Cleaning an Oil Painting by Early California Impressionist Master Granville Redmond A New Find and Startling Results! Vintage oil paintings by Granville Redmond are some of the most sought after highly esteemed early California arts collated internationally. Because he is so well known, its amazing to me when a new painting that no one has ever seen surfaces… usually “dug up” by an art dealer who knows how to do his research and find such things. Here is a newly found gem… Badly in need of cleaning/removal of the discolored varnish Well, this dark landscape may not seem like a gem to you but the new owner knew before hand what this picture is supposed to look like when the darkened, yellowed varnish is removed. That is a kind of an inner gift some people have; to look past the grunge, mold, grime of the ages (some dealers romantically call it “Titian’s Dirt”) to see what things are supposed to look like once they are cleaned and restored. That’s where the money can be made too, as a dealer. When its ugly, they buy low, and when its gorgeous, they sell high. Here’s the painting during the art conservation cleaning: The varnish removal should never endanger the original paint. There are a couple of reasons I’m showing this to you, assuming you are a collector, curator, vintage art lover: once you start feeling at home with the aesthetics, history and market of a certain style and period of art, then the next level deeper in your knowledge should be to know more about condition of the artwork which will open your knowledge about fakes, poorly restored items and appraisal values. While authenticity stories usually interest everyone, very few people know any details of how to know and who to ask. Figuring out the condition of artwork is a major factor in determining value and authenticity. As you might guess, the older the artwork, the more tangled and convoluted the web of provenance, condition and authenticity can get. OK, maybe I’m getting off track here. We started this blog post talking about a new find of a previously unknown painting from around 1920 by Granville Redmond. In this case, the dealer/researcher who found and purchased te artwork knew the difference between needing a clean and the painting having a condition problem. In other words, even though he knew it needed to be cleaned, he knew it was in wonderful original condition. Kudos to Greg Colley at California Art Company for the find! His website is http://www.californiaartcompany.com. Here’s what it looks like cleaned: 1920's oil painting by Granville Redmond cleaned of its old discolored varnish I love his paintings that have moons, suns etc. in them. Despite Redmond’s fame with poppies, lupines and wonderful colors, this Tonalist picture is actually a type of painting or mood that he was famous for. In fact, his first art show medal (2nd place) was for a Tonalist beach scene. I also like the little light flickering in the window of the boat. If you would like to begin to delve into a deeper world of knowledge of condition and discovering the hidden details of restoration as you look at art and evaluate before you buy, then perhaps you will appreciate the following IMPORTANT, USEFUL, 3 tips: I had a client who was well experienced but he relied only upon “his eye.” That is, he thought he could see everything because he was so experienced in looking at art (and his ego got in the way). Recently, this art collector got scammed! See the hidden deception that he NEVER saw … and it cost him BIG TIME (about $35,000!) See 3 1/2 min video at www.tipsforfineartcollectors.or/blacklight-package He could have avoided it! INSPECTING AND EVALUATING A VINTAGE PAINTING (AND MORE!) WITH A UV BLACKLIGHT: REQUIRED Due Diligence For Art Collectors! GOOD CONDITION? RESTORATIONS? VALUE AND APPRAISAL? 3 GOOD TIPS FOR ART COLLECTORS Every art collector questions the condition before a purchase… or should! Art dealers and auction house personnel, art appraisers, insurance claim adjusters also rely on accurate evaluations and inspections that would benefit from the expertise of an art conservator First tip: Ask this question… Does previous art restoration/conservation treatments affect the condition and value of the item? The answer may be different depending on what professional “job” you have; a collector may look at an artwork differently than a claims adjuster. Tip Number Two involves another condition question that should always be asked regarding previous retouching/ inpainting. This diagnostic method is not as easy as recognizing purple blotches. How much inpainting affects the value? That’s not an easy question to answer and is better answered by an appraiser. And that sets me up for a good segue for Tip Number Three: associate with and choose professional “mentors.” Choose an art conservator that adheres to a professional code of ethics. The ethics of professional art conservation do not allow for an art conservator/ restorer to buy, sell or appraise (unless he’s a certified). There are many ways unethical people can take advantage in the art world. Of course, choosing to associate with the most knowledgeable person will be of the greatest benefit to you. So, find out more about the use of a blacklight… An essential, REQUIRED due diligence step for art collectors! www.tipsforfineartcollectors.or/blacklight-package If you have art conservation questions call Scott M. Haskins 805 564 3438 If you have art and antiques appraisal questions call Richard Holgate at 805 895 5121 Give this blog posting a THUMBS UP and leave a comment, please! To go to the front page of the Tips For Art Collectors website Click here!
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