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.

The two pictures (top hole is three inches in diameter and the rip in the second photo is 12Painting with hole inches long) belonged to a painting that was originally valued at $475,000 in a private collection.    For no known reason, rumors say maybe a nail giving way; the painting fell off of the wall onto some wood furnishing.

Due to the painting being insured, they were able to settle a claim for full value.  The insurance company claimed the painting then sold the painting for salvage for $100,000 to another buyer.

The new buyer hired the art conservation experts at Fine Art Conservation LaboratoriesPainting with rip(FACL, Inc.) who were able to masterfully reconstruct the painting’s damage, and seamlessly fix the hole and the rip in the painting.  Then the new buyer took the restored painting and sold it for $275,000.

Some paintings can have a premium because they are in top virgin condition but there are very rare few artists who command this respect. Yet, you would expect there to be an impact on the value between a once big-ripped-painting and a never-ripped-painting. In fact, most often a small rip will not even change the value. But in this case there is quite literally one important piece missing that had an affect on the value changes:

When the painting fell off of the wall, the 3 ½” diameter piece of paint and canvas was knocked out of the canvas and detached. This piece, which contained part of the composition of the tree, was thrown away by the original owners!!

What can you learn from this story?  There is a list of things:

  1. First and foremost, hang your paintings securely. Click on this link for collection care tips on how to safely hang a framed item.
  2. Insure your most valuable pieces.  A line item replacement or blanket policy are two options of coverage.
  3. When something is damaged, don’t touch the damaged area, and definitely don’t throw any thing away.  If there are detached pieces, put them in a zip lock baggie and staple it to the back of the frame so the art conservator can replace the original pieces later.
  4. Also, it is important to get your art appraised as part of your insurance protection strategy.  Contact Richard Holgate for a certified appraisal 1-805-895-5121

To learn more about what you can do to take care of your collectibles, download FOR FREE now a copy of Scott Haskins’ new multimedia $27 e-book, Save Your Stuff – Collection Care Tips and get a huge bonus from our launch partners!

Painting with hole

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

  1. Lena Zavala says:

    That seems like easy to understand info but to do it seems like a big inconvenience… until you loose something valuable.

  2. Glennie Ernestine says:

    Its amazing what a little common sense and foresight will do to protect against disasters. Thanks for the nice article.

  3. Nick Suddeth says:

    I know this painting and you guys did a magnificent job on the conservation work. Wow.

  4. Twyla Harp says:

    Amazing that such a loss in value took place. Thanks for the tips.

  5. Stacy Daugherty says:

    Thanks for the insurance tips. Thats good info that will save me money.

  6. Menner Darensbourg says:

    I’m ashamed to say I’ve got everything in my house hung on little nails. Ok, I’m on it. Thanks.

  7. Elke Takasuka says:

    Thanks for you suggestions about hanging artwork. Very important info.

Comments are closed.