As the oldest and largest department in The Center, the Paintings Department is nationally recognized for its outstanding conservation capabilities. Our staff is experienced in the treatment of all mediums, including tempera on panel, oil and acrylic on canvas, and works on metal supports; as well as the treatment of works from all artistic genres and periods, including Byzantine, Baroque, Impressionist, and Modern and Contemporary.
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Saints Agata and Panthaleo, Unknown Artist. Egg tempera and gold leaf on wood.
This old Italian devotional panel was one of a set that arrived at The Center with age- and water-related damage, as well as previous restorations that were poorly done (#1). The completed piece is not only improved visibly , but structurally as well (#2). The close-up images presented here depict the piece after the grime and old restorations had been removed (#3), and the piece after the conservators had repainted the losses (#4).
Sunset over a Marsh, Bruce Crane (American, 1857-1937). Oil on Linen. 9 x 13 in.
This painting arrived with distortion in the canvas, as is visible on the right side of the painting, and needed a good cleaning, as well (left). The improved color harmony is especially stunning (right).
Amor and the Sleeping Woman, François. Oil on panel. 24.5 x 20.5 in.
This painting was in an exceptionally fragile state of fragmentation when it arrived at The Center: it had been damaged in a fire and had severe structural insecurities (#1). The conservation of this piece was lengthy and time-consuming, but its original beauty was eventually restored (#2). The extent of the precarious paint layer is exemplified in this shot of the artist’s signature (#3), while the companion image displays the results of the conservator’s work (#4). The remaining ‘cracks’ are actually craquelure: a natural state for aging paint, and thus untouched by conservators.
An Archbishop, J.F. Kaufman, (Swiss/American 1870-1929). 1904.
This stately painting had the misfortune of falling through a chair, which left some gaping tears in the canvas as well as multiple abrasions (left). The damage was mended and repainted to restore the painting’s former state (right).
Standing Nude, E. Tocundi. Oil on Canvas, 52 x 27 in.
The painting shows sign of ‘tenting’, that is, the paint layer lifts upwards, a consequence of a severely shrunk canvas (left). The final result (right) is achieved with the Dutch Method, as laid out in this article.
The Colorful Mr. Buck, Peter Max (German/American 1937-) Print on canvas with acrylic additions. 32 x 28 in.
This piece, owned by Mr. Buck himself, was damaged in a house fire (left). The painting was cleaned and the accretions were removed, but the numerous losses required rather substantial inpainting (right).
Portrait of a Man, Unknown Artist. Oil on Canvas. 21 x 17 in.
This family portrait was badly blackened in a house fire(#1), but as the in-treatment photo demonstrates, the damage was entirely superficial (#2). Read more about this treatment here.
Portrait of Thomas Fox, William Brockedon, (English, 1787-1854). 19th c., Oil on Canvas, 38.75 x 33.25 in.
This portrait suffered what appears to be a puncture tear (left). Achieving the painting’s finished condition not only required mending the tears (right), but first cleaning it of varnish and grime (center). Read about the treatment here.
Harry Lemon Parkhurst (American, 1876-1962). Spicy Adventure Stories, pulp cover, July 1939. Oil on canvas. 30 x 21 in.
The hallmark of the Spicy Adventure Stories were exotic locales and scantily-clad femme fatales or damsels in distress. This cover’s leading lady seems to be a bit of both, though this was only made obvious with the cleaning of the painting. Read more about this treatment here.
Sol LeWitt (American 1928-2007) Abstraction, Oil on Canvas.
The rust-like accretions that cover this painting were the result of improper packing. Fortunately, although the grime had begun to deteriorate the paint layer, the conservators were able to remove it and stabilize the painting.