What types of art can Art Restoration Center restore?

We restore paintings, frames, porcelain, ceramics, wood, stone, marble, ivory, lacquer, cloisonné, plaster, and papier-mâché.

How can I get an estimate for restoring my artwork?

Our fees are based on the time and materials needed to complete each work. Before giving an estimate we need to examine the object. Sometimes preliminary estimates can be given from good photographs (including close-ups) & detailed description of damage. Photos can be sent to us via E-mail info@ (remove the space after @) or call 619-295-7026.

How can I determine if my piece is worth restoring?

Every piece has some value, be it historic, artistic, scientific, or sentimental. When it comes to evaluation of an object, you can go to certified appraisers, museums, specialized dealers. You can also look in guidebooks, auction house catalogs, or search the internet.  Sometimes it's good to compare a few sources, because the value of an object tends to vary with changing markets, regional tastes, availability, and demand.

Often the value of an item brought in for restoration is purely sentimental which makes it precious to the client beyond its actual market value.

What is the difference between conservation and restoration?

Conservation is treatment of an artwork in order to stabilize its condition from further deterioration. 

Restoration's goal is to return artwork to its original state/form by reconstructing its aesthetical appearance. It's not necessary to restore an object after conservation. Prior to both processes, there is usually examination and scientific analysis of an object. In order to choose the right treatment, we must determine the structure, materials, and condition of the object. Also we assess the extent and causes of damage and/or alterations to the artifact.

What restoration options can be used?

Before starting the project, we will discuss the most suitable options for this particular artifact with the client. Based on that information, the client can make a decision.  The possible treatments would be: stabilization, partial restoration, or complete (invisible) restoration.

As the name suggests, stabilization usually refers to conservation treatment.  Partial restoration may include stabilization, if needed, and can even involve partial reconstruction of missing elements. But at the end of process the artifact will still show signs of damage.

A complete or "invisible" restoration will show no evidence of damage and will return the aesthetical appearance of the artifact to its original condition.

How does restoration affect the value of the artifact?

First of all, one should consider age, rarity, and uniqueness of an object.  Most museum pieces have had some conservation/restoration done, but that doesn't affect their value. That's because they are historically and artistically significant and unique artifacts, priceless and irreplaceable regardless of their condition.

For other pieces, the more the damage, the bigger the loss. One should always consider the quality of restoration. If it was done professionally, using proper materials and techniques, then the restored piece will maintain most of its original value.  Experts' opinions vary but most agree that 75% to 90% of object value is retained after restoration.

Consideration also should be given to different types of art.  For example, removal of yellowed, discolored varnish from an old painting is advisable and usually acceptable. Not only will it not lower the value of the painting, but it may even add to it. But the removal of original finish and patina on an antique piece of furniture will destroy its value significantly.

What can be done with previous restorations and lost elements?

In the past many restorations were done poorly, using wrong materials and altering an artifact's condition and diminishing its value. Bad repairs often destroy a damaged art piece even more which makes it much more difficult for a restorer to work on. Sometimes repairs aren't easy to detect or change with time, deteriorating and contaminating an artifact in the process. Most poor repairs can be removed but it's usually a long and difficult task.

Many restorers encounter pieces that were worked on by their owners who could not actually do or complete the work they began.  We suggest that owners of artifacts avoid non-professional restoration attempts because reversing restoration mistakes can be a costly process that adds to the overall cost of restoring the piece.

When an artwork has some elements missing  almost every loss, even a significant one, can be reconstructed and compensated with reversible materials, simulating the original form, surface, color, and patina.  Examples of reconstruction can include: fingers, hands, limbs, flowers, lost paint, texture, varnish, glaze, gilding, etc.

What principles are used in restoration?

Our restorations are done using reversible materials and least invasive treatments that don't permanently alter the original artwork.  This will allow future restorers the option of removing and redoing any of our work without harming the object in the process. Scientific discoveries of new materials, methods, and techniques are constantly changing and improving the conservation field of today. For this reason reversibility is a very important standard of practice in restoration and it is used as one of the main principles in the code of ethics of conservation worldwide.

What are the guidelines of caring for restored art?

Even when the conservation/restoration process brings the artifact "back to life", it still should be treated with special care, remembering that work was done with reversible materials.  Generally speaking, restored art objects should not be subjected to extreme heat, cold, bright light, or moisture.

Utilitarian usage of an object, if it served such function before, should be limited and/or avoided in most cases.

Most restorations are cosmetic in their nature and even though they are strong and stable, they can be damaged by careless handling.

Regardless of the extent of restoration and final look of the piece, the fact that the artwork was damaged before becomes part of its history. We may choose to hide the damage, leave it visible, or something in between, depending on the specifics of the project. But as long as the artifact is in existence, its handling has to take the fact that it was restored into consideration.



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