An Introduction to the Arts

How to Restore a Recently Discovered Piece of Art

by Ethel White

If you take pride in your style and individuality, you may be on the lookout for certain pieces of art to help you complete the look and feel of your home. Yet you do not want to buy something off-the-shelf and would rather discover and restore an original piece to its former glory. However, what is involved in this type of work, and how can you make sure that you achieve your ultimate goal?

Hidden Treasures

Many amazing pieces of original art can be found at the back of a garage or in a loft. Sometimes, these pieces are in a significant state of disrepair, and you may be able to pick up a potential treasure at a bargain. Yet you still need to determine whether the art is authentic and will need to know what lies beneath the surface. Sometimes, you will need to repair apparent damage as well, and all of this is part of a restoration technique.

Determining the Objective

When you take this piece of art into an expert, they will tell you what you should expect. Each job is different, and they will need to conduct an initial analysis to determine what you are dealing with.

The Process

To begin, the art restoration analyst will need to establish the style of the work and the likely period. They'll want to know an approximate creation date so that they can be aware of the relevant techniques at that time, the materials available to the original artist and what to expect beneath the surface. They may use x-ray technology at this stage.

Infrared imagery can show the original drawing and various levels of paint that may be underneath the surface. Often, they will use cameras that have been purpose-made for the job with varying wavelengths. As different types of material and pigmentation absorb or reflect wavelengths individually, this will generate a lot of valuable information.

As soon as they know what they are dealing with, the restoration expert will then be able to use a special solvent to get rid of surface varnish. This will then allow them to work with the original artwork and carry out any repair necessary at that time. It's very detailed and skilful work, and they will need to use the correct paint colour, pigment and solvent to help restore the art to its former glory.

Once you are happy and the expert has completed their work, they will typically add varnish to protect the piece.

Experts Only

Make sure that you talk about the project with experts who are knowledgeable in the relevant techniques and know what to expect when it comes to the origin and style involved. They will help you determine the cost and time involved.