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Seeing in Different Ways: A Liz Magor Backpack Project
Seeing in Different Ways:
A Liz Magor Backpack Project

Why Paper Discolours (Part 2)
Why Paper Discolours (Part 2)

Why Paper Discolours (Part 1)
Why Paper Discolours (Part 1)

Mending a Tear in an Aboriginal Drum
Mending a Tear in an Aboriginal Drum

Distortions and Dimensional Changes
in Paper (Part 3)
Distortions and Dimensional Changes
in Paper (Part 3)

Distortions and Dimensional Changes
in Paper (Part 2)

Distortions and Dimensional Changes
in Paper (Part 1)

After treatment
Oscar Cahén: Innovative Conservation
for an Innovative Artist

Rigid Water Gels: New Treatment Options for Paper Conservators

Structural Remedies for Canvas Paintings

Organizing and Preserving Collections - Part 4: Digital-based Material

Organizing and Preserving Collections - Part 3: Photo-based Material

Organizing and Preserving Collections - Part 2: Paper-based Material

First Steps
Organizing and Preserving Collections - Part 1: The First Steps

Natural Dyes
The Use of Natural Dyes in Textile Conservation

A Relocation Project

Challenges of Preserving Contemporary Artwork

Preserve Your Investment through Art Conservation

A Project Completed: Heritage Preserved

Old and New Methods for Cleaning Paintings

I Can See Clearly Now – Or Can I? Part 2

I Can See Clearly Now – Or Can I?

The E.J. Hughes Mural: An Expanded Project

Is She or Is She Not an Emily

Treating Art with Sensitive Media

Malaspina Mural: An Update

For the Artist: Testing Your Materials

Conservator as Art Historian

Alum Sizing and the Art of W.J. Phillips

Treatment of an Elizabeth Keith Wood Block Print

Structural Treatment of an Emily Carr

The Treatment of a Monumental Wall Hanging

Changing Images

Preserving a Rare Record

Gold Leaf: Imitation and Genuine

The Case Against Canvas Backings

Heritage Colours: Research Discovers Original Colours

Lighting Your Art: Balancing Seeing and Protecting

The Double-Sided Emily Carr Painting

Choosing a Period Picture Frame

How to Identify a Picture Frame

Stretching Canvas and Restretching Artwork

Mounting Textiles

Aging Paintings:
Some Causes and Effects

Chine Collé Prints

What's Your Favourite Color?

Backing Removals

Rips, Holes and Tears

Filling in the Gaps

DIY – Preventative Care of Paintings

Frame it Right

Fire, Water and Smoke-Damaged Paintings

Inherent Vice

Saturated Problems:
A Water-Damaged Painting

Moldy Paper

Conserving Time

Conserving Paper: Dos and Don'ts

Repair of Textiles

Conserving Wood

Rescuing Endangered Murals

Repairing Acid-Matte Burn

Art Services & Materials
Exhibition Openings & Events

Conservation Corner Back

Preserve Your Investment through Art Conservation

Thoughts from a Gallery Director: Susanna Strem, Chali-Rosso Gallery, www.chalirosso.com

Any art gallery that deals with historical art must deal with important conservation issues as well. Maintaining quality is a difficult yet crucial matter, particularly when it involves works on paper. Recently, several clients have brought in for consignment artwork that was not properly protected and this can adversely affect the value of a work of art.

Restorative conservation treatments can minimize this type of damage, but prevention is always best. Paper is a delicate, living, breathing entity which is sensitive to all environmental effects. Natural and even artificial light can cause colours to fade and papers to discolour. Direct contact with non acid-free materials like wood or old backboards and matting, will “burn” the paper, leaving brownish staining along areas of contact. Storing in high humidity areas can cause foxing, believed to be a fungal growth that causes brownish spots and discolouration.

All the above intrusions can be prevented by insisting on proper framing materials including rag matting, UV protective glass, and professional assembly to reduce moisture ingress. Remember to always place your artwork in areas that are neither extremely humid nor dry.

When investing in collectible art, we recommend you inquire about the condition of the artwork and even request a condition report. Flaws and damage will affect the selling price so if you are selling investment art, we strongly advise you to consider restoration before placing it on the market. Once you have established that a work of art is actually restorable, the major consideration is to determine how to best proceed with minimal intervention. A professional conservator knows how to preserve the work without compromising its originality.

Thoughts from a Conservator: Rebecca Pavitt, Fine Art Conservation, www.fineartconserve.com

Phoney Picasso

Braque lithograph before conservation treatment

Real Picasso

Braque lithograph after conservation treatment

“Is it worth conserving?” This is a question I am often asked, but am unable to answer because this means putting a value on a piece of art. Sentimental value is something only the owner or caretaker can determine and monetary evaluation is outside of most conservators' area of expertise. Our Code of Ethics prohibits us from appraising artworks in order to prevent possible conflict of interest. Like Caesar’s wife, conservators like to be above suspicion.

This is why conservators often work with galleries and appraisers who can place a value on art and artifacts, thus helping the owner or buyer answer the question, “Is it worth it?” Two basic considerations are used to determine most conservation plans: long-term stability and appearance. Appraisers and gallery owners can help the owner determine the best conservation cost/value added ratio for an individual piece.

In the case of this Braque lithograph, Chali-Rosso Gallery determined that foxing and matte burn distracted the viewer’s attention from the beauty of the piece, and that conservation treatment would improve its appearance and marketability. Treatment involved removal of the metallic nuclei of the foxing spots, chelation to bind any remaining metals and help flush soluble discolouration, bleaching to remove discolouration, rinsing and depositing an alkaline reserve to provide future protection to the paper.

Previously: A project completed and heritage preserved
Next issue: The challenges of conserving contemporary artwork


 Fri, Feb 5, 2010