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Thread: Oil Paintings

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    Default Oil Paintings

    The wife and I have been fortunate to have acquired a few oil on canvas paintings. They need cleaning and the interweb can be confusing. Mostly dust and household “stuff in the air”. Can I do this or is this something better left to a pro?

    Mike
    Mike Noble

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    Default Re: Oil Paintings

    If they need anything more than dusting, find a professional. The American Institute of Conservators is going to be the authoritative listing of qualified folks for this. You might also reach out to the Polk Museum of Art. I don't think they have a conservator on staff, but their Registrar or one of their curators will be able to put you in touch with someone local who can be trusted. My experience is that conservators are a very self-serious lot, but will work with you to find the intervention that meets your needs and budget.
    This is my substitute for pistol and ball. With a philosophical flourish Cato throws himself upon his sword; I quietly take to the bike.

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    Default Re: Oil Paintings

    ^Agree^. Some things are not very complicated. A bit of water on a lint free cloth. But other things well, sky is the limit. Technique for conservation varies based on age of the painting and the value. Better to have someone near you who you can visit personally and discuss details. In my experience, it is sort of like getting a musical instrument repaired. You want to know who you are giving the painting to, what their shop looks like, etc.
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    Default Re: Oil Paintings

    My daughter is a conservator (objects) in Washington DC. She says this is a great place to start. Download the 'caring for paintings' pdf. https://learning.culturalheritage.org/caring-treasures
    -Mike
    Mike Owens

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    Default Re: Oil Paintings

    The answer is it depends. If the paintings are actually worth a fair amount of money, then you may want to have a professional take a look. If the paintings are just older paintings with no real value besides sentimental, then I'd buy some Winsor Newton Artist Picture Cleaner. If you just want to removes some yellowing oxidation and grime from the varnish, this will do the trick. You want to experiment on a small corner or maybe even the side of the canvas to see if it does not damage the painting. Once you feel the process is safe and it is not removing or discoloring the paint, then have a go.

    If you think the paintings are of value, you may want to consult a specialists, but be prepared for some sticker shock.

    D

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    Default Re: Oil Paintings

    Mowens,
    Thanks for the direction.

    Vertical,
    I should have been more transparent, all paintings are from local artist we like so no “museum “ work hanging in our humble abode. I was going to use a feather duster until I read the pdf said not to and instead will try the brush suggested.

    Thanks guys,

    Mike
    Mike Noble

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    Default Re: Oil Paintings

    Quote Originally Posted by mnoble485 View Post
    Mowens,
    Thanks for the direction.

    Vertical,
    I should have been more transparent, all paintings are from local artist we like so no “museum “ work hanging in our humble abode. I was going to use a feather duster until I read the pdf said not to and instead will try the brush suggested.

    Thanks guys,

    Mike
    if you like the artist, give the artist a ring and asked how they think you should clean the painting.

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