Damaged Art

Ripped/Punctured Oil Painting Looks Worse After Patch Job!

Sweet Barbizon picture of mother and child looks worse after “restoration” and will look even worse with time!

The painting was damaged because of poor handling or bad storage. Then someone, probably an artist, patched the rip/puncture and now it looks worse. Was there a alternative, better way to repair this?

patching a rip causes big problems

Gorgeous French painting of mother and child had a puncture that was patched.

Should paintings be patched or do they need to be lined?

Patching is usually done by artists and restores who don’t understand or care about long term preservation. Its usually paid for by art dealers who are looking for the cheapest job possible without consideration of what the down side is in the future.

Let me show you the two obvious results from patching,

  1. The photograph shows a bulge that forms with time because the patch creates uneven stress, around the rip, this bulge will create cracking pattern in the future.
  2. It also shows the spider web cracking pattern formed around a puncture even though a patch was applied.

These are the two reasons why we do not recommend patching in an oil or acrylic painting. The correct repair contains the following steps:

  • Stabilized the flaking of the paint along the rip.
  • Only apply repair adhesive along the edges of the rip.
  • Re-align the fibers of the rip.
  • Rejoin or “weld” the fibers together under magnification with adhesive and local heat.
  • Make sure the repair is perfectly flat.
  • Line the entire reverse of the painting.

Only this way can long deterioration be stopped. Continued cracking be halted and the rip can be made invisible to the unaided eye. Only this type of repair can return the maximum value to the art work and is the most appropriate conservation treatment for long term preservation.

When you have a damaged painting, your home owner’s insurance policy may help you pay for it, and may even pay you for lost value. For more information about this, go towww.insurancepersonalpropertyassessments.com or call us at 805 895 5121

For great stories, videos and tips see www.tipsforartcollectors.org (Free downloads, sign up for blog updates)

Questions about preserving collectibles, letters, certificates photos? www.saveyourstuffblog.com (Free downloads, sign up for blog updates)

Conservation questions? Go to www.fineartconservationlab.com

Appraisal questions?
www.faclappraisals.com

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Liquid Stain on Lithograph of a Woman by Henri Matisse

This work on art on paper came into the lab because it has a water stain on the lower right hand corner, which makes this valuable print look awful… and takes away from the value.

Hideous liquid stain on lower right hand conner on the lithograph.

What causes water stains?

I spoke with Scott Haskins, our conservator and he said one of the reasons this could happen is, for instance, the liquid that spilled on the paper was dirty, like a roof leak or spilling your coffee.

Another reason is because there is yellowing in the paper that is a deterioration by product. The deterioration causes acids to develop in the paper, and this is why paper yellows and becomes fragile. Even if the liquid that spills on the artwork is clean or pure it will still move the yellow acids in the paper causing it to stain, this is what happens to this artwork.

So, what should you do about your artwork on paper, certificate, diploma, or letter that has some kind of liquid stain? Here are some things you should know:

  • This is not something you (personally) can remove from the paper. This must be done by an experience paper conservator.
  • The stain will not spread over time, however, the stain will get darker with time.
  • The stain’s color can be stabilized if the acids are neutralized. Feel free to call our office and speak with Scott Haskins for more information at (805) 5643438.

Are you wondering if your art is worth restoring? Here are 5 tips to follow if you find yourself in this kind of situation:

  1. Ask an art appraiser about the artwork. (Sometimes they will not charge for a verbal opinion if you do not require a formal appraisal (Also you ask an auction house for their opinion)
  2. Speak with an art conservator to give value/estimate for repairs.
  3. Ask the curator at a local museum for an opinion.
  4. Another suggestion would be, if you can read the signature on the artwork research it, and you can find out interesting things. This artist, for example, would show up everywhere in a search. He was quite famous.
  5. DO NOT consult with art dealers right away until you get other’s opinions first. They will try to buy the artwork for as little as possible.

For $400.00 this artwork can look as good as new, and should be worth the maximum amount of money after restoration.

When you have a damaged painting, your home owner’s insurance policy may help you pay for it, and may even pay you for lost value. For more information about this, go to www.insurancepersonalpropertyassessments.com or call us at 805 564 3438

For great stories, videos and tips see www.tipsforartcollectors.org (Free downloads, sign up for blog updates)

Questions about preserving collectibles, letters, certificates photos? www.saveyourstuffblog.com (Free downloads, sign up for blog updates)

Conservation questions? Go to www.fineartconservationlab.com

Appraisal questions? www.faclappraisals.com

Follow us on Facebook at (be sure to sign up as our friend!) :
Save Your Stuff  (Home)
Save Your Stuff From A Disaster (Office-Workplace)
Fine Art Conservation

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Proper Art Storage Drama – Landscape with Blue Flowers by Robert Wood

Captivating scenery with broad, flowing trees and colorful flowers.

This painting came into the lab because it contained several problems:

It had couple dents towards the middle and in the lower right hand corner.

There is a small tear.

Also it was cracking badly.

The dents and rips could have been avoided! This damage was probably caused  by storing it badly and obviously leaning things against it with no protection.

Is this anyway to treat or take care of a $15,000 painting???

or.. what if it was a painting of your grandmother? Would you have treated it differently?

As ugly as these problems are, the painting is not flaking or falling apart immediately. In other words, there is no emergency action needed to save the painting. So if are these problems don’t get taken care of right away, all will not be lost. Damage in the form of cracking is now in the process of forming and becoming evident.

If the painting were actively flaking (losing paint) then immediate action would be suggested. If there is enough paint loss, it could make the painting worth less (impact the value).

Let’s say you know nothing about art and you don’t want to spend the money to get it fixed…

  • Would you be tempted to throw this painting away??
  • Or would you sell it for a cheap price at a garage sale??

For instance, the original owner of this painting,  didn’t want to spend any money on this painting to fix it or clean it… so, therefore she gave it away. It’s worth about $10,000.00

What really happened to this painting by Robert Wood? The owner sold this painting, in its dented abused condition, for a fraction of its value because they didn’t know what to do with it.

Here are 5 tips to follow if you find yourself in this kind of situation:

  1. Ask an art appraiser about the painting. (Sometimes they will not charge for a verbal opinion if you do not require a formal appraisal (Also you ask an auction house for their opinion)
  2. Speak with an art conservator to give value/estimate for repairs.
  3. Ask the curator at a local museum for an opinion.
  4. Another suggestion would be, if you can read the signature on the painting research it, and you can find out interesting things. This artist, for example, would show up everywhere in a search. He was quite famous.
  5. DO NOT consult with art dealers right away until you get other’s opinions first. They will try to buy the artwork for as little as possible.

For $1,000.00 this painting can look as good as new, and should be worth the maximum amount of money after restoration.

If this were to be a family portrait the sales price may not be as important but its preservation would be more important than ever.

To keep these damages from happening, do not lean anything on the painting. Cover front and back with card box, or place in a cardboard mirror box. Do not store where the temperature gets too hot or too cold, or where it gets humid or moldy.

When you have a damaged painting, your home owner’s insurance policy may help you pay for it, and may even pay you for lost value. For more information about this, go to www.insurancepersonalpropertyassessments.com or call us at 805 564 3438

For great stories, videos and tips see www.tipsforartcollectors.org (Free downloads, sign up for blog updates)

Questions about preserving collectibles, letters, certificates photos? www.saveyourstuffblog.com (Free downloads, sign up for blog updates)

Follow us on Facebook at (be sure to sign up as our friend!) :

Save Your Stuff  (Home)

Save Your Stuff From A Disaster (Office-Workplace)

Fine Art Conservation

Conservation questions? Go to www.fineartconservationlab.com

Appraisal questions? www.faclappraisals.com

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Huell Howser Star Sighting

Huell Howser discovered the Globe Murals by Hugo Ballin

Huell Howser of California Gold

I was in Palm Springs last Friday (It was a 118 degs!) having dinner with an art dealer and collector when, to my surprise, in through the door came Huell Howser, Hollywood Icon and host of the TV series California Gold. How long has that program been on the air!!!? Talking about staying power!

It was good to reconnect with Huell after so many years when he did an hour long feature program on the discovery, uncovering and conservation of the Globe Lobby murals by Hugo Ballin at the Los Angeles Time Building. It was our company, Fine Art Conservation laboratories (FACL, Inc. www.fineartconservationlab.com) that did the work. He was great to work with as he stuck his nose into every little detail of the project, interviewed me and commented to his viewers with his Southern folksy style about the discovery of these very interesting long lost paintings. His whole program was dedicated to our efforts. (more…)

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Cleaning Lady Strikes Again! Plus Flaking Painting and Bad Restorations

This delightful scene of high society Veneto, Italy at the end of the 1700′s was purchased by its collector and brought to us for its problem of flaking paint. Apparently, the cleaning lady’s damp rag wiping down the lower areas (most easily reached) has caused this oft seen problem… which is totally avoidable.

Cleaning lady's damp rag causes paint to crack and flake

Flaking in lower areas is due to wiping the surface with a damp rag.

But even experienced collectors make mistakes. This problem of flaking is not the only problem: the painting has already been through at least a couple of restorations that were poorly done including mounting this painting to masonite and repainting much of the sky and clouds. What was thought to be valued at $25,000 is now being dumped for $1,000.00 because of condition problems. (more…)

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Protecting and Saving Your Family’s Heirlooms and Memorabilia

Family heirlooms and memorabilia have a special “value” that you should consider. This graceful Italian alabaster sculpture is a treasured heirloom from the owner’s mother. It was originally bought in the 1920’s in Florence  and was passed down from mother to daughter.  Sadly, due to improper packing and storage, the center section broke into several pieces.  This greatly upset the owner, as this heirloom was considered very valuable to her.

Damage due to improper packing and storage can be attributed to common sense mistakes.  For example, some clients damage pieces when they stack a heavy box on top of delicate items. However, not all potential damage is as easily avoided, and when tricky scenarios occur sometimes you need an expert opinion.  When advice is needed for packing and protecting home items, we have found such businesses as The UPS Store are extremely helpful… but don’t scrimp on the packing! Although it may require more time and money to protect your treasured valuables when packing, moving, and storing, it is less expensive than restoration.  Keep in mind that extra padding on all sides of a packing box is a cheap alternative to repair and loss of value. (more…)

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Russian Old Master Painting Rescued From Trash

Discolored varnish and poor restorations obscure real qualities

Russian Masterpiece Painting is Resurrected

Recently, this artwork was politically classified to be thrown away until a sharp-eyed collector saved it from the trash. What probably happened, over the last 100 years, was that after a small rip had been repaired poorly, then again, and then another rip… and finally, the damage and the dirty surface made it fit for “long term storage” where it was forgotten… until someone started to clear things out.

This photo shows a detail of the painting during cleaning of the overpaint and discolored varnish revealing exquisite details and artistic quality. We’ll keep you posted as we resurrect the gorgeous woman in a white dress enjoying the good life.

This painting has a great story I’m sure you’ll find interesting, even in its abbreviated form: (more…)

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Even Trash Can Be Turned Into Art Treasure with Proper Conservation

Shockingly, this stunning piece was found flaking and dingy in the garbage! An inept attempt was made to “restore” it that involved an abundant application of wax to hold the painting together and a wipe with solvent to remove part of the dirt.

The Dumpster Diver who discovered the painting donated it to a collector who recognized that under the disaster of flaking paint, wax, and grime, there was a valuable vintage piece.  Some research and careful examination yielded the title and date: “The Discussion” from 1929.  This discovery prompted the collector to contact us for a closer examination and professional conservation treatment. (more…)

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