When discussing the science of painting conservation with a friend recently, he asked, "You just paint on the painting don't you?" This is a common misconception since art conservation usually requires an understanding of the creation of artworks, art history, chemistry, physics, a little magic and enormous patience.

An appreciation of surface chemistry is a good beginning for paintings conservators. Above is a TEAS chart which maps molecular forces such as nonpolar dispersion forces, polar dipole forces, and hydrogen boding forces. We sometimes us this diagram to help understand the solubility parameters of surface dirt, varnishes and paint films so that we can make good treatment decisions.

Modesto Texidor y Torres

1854 - 1927

Oil on canvas, 1892

Barcelona, Spain

Commissioned and exhibited in the

World's Columbian Exposition, Chicago, 1893

Infortunio arrives at the studio/labfrom its home in Healdsburg, CA, with

Tom Bergthold - Master Carpenter, Ashley Moody - Conservation Assistant

Before treatment

After painting & frame treatment

Painting Tear Repair

Insert Video

Featuring Keara Teeter presently a graduate of Winterthur

graduate school for art conservation

Featuring Ian McClure, conservation assistant,removing an old lining canvas

that was glued to the back of a 19th century oil painting

     19th c. oil on canvas, unknown San Francisco artist. Before treatment.

After cleaning, tear repairs, inpainting, and frame restoration.

Édouard Leon Cortès




Click to view

Cortès captured Paris during its heyday and continued this into the 20th century. His beautiful depictions of Paris were in demand and he continued to paint them until his death in 1969. They are now found in the most prestigious collections throughout the world.

Mouse over to view the After image

or Tap on a cell phone or tablet

After Treatments


19th century French Impressionist

painting that was damaged in storage

Paintings are often damaged in transport. Consult a conservator before transporting fine art.

This 19th c. iconographic painting was stored in a shed in Mexico for decades before resurrection

Anna Marie Probst

Artist unknown

Oil on canvas

19th century

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