  See you soon!!! Rita Amendola, Art Consultant, Appraiser, Los Angeles

Thank you for everything today! You and your teams service, the pickups and deliveries and your vast knowledge of art and contacts that you share with me are very much appreciated. Greg Colley, Art Dealer

As always…that was a terrific talk and inspiring! Chatter in the car on the way back to campus was enthusiastic. For most students this was likely the first time they ever encountered your profession let alone thought about the complex layers of conserving a work of art.  Nicely done!  Thank you! Judy Larson, Museum Director, Westmont College, Santa Barbara, CA

There is a fabulous restorer in Santa Barbara – Fine Art Conservation Labs. Scott Haskins travels all over the world to museums/collectors to repair/clean/restore paintings. I suggest you contact them – they will do an amazing, incredible job of fixing your art’s problems. We use them all the time and would not go to anyone else.  Diane Waterhouse, Art Dealer, Santa Barbara

The shipped paintings arrived and your team did such a fantastic job with them.  I bought another painting on Saturday that I’d like to ship directly to you from Houston.   The painting is 30”x40”.  I know you guys will do a great job! I’m also looking forward to seeing the Donkey painting when it’s done.  Thanks again!!! Karen, Private Collector,

I have had Scott do art restoration for me since 2003. He’s the bomb and always does a great job. In fact, I always give him my difficult projects. I shop in Europe and he’s saved my butte a couple of times when I bought stuff that was not in as good a shape as I thought. He has also helped me with research and analysis on authentication projects. Use him. You will not be sorry. Rob, Costa Mesa, CA

My wife and I do some collecting and we feel we were really lucky to have met FACL at the LA Art Show at the LA Convention Center a couple of years ago. Scott’s whole office is a great group to work with and we appreciate the door to door service. Mostly we expected to talk to Scott about cleaning etc our paintings but Scott has helped us know what to do to earthquake proof our paintings, collectibles, crystal etc. His instructional video has been really good and we have appreciated the personal instruction/lesson. So, thanks Scott for all you are doing for us. We enjoy very much our business and association. Mike, Tustin, CA

I bought an old painting while on a European trip many years ago that seemed very discolored or dark to me. So I gave it to Scott (who came and evaluated it at my home, then took it and redelivered it… convenient!). I had gotten Scott’s name from the director of the Laguna Arts Festival for whom Scott does consulting, lectures and workshops. I was so pleased and surprised at the total transformation and good work. It was done on time and on budget. He even threw in a few free touch ups on the frame. Thanks Scott and the rest of you at FACL. Jan in Laguna Beach, CA

You have an impressive list of clients you deal with. I’m amazed that a restorer not only preserves, conserves and repairs paintings but offers innumerable services as a consultant, a legal art expert and even advices how to save the stuff from a disaster. I guess I had the wrong… or outdated, idea of what restoration of art is. Really, it’s admirable and thanks for this really interesting website. Eva, Newport Beach, CA

It’s always fun to see the temples you work in, and I thoroughly enjoy finding out who the original artists were on the temple murals. As you are an art historian, I hope you have enjoyed my book and that I have done justice to the subject. Also, I am thoroughly jealous of what you get to do!  Brian Olsen,

I am touched that you took the trouble to reply – thank you! It is as I thought, but mother hoped there would be a solution to the problem. Thanks again and best wishes, Galina- New Haven, Connecticut

Owned by a master restorer of harpsichords, see the testimonial in the video

Owned by a master restorer of harpsichords, see the testimonial in the video

Contact info
Scott M. Haskins, Virginia Panizzon, Oriana Montemurro. Gaby Irving,

Art Conservators 805 564 3438 or

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Smoke Damage on Artwork – We work as a sub to disaster response companies Sat, 28 Jan 2017 17:32:53 +0000 Continue reading ]]> Liability during clean up is a big issue with smoke damage on paintings and other artwork-collectible objects. I mean, we are specialized in treating paintings and all our professional art restoration services center around doing this correctly. How can an unprofessional person, hitting things with a sponge, do the same kind of quality work? Here’s an example:

We are located in sunny Southern California and even on this winter day, it was close to 70 degrees. When AIG insurance company and Elite-Restoration Inc. (disaster response company) agreed to fly me to Sun Valley, Idaho to inspect and estimate 40-60 smoke damaged items… I was unprepared psychologically for the -10 degree temperature when I walked out of my hotel in the morning. But traveling to help people get the right quality professional help is part our business.Scott M. Haskins consulting on smoke damage artwork in Ketchum, Idaho

For the on-site inspection I used the inventory (with a photo) that Elite-Restoration already had in hand and added to it my observations. When we opened up the storage facility, it stunk to high heaven! I reviewed each of the 40 framed items suggesting the ways that the smell could be permanently eliminated. Also of interest to the owners was a list of “pre-existing conditions” that could be worked on while they were being cleaned but for which AIG would not be responsible for paying but would help to “dial-in” the items to their best condition.

framed collectibles smoke damaged

With my art conservation proposal and budget in hand, Elite-Restoration and AIG had a professional tool to help manage their project efficiently and to help take liability off their shoulders. In this case, the responsibility of this clean up job was given to FACL to perform which distanced Elite-Restoration from the liability of working on the valuable artwork and the items the family felt emotional about saving in its best condition. After all, the goal is to get back to pre-damaged condition and restore peace of mind to the insured.

Jaryn McKnight, Area Manager, Elite Restoration Inc.
621 South Main Unit B
Bellevue, Idaho 83313
(208) 788-9463 office
(208) 721-3830 cell
(208) 734-6304 fax

FACL – Scott M. Haskins, Virginia Panizzon, Oriana Montemurro, Art Conservators 805 564 3438

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People ask me, “Do I still do the painting restoration work?” Sat, 07 Jan 2017 21:48:16 +0000 Continue reading ]]> By Scott M. Haskins, Head of ConservationArt conservation forensic investigation

I’m asked fairly often, since I travel so much, do I ever do the actual art conservation work on paintings. The short answer is:

  1. If you count the treatments we do on murals then, yes, I do more sq. ft of painting restoration work than anyone in the lab. Click here to see an example.
  2. While in the lab, I am involved on practically every painting’s evaluation, decision making and progress. I guide, trouble shoot and give my opinion… which sometimes even gets considered!
  3. There are three of us qualified art conservators that think and work all on the same mental wave length. Its very synergistic. See this fun video about team work.

Art conservation delivery in Utah

Delivering completed painting conservation projects to the client in Salt Lake City Utah.

The longer answer is that art conservation is a professional field that is more than just cleaning, touching up and varnishing a painting. Yes, the highest level of craftsmanship of the treatments is of the utmost importance but connoisseurship attained from 40 years of intense international experience and consultation work is something extremely important that I am constantly asked to share. Important other art conservation professional things I do include:

  1. Expert witness – legal testimony in art related matters. This can be in public art situations, insurance claims and damage response situations. Here’s a link to some past work.
  2. Art authentication and the analysis of art – I’m asked a couple of times a week to assist people on these types of matters that can range from authenticating a signature to a full blown investigation and working with art scholars and scientists. Here’s a link to a fun appearance on Keeping Up With The Kardasians TV program.
  3. Consult on art conservation planning for upcoming projects. I often help organizations with grant applications and proposals. Coordinate with other parallel professions to assist them on historic preservation projects; architects, appraisers, general contractors, city arts commissions. Click here to see a review of our consulting experience. I consult with people daily on their art conservation needs and answer questions.

Because these professional needs are usually attended to on a personal visit type of basis, I make the effort to get around and see people… in person. This is why we go to the trouble to pick up and deliver projects over such a wide geographical basis. Here are some reviews of places we work: Los Angeles, Orange County, Santa Barbara, Utah, Las Vegas, Carmel/Monterey. It keeps us in personal contact with our clients which include private people, auction houses and galleries, institutions, city governments and disaster response companies.

So, do I still do the actual art conservation work? Yeah, I’d say so.


Give us a call to discuss your questions!

Ask for art conservators Scott Haskins, Oriana Montemurro, Virginia Panizzon

805 564 3438

Anthony Quinn as the Pope on Broadway being evaluated for conservation treatments

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Analysis of art can reveal hidden details important to authentication and value Fri, 02 Dec 2016 02:53:15 +0000 Continue reading ]]> 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.

Give us a call to discuss your questions!

Scott M. Haskins, Oriana Montemurro, Virginia Panizzon

805 564 3438

Leave a comment below!

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Historic Oil Painting of Russian Royalty Slashed and Painted Over But Not Forgotten Sat, 19 Nov 2016 17:54:37 +0000 Continue reading ]]> 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.

The portrait of Nicholas II took 3 years to un-cover from the repainting removal which may have been applied on purpose to save, preserve it in the hopes that it would be eventually found.

“The ceremonial portrait painted by Ilya Galkin in 1896 was hidden for almost 90 years on the back of another portrait — depicting Lenin,” the painting rconservator, Potseluyeva told AFP.

A portrait of Lenin was painted over the royal portrait by another artist, Vladislav Izmailovich, in 1924, Potseluyeva said. The giant portrait measuring 13 by 10 feet has hung in the assembly hall of a school in the historic centre of Saint Petersburg.  The painting was damaged in the 1970s and it was only because of the restoration of this damage in 2013, which lead to the discovery of the hidden portrait. Obviously, unexpectedly finding such details underneith the portrait that was visible was very surprising adding that the first detail they discovered was the ornate carpet on which the tsar was standing.

The artist’s motive for hiding the tsar’s portrait may never be known and experts said that he ran a risk by doing so. “By keeping the tsar’s portrait, Vladislav Izmailovich risked a lot at that time,” said the acting head of the Shtiglits Academy, Vasily Kichedzhi.  The Bolsheviks pulled down statues and removed the tsars’ emblem from buildings after taking power.

Today, given the politics with surrounding countries, such political pressures where art “takes the hit” are still a worry.

Questions about a painting restoration/conservation project? Call Scott M. Haskins for a free consult 805 564 3438 or

This painting of Russian royalty was slashed with bayonets but eventually rolled up then smuggled out of Russia.

This painting of Russian royalty was slashed with bayonets but eventually rolled up then smuggled out of Russia.

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Art Conservation UV Analysis of Modern Painting Before Sale At Auction Sun, 30 Oct 2016 06:18:12 +0000 Continue reading ]]> 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:

For questions contact Scot Levitt, Head of Paintings Dept at Bonhams 323 436 5425 or Tell him we sent you!!

For Art Conservation questions call Scott Haskins 805 564 3438
See short video tour of painting conservation lab at
805 570 4140 mobile or

A thumbs up and a comment would be appreciated… after all, we just saved you $1,000 from making a mistake on your next purchase!

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Family Heirloom Painting Restoration in Salt Lake City – Testimonial Sat, 24 Sep 2016 18:15:30 +0000 Continue reading ]]>

“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.

Oil painting flaking water damage

Oil painting flaking water damage

Call us to discuss your questions. Free evaluations at your home or business. Pick up and delivery. Highest quality professional art conservation work, standards of practice and ethic. Damaged art insurance claims.

Fine Art Conservation Laboratories is very well known throughout the Salt Lake City area and Provo/Orem. Feel free to ask us for references .

Click here for background info of work in Utah:

Click here for other testimonials:


We work with disaster response companies and insurance companies:


Contact info

Scott M. Haskins, Virginia Panizzon, Oriana Montemurro, Art Conservators

805 564 3438 office

805 570 4140 mobile




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19th c. Oil Painting Restoration Caveats and Tips for Vintage Art Collectors – Maritime Painting Exam Notes Wed, 21 Sep 2016 04:48:36 +0000 Continue reading ]]>

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.

Another serious setback to the normal health of paintings of ships is the fact that people on the ships are used to fixing everything themselves so when the painting needed cleaning or needed a rip repaired or needed new varnish it was worked on by the handy guy on the ship with poor quality materials and bad restoration techniques. They had no idea what materials and art conservation techniques helped or hurt long term preservation.

It is, in fact, surprising to find a 19th century maritime painting that hasn’t been treated very poorly and repaired very poorly.

Up to now I’ve been talking about portraits of ships for ocean vessels. You can imagine that river and lake vessels would not be so hard on a painting as in the ocean. But still, life on a boat is not ideal for the long term preservation of an oil painting.

Given how common inept restorations are on these types of paintings, some of the common things that I’ve encountered may be good for you to know:

  • If you own a maritime painting and have to get an appraisal. The supposed value could be quite different than the actual value once the actual condition is determined. For instance, one of the types of damage that first results in a substantial decrease in value is damage to the rigging from cleaning. Redrawing or repainting the missing rigging does not restore the value on the open market, according to the dealers that I have worked with.
  • If you are thinking of buying a painting of a ship, this “tip” could save you $10,000’s either from paying too much or to give you something to use to negotiate.

Consider also the following condition issues on maritime paintings:

  1. Other easily damaged details are white water caps and foam in the water easily removed when paintings are scrubbed.
  2. 19th century maritime paintings often are painted with a porous paint quality that is easily stained in the clouds in the sky. In addition the ground layer or the gesso layer under the paint is often easily stained while aging as it was common to brush the back of the painting with the resin that discolored badly. Most of the pigments on these paintings are transparent and so the staining of the gesso or ground layers show through.

Almost all of the old varnishes used to coat these paintings were resins and varnishes that were used on ships. That means they discolored very badly and do-it-yourself-urs find it very difficult to remove without damaging the original paint.

Once scrubbed, repainting is done with a big brush and oil paint, which of course, does additional damage and further erodes the value and authenticity. Here is short video showing some paintings that were in our art conservation lab recently. It includes the testimonial of a painting’s owner who decided to do a partial treatment to improve (remove the previous poor quality restorations) the appearance of just the water.

What do you think? How “worth it” is this type of partial restoration treatment?

Leave a comment and a thumbs up!

Contact info

Scott M. Haskins, Virginia Panizzon, Oriana Montemurro (Art Conservators)

805 564 3438 office

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Art Restoration of Paintings of Old Spanish Missions of California by Edwin Deakin in the Santa Barbara Mission Archive and Library Thu, 08 Sep 2016 22:46:12 +0000 Continue reading ]]>

Click here for short video of the painting conservation lab tour:

Click here for the website of Santa Barbara Mission Archives and Library:

To review the book on the mission paintings

by Edwin Deakin

click on this link: (coming soon) XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

Contact info:

Dr. Monica Orozco, Director

Santa Barbara Museum Archives and Library

805 682 4713


Scott M. Haskins, Head of Conservation

Fine Art Conservation Laboratories

805 564 3438

Carmel Mission by Edwin Deakin

Hello my name is Scott Haskins, Painting Conservator and Head of Conservation at Fine Art Conservation Laboratories ( and I am excited to tell you about the art conservation of the gorgeous paintings of the old Spanish missions of California by Edwin Deakin done between 1897 and 1899.

The 21 paintings of the missions of California by Edwin Deakin are part of the collection at the Santa Barbara Mission Archives Library ( under the direction of Dr. Monica Orozco.

Though the California missions were painted by many artists in the 1800’s only a couple of artists did complete sets of all the missions. Among the most famous was Henry Chapman Ford who painted a series of all the missions 20 years earlier. But of all the artists in the 1800’s, Deakin’s moody old Spanish mission paintings are the most beautiful, the most artistic and the highest quality. The artist, of course, love these paintings when they were finished… so much, in fact, that he set a high price on them individually, and as a collection, so that they would never sell and they would stay together as a collection.

The paintings have been well cared for over the past 120 years and have reached our day in a fairly good condition. They were donated in the 1950’s by the very generous Elaine and Howard Willoughby. Let me share with you some of the preservation and art restoration details that were done to help this paintings look their best.

Tests were performed to make sure that the treatments were safe for the artwork. The cleaning spot in the video showed how discolored the varnish layers were, as we removed the varnish layers from the paintings you can see in the video the difference that it made in returning the paintings to their original colors. Gathers on the corners of the paintings were relaxed and pulled out. The original frames had oxidized, had changed colors and were splitting at the corners. Deakin painted his crest and signature at the back of many of the paintings and often made notations as you can see in the video.

In the video is a quick viewing of all the 21 paintings in this collection after the oil painting restoration treatments.

When Deakin painted these paintings, these historic structures were being re-appreciated, re-valued and the “Mission Style” was very popular. Not only did Deakin love the culture around the missions but he wanted to see them restored and revitalized, but this was not the case with everyone.

Given their romantic and artistic presence there were some artists like William Keith, known as “The Artist of California” and Gutzon Borglum who both declared they “would like to see the missions left in their neglected condition as a reminder of the pastoral time, never to return, and because of the romantic and mystical feeling they evoked.”

Deakin’s exhibition in 1900’s of these 21 paintings was perfectly in line with the “Spanish Revival” movement and the popularity of the Mission Style. Both of these socially accepted artistic design styles were a-variation-on-a-theme of the Arts and Crafts Movement, so popular nationally. The response to Deakin’s paintings was enthusiastic; Sunset Magazine called them “the greatest work of a California artist.”

I should mention also that there is a great book put out by the Santa Barbara Mission Archive Library on these 21 oil paintings that FACL worked on, plus the corresponding watercolors that belong to the Santa Barbara Historical Society (now the SB Historical Museum). In the description area below this video there is a link to learn more about this book.

Thanks are expressed to Oriana Montemurro and Virginia Panizzon, painting conservators at FACL, for their skill and professionalism that were put into the work on these paintings. It was truly a labor of love.

It’s been exciting, a great pleasure and honor for us to provide painting conservation services for the Santa Barbara Mission Archive and Library (SBMAL) on these wonderful paintings by Edwin Deakin. For us preserving and restoring these wonderful paintings for our generations in the future feels like there is a social conscience part of our work.

Open House to Review Painting Restoration of Missions of California by Edwin Deakin

SBMAL Reception for Edwin Deakin Mission Painting’s Art Conservation

Make a contribution to the Santa Barbara Mission Archive and Library to support art conservation efforts! Click here:



Thanks to for the royalty free music.

FACL,Inc., Fine Art Conservation Laboratories, Art conservation, Art restoration, Painting conservation, Oil painting restoration, Edwin Deakin, Spanish Missions, Spanish Revival, Mission Style, Arts and Crafts Movement, Dr. Monica Orozco, Oriana Montemurro, Virginia Panizzon, Scott M. Haskins, Painting conservator, Santa Barbara Mission Archive and Library, SBMAL, Santa Barbara Historical Society, Santa Barbara Historical Museum,

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The Art Restoration Of Texas’s Most Famous Lost Public Art By The Most Famous Texan Artist You Never Heard Of Thu, 01 Sep 2016 20:15:17 +0000 Continue reading ]]> 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

One very public and visible mural project is in the Hall of State located at Fair Park, Dallas Texas. These monumental 1936 murals were done in collaboration with other artists like Eugene Savage, Reveau Bassett, Will Smith and L. Nicholas Lyon. Though New Yorker Eugene Savage was commissioned to create the grand murals in the Hall of State, as related in the 2010 Hays County Historical Commission documentary, Larger than Life: The Story of Buck Winn, Savage hired Winn as his chief assistant in the creation of two murals chronicling state history. Winn also designed the hall’s large gold-leaf Texas star, surrounded by symbols of the six nations whose flags have flown over the state. To stand in front of these murals and get a good look is an awe inspiring visit. But there has only been a half hearted effort over the decades to protect these foundational works of WPA period art. They are presently afflicted by substantial surface grime, drips from water ceiling leaks, flaking and blanched paint… and previous poor quality art restoration efforts… all of which can be stabilized and brought back to their former glory. Fortunately there’s hope that the effort by the City of Dallas to privatize the administration of the fair grounds will include the restoration of the murals. In fact, FACL was hired as an art conservation consultant by the City of Dallas to review, assess, and estimate what will be needed for the long term good health of the murals. As of the date of this article, 2016, encouraging plans are going forward and the art conservation of the artwork at Fair Park is part of those plans.

Mural in Hall of State in Fair Park, Dallas, Texas

Another major mural restoration effort is presently in process on sections of Buck Winn’s renowned mural, The History of Ranching, a 280 foot long mural, commissioned in 1950 in San Antonio, Texas at the Pearl Brewery. At the time, it was believed to have been the longest mural in the world, keeping alive the spirit of ‘everything’s bigger in Texas’ (it actually wasn’t bigger than the Cyclorama of Gettysburg and other cycloramas like it… there were 6 or 7 painted). The brewery gave away to demolition in the interest of development and the murals were unceremoniously ripped off the walls in sections, rolled up like a rugs and stuffed into a poor quality storage situation. See the video below about their history and mural conservation efforts.

Now, decades later, the mural’s importance is being rediscovered and recovered. The Texas State University chose Fine Art Conservation Laboratories after an exhaustive nationwide search for the expertise to deal with the serious preservation problems and in the hopes of ending up with a quality work of art to re-exhibit in the new Alkek Library on campus. The university owns 3 of the 11 sections that make up the 280 mural. As of the date of this article, the art conservation treatments on these 3 sections of mural are just completed. Plans to re-reveal the mural are in effect, but sadly the different parts of it have been separated… and are not likely to be reunited… so the full effect is lost. There is, however, very quiet discussions taking place regarding the other 8 sections of mural.

Buck Winn focused more on architecture later in his life, designing his own home with his studio at the centre to be a hub of activity and creativity. His daughter still lives in the family home today. However it is his paintings that can be purchased through means of auction today, and remain very popular among Texan natives and American early twentieth century art enthusiasts. Buck Winn was also a teacher later in his life, teaching architecture at prominent Texan university, A&M, also Princeton University, Berkley and Rice. All of these achievements and he seems to be slowly disappearing into Texan history. Google and library searches return very little about him and the film in his honor Larger Than Life: the Buck Winn Story created by the Texas Historical Commission has gained little recognition. This is odd considering how highly regarded he is in everything written about him, how incredibly talented he was, and the fact that he is one of few artists recognized for this in his lifetime.

Buck Winn completed more than fifty projects in his life mostly between 1940 and his death in 1979, all on relatively large scales apart from his award winning postage stamp design for a three cent stamp in 1946. Some of his larger works are still available to view by the public in government and public buildings, however as new development has taken place an equal number have been sadly lost forever due to bulldozing and no care taken to recover the works before hand. There are funds and awareness groups urging for protection of these art pieces such as the Texas State Historical Association, stating that they are important works to preserve for the sake of art history and Texan history. Some of the murals no longer even exist in photograph form which is a real shame for future generations as well as all that appreciate his art work today. It is unclear why more care was not taken during reconstruction.

This story demonstrates the necessity for the preservation of architectural art (like murals) and also that loss of something precious can still happen in an “enlightened society” as ours if no one takes action to “make it happen.”. Losses and gaps such as the one in Buck Winn’s repertoire demonstrate a modern example of the problems we experience in looking at history. It is a difficult task to interpret the past as is, and the further you get from it and the more gaps that present the more difficult it gets. Especially in an age of technology and knowledge, as we are now, there is no real excuse for the loss or forgetfulness of anything like this.

Luckily, there are several societies and organizations fighting to save and promote Buck Winn’s legacy. These include the Texas Historical Commission and the Texas State Historical Association, which is one of the only bodies to have a decent biography about the man in question. Hopefully he will continue to be recognized for the artist and innovator that he was, that no further works of his will be forgotten or destroyed and thanks to experts like Fine Art Conservation Laboratories for their expert consultation service, nationwide on such projects and for their heroic efforts to do the actual mural protection, preservation and art restoration.

Detail from History of Ranching by Buck Winn

Detail from History of Ranching by Buck Winn

More links: FACL Educational video

FACL’s mural capability statement:

FACL’s mural consultation statement:

FACL’s mural conservation project videos on YouTube at

For FACL’s overview of mural conservation capabilities (videos):

Contact Info

Scott M. Haskins

805 570 4140 mobile, 805 564 3438 office


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