Amateur Art Restoration Ruins Artwork… Again!!!

U.S. & WORLD report

“Amateur restoration attempt ruins artwork,” ABC reports during Action News on July 1, 2018 as did dozens of other international news sources including U.S. & World Report

Their warning and coaching for you? “Recruiting an amateur to restore a treasured piece of artwork is probably not the best idea. So the art world and especially the art conservation profession should not be surprised that a 16th-century Spanish sculpture is now ruined.” As a short cut to proper and careful cleaning to bring back the original period appearance, someone painted over the Statue of Saint Jorge, changing its original colors in order to save some money… a total hack job… the destruction of history.

“The botched job is now being compared to another infamous fail in 2012 that destroyed a fresco of Jesus Christ at a church, also in Spain.” Did you get the lesson here?! “Recruiting an amateur (or an artist) to restore a treasured piece of artwork is probably not the best idea.”

Disaster response clean up companies and restoration contractors are a dangerous source of fast and cheap restorations. They are under pressure by the insurance company who wants to pay out the least amount of money possible and KNOWS NOTHING, and doesn’t usually care, about proper cleaning, maintenance and conservation processes on art and historical objects.

Smoke Damaged Art Restoration – PuroClean Testimonial from Scott M. Haskins on Vimeo.

It is entirely appropriate and common for the more conscientious disaster response companies to subcontract out proper professional art conservation services for items that have financial, emotional or historical value.

Thinking that restoring a work of art is like “fixing” anything else is a gross lapse of judgment. Artists who think that because they can paint a painting, they can restore any painting have no idea why works of art fall apart. They have no idea as to the aging problems of the materials/supplies they use for restoring. But most importantly, they don’t honor or respect the original creation, historical value or aesthetics, even if they are flawed (in their opinion).

Unfortunately, restoration attempts by do-it-yourselfers, self taught restorers, artists, framers, hobbie queens, and fixer-uppers isn’t an uncommon thing and something horrific usually happens when they start restoring historical items (there are standards, guidelines, ethics to follow).While its better than a monkey face, it still is a laugh:

Wonder Woman has been busy lately saving the world and now she’s doing art restoration on ancient statues at the Met and saving the world’s heritage too. I’m glad that she sees saving our heritage as an important work worthy of her time and she’s amazing at beating up the bad guys but would you want her “delicate touch” and “trained eye” to restore your artwork?! I don’t recall that education or experience being part of her training on the hidden lost island of Amazon Warrior Women.

You may think this is funny! But the sad thing is that it happens all the time!  On the left  is the photo of how the painting looked AFTER restoration when it came back from a “professional” Russian restorer in the Los Angeles area not long ago! IT DIDN’T LOOK ANYTHING LIKE THEIR GRANDMOTHER! As you might imagine, the family was crushed, as they thought the original, cherished oil painting of their dear grandmother was damaged beyond repair and lost forever. Actually, they were pretty “wound up!” On the right is the after-restoration photo of the ancestral portrait,  AFTER all the previous “restoration” was removed and the original portrait was recuperated. You should have seen the owner’s/family’s faces!

Undoing Nellie’s Amateur Oil Painting Restoration Treatment

This exquisite Madonna and Child Spanish Colonial painting in the Franciscan archives of California is another sad story of botched over-restored valuable art. Look closely, especially at the details of the child Jesus… it looks as bad as “Behold the Monkey!!!”  The first photo is the “restored” (repainted) old master!

The second pic is after all the repainting was removed and the original painting was recuperated, preserved and restorer back to its original appearance.

After we cleaned off all the repainting to re-reveal the original, we then properly stabilized deterioration, cleaned the underlying “gunk,” carefully and discretely inpainted only the paint losses, being careful to not slop over onto the original. Conservation grade varnish layers allowed the painting to glow and look its best. Professional conservation adheres to this and standards of practice.

For more on IR, click here:–-a-short-video/

For in on UV, click here:

To discuss the value of your painting, call my friend Scot Levitt at Bonhams Auction House in Los Angeles. Tell him Scott Haskins sent you. I promise, he’ll be nice to you! 323 436 5425

Art conservation – restoration questions? Free home and office visits/consultations with pick up and delivery in Los Angeles, Orange County, San Fernando Valley, Thousand Oaks area, Ventura area, Santa Barbara area, Las Vegas, Salt Lake City.

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

Andrew Jacobs, Disaster Response Coordinator

Tel 805 564 3438

Art appraisal questions? Call us for a referral

See a tour of Fine Art Conservation Laboratories (CLICK HERE) Leave a comment.

Follow us on Facebook. Click on one of these links and be our friend:



About Scott M. Haskins

Scott Haskins has been in professional art conservation since 1975, specializing in the conservation/restoration of easel paintings, murals and art on paper. FACL, Inc. is known nationally for doing A+ work no matter the size or difficulty of the project. We are happy to do a quick cleaning on a family heirloom. Our client list and resume is also full of very satisfied clients of large, difficult/complicated projects at remote locations. Excellent services are also available as an Expert Witness/Legal Testimony in art related matters. Consultation on art related projects occur regularly including extensive insurance evaluations for insured or insurer. Services are offered worldwide. Scott M. Haskins is also author of the "Save Your Stuff" series, educational information, materials and supplies to help people protect and save their treasured family heirlooms and collectibles at home and office. He can be reached at 805 564 3438. Video and written testimonials at
This entry was posted in Disaster/Emergency Response, In Lab and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.