Conservation & Restoration of  Paintings

and Polychrome Objects

Art Consultation, Research, and Liaison

~ Established 1988 ~

...restoring the world one painting at a time

We are OPEN and still taking new and

returning clients!

Clients may bring artworks for an Evaluation,

Treatment Proposal, and Estimate. We provide a safe outdoor Covid free experience in sunny Santa Cruz. Vaccinated individuals are welcome inside the studio/lab.

Ring us up for a free consultation

(831) 464-1418

We are available 7 days a week

by Appointment Only

Schedule an evaluation on weekdays or weekends that fits your schedule. Santa Cruz is an exceptionally beautiful place to visit for your appointment.

Call for a free phone consultation. We answer the phone or return calls immediately!

Email us a photo from your cell phone to accelerate the process which helps us perform preliminary research to assist you better.

House Calls can be scheduled to evaluate your art collection on-site or we can connect you with a preferred art transport service or advise you on safe shipping to our facility.

We protect out clients possessions at the studio/lab with a 24 hour security system and video monitoring. Our facility is temperature and humidity controlled.

We treat artworks with cultural, historical and monetary value for museums, institutions and collectors. We also work on artworks with mostly sentimental value which are priceless and irreplaceable to our private clients and therefore to us.

~ New Projects and News ~

Cadmus Sowing the Dragon’s Teeth”

Maxfield Frederick Parrish (1870 - 1966)

Oil on canvas mounted to board, 1907

40 x 32 x ½  inches

Painted by one of the most famous illustrators in America in the 19th century, this important painting was treated for minor cosmetic problems and frame damage for a private collector. The painting depicts Cadmus who was the founder and first king of Thebes in Greek mythology. He is sowing dragon teeth which sprang up to create a race of fierce warriors known as the Spartoi. The painting had been previously restored and was adhered to a wooden support with minor abrasions, losses, and slight damage to the varnish. Parrish was famous for applying multiple glazing layers to create a sense of golden light emanating from within so it is extremely important not to compromise these multiple layers during any conservation treatment.

"The Lord's Supper"

Resurrected and returned to the

Union Presbyterian Church in Los Altos

Lajos Jambor

1884 - 1955


Early 20th century

Oil on canvas

6 x 4 feet

Before Treatment

Water damage and overpaint at the bottom


Cleaning Test

Cleaning Test




Fine Art Conservation

"La Faneuse"

William Bouguereau, 1870

Oil on Canvas



Ferdinand Burgdorff (1881 - 1975) was a noted Monterey artist. Sometimes we are called upon to correct previous inexpert restorations from the past. In this case, the painting had a tear repair over an earlier restoration where a portion of the sky was over painted. Here we removed the over painting and the patch and revealed the artist's original painting with a less intrusive tear repair an inpainting.

Typical Problems With Paintings:

Surface dirt and tears

Italian Peasant

Artist Unknown, Monogram

Oil on canvas


Surface dirt, a discolored varnish, tears and holes are the most typical problems with old oil paintings. Here one can see small "windows" where we tested different cleaning strategies to reveal the artist's original paint layer. Note the brilliant whites and saturated reds.

An 11 inch L shaped tear is visible in the vest with masking tape applied on the verso as a temporary repair. This will be filled, textured, and retouched to match the existing colors.

After "lining" the damaged painting to a new Belgian linen canvas, the cleaned and repaired artwork is varnished and ready for framing in a period piece frame.

Yellow varnish


A high magnification view of the painting surface showing the distinctive yellow discoloration from an oxidized natural resin varnish applied by the artist. This is a detail from a painting belonging to the Monterey Museum of Art.

Removing the varnish layer in the test area shows the brilliant ultra marine blue pigment and the brush strokes. We want to reveal what the artist originally intended.

The diagnosis is critically important before recommending treatment options.

Flaking paint


There are many causes of flaking paint including environmental conditions, inherent instability, and additives used by the artist. If your painting is flaking or turning to powder, call us immediately.

The flaking paint is injected with a suitable adhesive, warmed with heated air, and reattached with a heated teflon spatula. The painting is further protected with silicone release paper during treatment not shown here.

Fire and flood restoration


It is important to contact a conservator immediately after a disaster to stabilize your artworks and collectibles which will help prevent further damage from occurring. Disaster mitigators can help move your posses ions to a safe place but experts are required to work on your valuables. Contact us before you allow the disaster mitigators to move your valuables. Only qualified conservators should treat your valuables.


This landscape painting and frame was water damaged after a mud slide in Carmel, California, leaving mud across the surface and in the crevices of the frame.

The painting and frame were cleaned and consolidated to prevent further losses. Happily, we were contacted shortly after the flood. It is best not to delay when dealing with a fire or flood

Typical Problems With Frames:

Broken ornaments, surface dirt

and gold spray paint

Old frames become brittle when conditions are dry or very humid. Cracks in old frames are typical but, when ornamentation is lost or broken, we must replace them. The above frame was also painted gold which oxidized and turned an unsightly brown.

Often, frames are painted by an owner or ebay seller to make them appear cleaner. This is never a good idea. After stripping down to its bare bones, the above frame was gilded, shellacked and a patina was applied to create the look and feel of antiquity.

Typical Problems With Objects:

Gravity, insect infest ion, water and fire,

damage during transport

This plaster of Paris stature was given as a wedding gift in 1910 and brought to us in 72 pieces by the 84 year old daughter of the owner.

Rebecca the Water Bearer

A partial list of Museums and Institutions

who have used our services

Neue Galerie, NY

J. P. Getty Villa, Malibu

Crocker Museum of Art

Monterey Museum of Art

Santa Cruz Public Library

Cantor Art Center, Stanford

Capitola Historical Museum

Sunnyvale Historical Society

National Academy Museum, NY

Rengstorff House, Mountain View

Santa Cruz Natural History Museum

Museum of Art and History, Santa Cruz

University of California, Santa Cruz:

Sesnon Art Gallery

Library Special Collections

History of Art & Visual Culture Department


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Updated November 13, 2021

© MÖBIUS: art conservation inc.

We serve a large area of central California from Paso Robles to San Francisco and east to Livermore including Los Gatos-Saratoga and the greater San Jose area including Sunnyvale, Santa Clara and Mountain View. Many of our clients come from Los Altos and Palo Alto, Menlo Park, Woodside and Atherton. To the south, we serve Monterey, Salinas, Watsonville, Carmel and Carmel Valley. Many clients come from Oakland and Berkeley and Pleasanton.

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Created March 17, 2012