Tips For Fine Art Collectors

Art Salvage of Painting of Giverney France – Monet’s Colony

I was contacted by an 80 year old woman whose father had left her a closet full of antique paintings. The works of art were all by the same artist Vladimer Radimsky, that he had bought in Paris in 1920. He brought the paintings home to the US, put them away in storage and never showed them or put them up on the walls. They were all on stretcher bars except one that was rolled up like a newspaper and was considered destroyed.

A bad way to store or ship art

Examples of rolled up paintings – alway bad for the artwork

As a professional art conservator, our profession’s code of ethics doesn’t let us get into the buying and selling of art, especially with clients that come to us for art conservation services. Its a conflict of interest. We ended up cleaning several paintings, lining a few but in the end, the owner wanted to sell them all. I was kind of caught in the middle of helping the owner connect with a buyer who bought the whole collection, even though the artist is pretty minor and unknown in the US. That says a lot for the quality of the artwork! As a thank you, the owner gave me the destroyed, rolled up painting.

A little about Radimsky: He went to France to be part of the painting experience surrounding Monet’s colony. We assumed this painting was of Giverney as others in the collection that looked similar in technique and subject had written on the stretcher bars by the artist “Giverney.” Radimski was hit and killed by a car I believe in 1921.

After conservation from being rolled up

After art conservation treatments from being rolled up for 90 years

The painting was dirty, paint was flaking, deep cracking patterns distorted the whole surface… not a pretty sight. So, we started by carefully consolidating the lifting paint by absorbing low molecular weight thermoplastic adhesives into the cracks. Then we relaxed the cracks and distortions on the hot table and lined the picture, preserving all the original impasto or texture of the surface. Once lined and the painting was structurally stable, we were able to clean it which brought out the original colors, restored depth of field and contrast to the composition. Then we filled the paint losses, carefully and accurately inpainted and then varnished. It was put onto new stretcher bars and… voila’. Ready to go for another 100 years. Turns out, this painting was  stunning!

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Comments (1)

Jim HellorMay 8th, 2016 at 7:39 am

Very good story. Again, like many of your others, the ending is a very good one! Keep up the good work.

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