Restoring a Painting

Archived Responses: 

September 2001

I have a painting that is not valuable but has great sentimental value, and I like it. It is from the 1920s and beginning to show some problems--paint flaking and could certainly use a cleaning. Any recommendations for where to get a painting refurbished? This is not a Cezanne...thanks! Kathy

Call the American Institute for Conservation of Historic and Artistic Works, or AIC. 202-452-9545. They will send you information on how to choose a conservator. Website: good luck. signed, a Paintings Conservator at the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco
I know a wonderful woman who restores fine art in New York City (her clients are from all over, both individuals and museums). She is extremely well-trained at this art, and works with museum quality fine art at reasonable prices. Email Caroline Rieger directly if interested. riegerac AT earthlink DOT net Suzanne
In response to the question asking advice on cleaning a painting. I would absolutley NOT use any type of cleaning agent on the painting, not even clean distilled water. dry cleaning will be best, unless the painting is truely caked with junk. at work I clean black-and-white photgraphs, and geletin-sized linin-india ink architectural plans using the following method: I use a very soft bristeled brush to surface brush dirt and dust off. I do not use a soft rub cloth on photographs, but for ink-linen drawings I will use stadelter-mars eraser crumbs, which I get my grating a stadtler-mars eraser useing a fine grater blade directly onto the drawing, and then rubbing very lightly with a soft cloth, and then brushing off throughly with a soft bristeld brush. I recommend using a japanese 2.5 inch wide-bristle brush made by YASUTOMO, (in Taiwan), which has soft hair white bristles bound into the ferrule using cotton thread (not metal). erasers and brushes can be bought at good quality art stores. If your painting is flaking, dot use the eraser method, justr the soft brush. If you want more cleaning than a soft brush (and a light touch) can accomplish, consult a professional conservator. If during the brushing of the painting you notice that paint flakes are coming off, stop brushing it. check out the CoOL web site - Conservation On Line. I'm not sure of the web address, but I think it is part of Sara
If you have a painting that is worth restoring to you, whether it be for sentimental reasons or monetary reasons, you can't go wrong with Witherspoon Gallery in Lafayette. We have had approxinately 6 paintings restored there over the years. While it is expensove, they do AMAZING work and know their stuff.They are on Lafayette Circle in Lafayette. P.S. -- Ours aren't Cezannes either, but they have great sentimental value and I know these people spent HOURS on their work! Trish