Thursday, August 12, 2010

Art Collector Wonders if His Painting Is Dirty

In the lab right now... For 75 years, this painting hung in a remote hacienda in the mountains South of Mexico City. Somewhow, it made its way to Southern California into the hands of a caring collector. He wondered if it should be "brighter"? Here's a picture of it during cleaning; the right side is clean and the left if still dirty. Wow!

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Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Cost to Correct Flaking Paint Problems Adds Insult To Injury RE: Bad Restorations

I actually really like this painting! This delightful scene in Veneto, Italy at the end of the 18th Century was brought to us because of flaking paint. The cleaning lady's damp, rag wiping down the lower areas (most easily reached), often causes this problem.

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.

So what is a collector to do? Get an conservation expert's opinion before buying. 
How to do that is best reserved for another post.

Flaking paint... this could have been avoided
Flaking paint... this could have been avoided
So, now, what to do?! The conservation costs will be at least $1,000.00. In the end, an art lover for this piece will spend to stabilize the condition and to have it look wonderful again... and perhaps recuperate much of the lost $25,000 value?

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Monday, August 2, 2010

Heirlooms, Memorabilia, Collectibles, Keepsakes: Protecting What Matters

This beautiful alabaster sculpture is a treasured heirloom from the owner’s mother. It was originally bought in the 1920’s in Florence, Italy and was passed down from mother to daughter. Sadly, due to improper packing and storage, the center section broke into several pieces. This greatly saddened the owner, as this heirloom possessed significant nostalgic value.

Damage due to improper packing and storage can be attributed to a lack of common sense. For example, some clients damage pieces when they stack a heavy box on top of fragile items. However, not all potential damage is as easily avoided, and when tricky situations arise sometimes you need an expert opinion. When advice is needed for packing home items, we have found such businesses as The UPS Store are extremely helpful. Although it may cost more time and money to safeguard your 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.

Although it is important to take extra precautions when packing and moving, it is another discussion for items on display in your home that can be damaged by various disasters (earthquakes, hurricanes… and grandkids!). We recommend using Museum Wax, which is an anchoring wax that can help you avoid damage to collectibles when a building starts to shake. It secures valuable items to the wall, shelves, tables, and more, which means less falling and breaking for art collectors. Once this client’s decorative plate is restored to its previous beauty, she can further protect it for further generations by securing it with Museum Wax.

This beautiful alabaster plate is shown in its entirety. 

These delicate pieces broke off due to improper storage and packing.

This resulted in significant damage.