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Oil paintings conservation and restoration

Paintings conservation usually entails:

  • Removal of surface dirt and grime that discolor the painting
  • Removal or reduction of discolored varnish layers that obscure the painting      
  • Repair of tears, holes, surface irregularities, and areas of loss     
  • Lining and strip-lining of deteriorated canvases to suitable substrates
  • Consolidation of fragile elements or materials
  • Treating surface deformations such as cupping, tenting, flaking, and  powdering
  • Re-stretching old canvases to existing supports or conservation quality stretcher bars
  • Varnishing to create the proper protection and optical properties of a finished painting    
  • Mitigating visual defects in the painting
  • Inpainting (retouching) of losses requiring accurate color matching and texturing
  • Repairing previous inexpert restorations that are inappropriate or disfiguring
  • Overpaint removal or correction. Overpainting is the deliberate application of paint to disguise      severely damaged areas and is common in antique paintings. Conservators are ethically bound to        maintain the "artist's intent" and will not alter pictorial elements to "improve" works of art.
  • Observing the "principle of minimalism" in treatment strategies
  • Observing the "principle of reversibility" in treatment methods and adhering to the Code of          Ethics of the American Institute for Conservation of Historic and Artistic Works

Polychrome object conservation and restoration

Eskimo mask sold to tourists in the 1950's

Gilded frame restoration

Frame conservation is limited to stabilizing the object without altering the surface layers or delicate patina but also may include loss repair and mitigating the visual disturbance.

Frame restoration includes compensation for severe losses, damage, or correcting previous restorations and may include re-gilding and patinating.

Disaster mitigation

We provide collection care in the event of natural disasters like fires, floods, earthquakes, locust swarms, and alien invasions. This is available for both public and private art collections.

Referrals to appraisers

Appraisals establish fair market values, replacement costs, insurance estimates, estate estimates, or donation values. This is done by appraisers who are responsible members of certified appraising institutions. (Hint: Those who have a financial interests in your artworks are not objective appraisers. As members of the American Institute for Conservation, we do not  provide appraisals.) We can refer you to qualified appraisers, which is a different specialization.


Authentication of an artist's can involve curators, conservation scientists, and conservators. We can direct our clients to professionals who provide this service. You will need to prepare a significant budget to authenticate a painting. This cannot be done on the internet or by sending photos to "experts." Save your money.

Pest management

Vermin of all types can ruin art collections. We can create anoxic chambers for insect infestation, micro-climates, recommend procedures for pest control, or put you in touch with professionals involved in Integrated Pest Management.

Laboratory analysis

Laboratory analysis of artist materials assist in the identification of pigments, binding materials, adhesives, and other components. Please contact us so that we may facilitate a connection with conservation scientists and laboratories.

Environmental concerns

We assist clients in how to display or store art. This includes ow to control the temperature, humidity, lighting, and other environmental factors. 

Research and auction records

We access data bases and can often generate a list of auction records to help establish values for your artworks. We do not appraise  or authenticate fine art, but we can make referrals for you.

Photographic documentation

Before, during, and after treatment photos include details, areas of damage, and signatures. Photography, under different lighting conditions, can be a diagnostic tool and uncover previous restorations. We provide color, black and white, slides, digital images, UV light photography, and infrared photography.

Liaison with insurance companies

We can represent your interests when working with insurance companies after a disaster. You have paid the premiums to you are entitled to restoration or compensation. We can assemble the proper documentation to support your legitimate claims. Insurance companies are obligated to pay for the evaluations. We can also advise you about getting proper coverage for valuable artworks.

Condition surveys and documentation

Sometimes collections require a thorough examination to document their condition before treat-ment, storage, or for various insurance purposes or appraisals. We provide on site examinations with written and photographic documentation.

Referrals to art shippers and handlers

We make recommendations and referrals to those who specialize in art handling and worldwide shipping. Half of the art we see is damaged in transport when people try to save money on low cost shipping. Never pack your artworks with anything touching the surface of the painting! We know it is irresistible but the risk is high that it will lead to a costly repair if/when it sticks or abrades the surface. Paying attention to your conservator's advice can save a lot of grief later and it can save you a great deal of money.

Archival Storage

Fine art requires an environment within a  limited range of temperature and humidity fluctuations. We use archival storage boxes for  long term storage with acid  free interleaving,  mylar encapsulation, and other storage materials. The creation of micro-environments and closed systems are available through our associates.

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