Preserving Art

Art Restoration and Conservation in Minnesota

Embracing the knowledge and practices of both art and science, conservationists meticulously work to recover art to an original or near-original state. Conservation and restoration of paintings is important in ensuring arts role as a source of extant history, sustaining its physical presence for viewers of future generations. Unfortunately when assessing their collections, many overlook the essential aspect of pursuing conservation or their art. As admirers and aficionados of art, the responsibility to care for the works under our wings for a period of their ownership history urges awareness of proper protection arrangements. Further, the restoration and conservation of paintings can greatly increase their monetary value. In this blog we will explore the importance of conserving historical paintings. Proper restoration can yield incredible results, sometimes fixing fading, but often revealing the original vibrancy of a painting. Painting conservation in Minnesota should begin with a complimentary proposal from Hiro Fine art

Before and After
restoration processed through the Hiro Fine Art gallery

henrietta-clopath-stonearch-bridge-before     henrietta-clopath-stonearch-bridge-after
Henrietta Clopath (1862 – 1936)                                     This conservation work restored effects such as
Stone Arch Bridge, Minneapolis                                         hue discoloration, accumulated dirt, dust, grime
1903                                                                                     and discolored varnish.
Oil on board

Birney Quick before     Birney Quick after
Birney Quick (1912 – 1981)                        This exceptional conservation restored the paint
Unknown Title (Figure before a                    and surface from effects such as discolored varnish,
Fenced Landscape)                                        paint discoloration and grime. Note the stripe of bright
Oil on canvas                                                color on the right side of the before image.
c. 1937-1977

During the life of a painting, it is often exposed to different environments which can greatly effect its condition and appearance. Paintings are highly susceptible to several factors that can create physical issues, which should be addressed.

The causes of a painting in a less than perfect current state are directly attributed to past care and where it was stored or displayed. Restoration carried out in the past could have skinned, or removed original paint through excessive cleaning. On the reverse, overpainting is a cause for concern in which the original painting was extended too far, sometimes masking an artist’s distinct patterns or textural brushwork.

The quality of the environment where the painting was held may also produce negative effects. Climatic conditions in storage can weaken and deteriorate the materials or its structural support. Proximity to the activities of certain insects can damage art by leaving debris, or feeding, by creating gaps in canvas fabric or creating small tunnels in wood. In addition, exposure to water can lift paint, stain or shrink canvas, and moisture that produces mold can degrade material. The following table provides an introduction to types of wear and their causes.

Types of Condition Issues in Paintings that can be addressed with Conservation

Paint Layer
Bleeding: one paint area spreading into an adjacent area
Blooming: dull spotting on varnish
Discoloration: changes in hue or value
Cleavage: lifting of paint film layers, paint from ground, or ground from support
Blister: paint protrusion visible from lifted paint
Abrasion: deep scratches (by frame or cleaning)
Crack: break within one or more layers of varnish, paint, or ground
Craquelure: a network of cracks forming a pattern, from shrinking paint
Delamination: a separation of layers
Flaking: paint or ground layer dislodged from the support; lifted, loosening, or lost paint.

Dirt and dust: particles accumulated on the surface
Superficial grime: includes dust, grease, smoke and particulate matter
Spatter: dried splashes of foreign material
Stain: discolored by foreign substance or uneven aging
Discolored varnish: yellow or grayish varnish
Canvas and Support
Deformation: change in the form of a painting: warping of the support; buckling, waves or bulges
on canvas; draw, wrinkles radiating from edges of canvas; cockling, broad system of wrinkles;
and dimple, slight depression in surface that can result in a hole.
Split: rupture along wood grain
Support failure: canvas no longer suited to support painting
Embrittlement: canvas susceptible to snap, crumble, or break
Tear: break in fabric or sheet material

If you have any concerns regarding a painting, print, sculpture or any other work of art consider inquiring with the Hiro Fine Art gallery about restoration and conservation. We are the leading authority in conserving and restoring paintings, prints, photographs, works on paper, sculpture and drawings in Minneapolis, Minnesota. We can assess issues with the work and help you locate the best solution. Don’t sweat the state of the work; instead transfer the matter to the attention of field professionals that live to revive art. If you are looking for painting conservation in Minnesota give us a call at 612.643.0946.

The leading source in the field of painting conservation is Nicolaus, Knut. The Restoration of Paintings. Translated by First Edition Translations Let, Cambridge, UK. Cologne, Germany: Könemann Verlagsgesellschaft mbH, 1999.
If this article was of interest, check back soon for more entries on art conservation.

Our conservation process includes a complimentary proposal to list the different procedures we will do to your painting to bring it back to its optimal condition. Contact us today to find out the cost to get your painting, sculpture, print, and/or photograph conserved or restored.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]