Old Art

Old Family Portraits – Ask yourself these 3 important questions!

I know my last post was about family portraits but you have GOT TO SEE this one! This family portrait was brought to us by the exhibits coordinator for the National archives and was really in sad shape. Notice the 18″ slash down the left side. Here’s a raking light shot of the distortions/gathers in the canvas.

The painting canvas was so brittle that the tacking edge nails had pulled through the fabric so the edges were loose and the painting was barely hanging onto the stretcher bars. The surface of the painting was LOADED with dirt, grime and discolored varnish… nicotine? How did this painting get into such precarious condition? Except it was adopted by a preservationist soul, this portrait and piece of history was destined for the trash.

Professional art conservation and painting restoration to the rescue. The rip repair of this painting’s ripped edges were rejoined under the microscope and, in fact, here’s a video to show how we do it:

The cleaning was actually, surprisingly not so difficult. Once the varnish was dissolved, the rest of the dirty layers washed away with it’s removal. What a difference!!!!

So again, how did this painting get into such precarious condition? As you might imagine, all of this damage is caused by handling and the way it was treated. In other words, all of this damage was avoidable… or preventable! What circumstances do you paintings find themselves? Are fragile old paintings displayed in high traffic areas? Are paintings not on the walls simple leaning against themselves in the closet, garage or basement? Immediate action to remedy the situation may save you many $1,000′s of dollars!

Art conservation questions? Call Scott M. Haskins 805 564 3438

Art appraisal questions? Call Richard Holgate 805 895 5121

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After Conservation Family Portrait

This painting has minimal touch up done (inpainting) and many imperfections, that are original to the painting or are a result of the artist’s technique, remained. The goal was to have the portrait look great… but have it be as original as possible.

To learn more about what you can do at home to take care of your stuff, download now a copy of Scott’s book, How To Save Your Stuff From A Disaster at 50% off!

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Family Portraits Need Love Too – Quick video of portraits in the art conservation lab

Family Portrait

We get family ancestor’s portraits in our painting restoration lab all the time. Some of them have some financial value, some of them are historically important and some are only important to the family members… all worth the tender loving care to protect, save and restore for future generations!

Is it worth it is a common question. I often ask back, “Well, what are you going to do? Throw grandpa in the trash?!”

Sometimes we also get the portraits copied and printed on canvas so several family members can have a copy of the family portrait. We have some great suggestions for making your copies look like the real thing!

Perhaps you would like to see some of the family portraits that have come into our lab in the last little while? Some of them will surprise you. Here’s a quick video:

Call Scott M. Haskins to chat about your family portrait at 805 564 3438!
Art appraisal questions? Call Richard Holgate at 805 895 5121
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Leave a comment about your family portrait below!


Poor Storage causes damaged paintings

Two deep dents on the bottom of the painting

This painting is not flaking or falling apart immediately. In other words, there is no emergency action needed to save the painting. So if 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.

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

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Conservation questions? Go to www.fineartconservationlab.com

Appraisal questions? www.faclappraisals.com