The Paintings Department appreciates the importance of being a custodian of art and strives to do its part to preserve paintings by using the least invasive treatments possible for each piece.
The conservators recognize that a work of art is more than the sum of its parts and can only be enjoyed by respecting the original intent of the artist. While a work of art can be timeless, the materials used are vulnerable to age and environmental conditions. Many types of damage occur to paintings including: paint losses and flaking, tears, discolored varnish, degradation of previous restoration campaigns, and accumulation of layers of grime and dust.
Equally important to treating the paint layer is paying meticulous attention to the support on which it was applied. The support, or the structure of a painting, includes canvas, panel, board, and stretchers or strainers. The Center treats all material aspects of paintings using conservation-grade solvents, adhesives, and paints for the treatment of each individual work.