Tips For Fine Art Collectors

Valuable Ripped Oil Painting Is Thrown in the Trash!

A damaged, ripped vintage oil painting from about 1915 of Saint Mark’s Square in Italy by American expatriot artist Colin Campbell Cooper was pulled from a dumpster by an antiques scavenger and sold to an art dealer who knew the works of the artist. Most people would have thought the painting with several rips and punctures was a total loss. But George Stern, 3rd generation art dealer in West Hollywood, California had seen before the magic that can be performed on very damaged artwork… and he “knew a guy.” Here is the quick video of the painting’s resurrection and thankful return to it’s former glory…

Valuable Ripped Painting

 So, did the excellent quality repairs of the ripped painting on canvas add back all the lost value of the damaged work of art? Was it “worth it” to spend the money on this ripped up rag… or is it a good investment? Well, this is “the game” art dealers play, to one degree or another, all the time…

First of all, ask yourself, what is the artwork worth all ripped up? Asking a certified appraiser would be a wise move. Its likely that the art appraiser might also offer a guess of what it might be worth after art conservation treatments. But it doesn’t take an expert to see the value in its damaged condition is a fraction of what it was before being damaged. Can all that lost value be recouped? The short answer: Not all of it, usually… but it depends.

If this extremely badly ripped up painting could look perfect after excellent quality painting restoration, then how much of the lost value is added back?

Its logical that even though IT LOOKS perfect, you won’t get the same price as if it were an undamaged equivalent. Consider also that the quality of the repair can make all the difference in the world, a quality that goes beyond just looking good.

As was said, the value depends. If you get the painting for free and you spend $3-5K for its resurrection, and if you then could sell it for $25K, you’ve hit a small lottery. But if you bought the painting for $75K and you don’t have insurance for the damage then you are going to take a loss.

Information about value of damaged artwork should be run by a certified appraiser who knows the market for the specific artist or the style of the artwork. If you have a specific question about value, call art appraiser Richard Holgate at 805 895 5121 and tell your story to him.

Here’s a valuable referral: As was said, George Stern, the art dealer in this true story, knew “a guy.” That guy was the veteran and esteemed art conservator for the Colin Campbell Cooper Estate for many years who had worked closely with Sherrill Hendersen, the artist’s grand niece. The painting conservation skills of Fine Art Conservation Laboratories have been demonstrated many times for George Stern Fine Arts over the decades. Here is a quick video of George Stern’s recommendation of their work:

S.Marks Square AC

And, again, using a work of Cooper as an example, the authentication of authorship of paintings is often a question on lost and forgotten artwork. Infrared reflectography is often used to see through layers of paint to see lost signatures. Here is a short video about that technology used to discover a hidden signature of Colin Campbell Cooper: This is a very educational YouTube channel for art collectors; subscribe.

Pigment identification is also a process in art authentication. Here’s an entertaining clip in Keeping Up With The Kardasians when they wondered if an inherited painting was the “real deal.” Modigliani Authen 7 min.mp4. Note: the Kardasians called upon the same art conservator as George Stern to help resolve their mystery.

Contact info Scott M. Haskins with art conservation questions: 805 564 3438

Appraisal info: Richard Holgate 805 895 5121

George Stern Fine Arts: 310 276 2600

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Keeping Up With The Kardasians

Comments (21)

Gregory FarhenMay 22nd, 2015 at 8:39 am

This is definitely top class work. There is no noticeable difference and it looks just as well as the original. It definitely would have taken some time and effort to get it done.

Andrew GreystoneMay 22nd, 2015 at 8:41 am

Restoring ripped paintings is just one of the areas of expertise that Fine Art Conservation deals with. Have a look at the video of the cedar rapids restoration project and you will realise the value that can be gained from some skilled restoration experts.

Bianca DurantMay 24th, 2015 at 8:22 am

I love the impressionism based style of Colin Campbell. Paintings by him always make people stop and stare at it. Thank Goodness the painting was recovered and successfully restored, a historic piece of art has been saved.

Riley BloomburgMay 24th, 2015 at 8:27 am

When I looked at the painting first, it was an absolute disaster. I thought the rip was too much to repair even with remaining visible traces. To see it completely restored to perfection is magical and really opened my eyes to the true potential of art recovery.

Ernie AlexandraMay 25th, 2015 at 12:38 am

Brilliant work. The painting was ripped very badly where the clouds are and there is also a rip where the tower is. No one would have thought it could have been restored. But in the restored picture it looks as though nothing happened.

Mary WoodhouseMay 26th, 2015 at 6:03 am

Scott is the finest Art Restorer I’ve ever seen. The work on this painting was a clear example of the expertise he and his crew have. If you go to someone else, you are doing injustice to your art.

Zeo CatriceMay 27th, 2015 at 12:56 pm

The restored painting is beautiful. George Stern knew the right guy for the job. The brush strokes look completely unaltered. The tower looks as if nothing had happened to it. I hope this beauty is well preserved for the eyes of the future.

Sebastian FitchMay 27th, 2015 at 12:59 pm

“Knowing the specific artist and the style of the painting” is important since the price may vary a lot based on that. I do a simple ROI calculation to decide if restoration work would give me a good return.

Gilly IlmMay 31st, 2015 at 6:43 am

Great post. It helps to learn the difference between a quick fix and a professional restoration. They may seem like the same thing to the amateur eye but it may mean a lot different to a professional.

Michael KnightMay 31st, 2015 at 6:46 am

Gold work on the Campbell Cooper piece. There is absolutely nothing better that could have been done to restore it.

Scott HaskinsJune 8th, 2015 at 12:42 am

Thanks Michael for the nice comment.

Scott HaskinsJune 8th, 2015 at 12:43 am

Oh so true Gilly!And that can make a huge difference in the value. Thanks for commenting.

Scott HaskinsJune 8th, 2015 at 12:44 am

ROI calculations are important when investing but remember to buy because you love the artwork. I can promise you that it will make a huge long term difference in your “portfolio.”

Scott HaskinsJune 8th, 2015 at 12:45 am

Thanks Zeo. Nice comment.

Scott HaskinsJune 8th, 2015 at 12:45 am

Very nice comment Mary. Thanks!!

Scott HaskinsJune 8th, 2015 at 12:45 am

Thanks Ernie.

Scott HaskinsJune 8th, 2015 at 12:46 am

Thanks Riley. Its very satisfying work.

Scott HaskinsJune 8th, 2015 at 12:51 am

Thanks Andrew for the very nice comment. For those that want to see the Cedar Rapids info click on this link:

Scott HaskinsJune 8th, 2015 at 12:51 am

Thanks Gregory. I appreciate your kind words.

Jim HellorMay 8th, 2016 at 7:00 am

That is amazing. Do you think things like this happen more or less often? I am sure finding that in the dumpster was just a stroke of luck.

Chase MillerMay 8th, 2016 at 7:46 am

I guess it makes sense that even though a painting was repaired AND it looks like the original, the prices and value are going to come down a little. I could buy that.

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