Regarding faded prints and paintings, here is a quick answer to a question I
get asked often:
By Scott M. Haskins, Art Conservator
I just had a chat with an art owner who asked me the following:
“We inherited three serigraphs (prints) which have become faded due to UV exposure. Is there any art
restoration technique to bring back the colors which can be performed? Any suggestions?
Here is my answer:
Sorry, Adam, fading is an irreversible, permanent process that changes the nature of the colors and the
binders or resins that hold the pigments of the paint together.
Btw, fading of pigments is not only due to ultraviolet rays that are found in the light of day, fluorescent
lights or in the tungsten (filament) light. Fading is also caused by the sheer quantity of brightness of light.
So, in other words, if you filter out ALL the UV rays, you can still get some fading, though a lot less. I’ve
done tests on this in our lab and seen it happen.
Though the colors cannot be restored to their original appearance, some spray treatments of faded paint
and inks with resins can intensify the color that remains, however.
I asked esteemed British expatriate, certified art appraiser, Richard Holgate what would happen to the
value of a work of art (including prints) if you repainted the faded colors to give them back some “pop.” He
said, “If you are thinking that maybe the faded colors could be repainted, consider that the value could go
Art conservation – restoration questions? Call Scott M. Haskins 805 564 3438
Art appraisal questions? Call Richard Holgate 805 895 5121
See numerous short interesting art conservation - restoration videos on YouTube at “bestartdoc” channel:
http://www.youtube.com/user/bestartdoc?feature=mhee Please leave comments and give the videos a
Go to http://www.fineartconservationlab.com for a quick tour of a painting conservation lab.