COMMON PAINTING PROBLEMS

Damages. Painted artworks are delicate things, but they exist in a rough-and-tumble world. They fall off walls. They're caught in floods and fires. They're damaged in storage or transit. Sometimes they're vandalized. When these events occur, artworks can receive massive damage in an instant. Such damage typically affects not only the paint film, but also the support and varnish. Conservation treatment can do a great deal to mitigate (and sometimes eliminate) these damages, with the goal of stabilizing the artwork and making it more presentable.

About the photos. The photos on this page illustrate some of the countless accidents that can befall paintings. The top painting fell off of the wall because a screweye holding the hanging wire came loose. Flood waters damaged the portrait. Professional movers shattered the harbor scene into over forty pieces with a single accidental blow to the center. Repairing it required the services of two conservation sub-specialties — objects and paintings. An objects conservator mended the glass, then Page Conservation did the ingilding and inpainting. Unfortunately, the painting had flaking problems before its accident and a past restorer applied extensive repainting in oil to mask the problem. Not all of the repaint could be removed during conservation treatment, so the sky retained much of the choppy, irregular appearance it had before the accident.


Landscape badly torn by falling on wooden armchair.Portrait badly damaged by prolonged exposure to waterBefore treatment: Shattered landscape on glassAfter treatment: Landscape on glass mended, ingilded & inpainted