This just came in the lab this morning. A very nice portrait of a Japanese American from 1944 in oil. Why it would be trimmed of its edges in such an ugly manner can only be explained by the painting being pulled from its frame, cut unceremoniously off its stretcher bars then rolled up and a hurried departure. Was the owner fleeing a natural disaster? Or maybe it was the social difficulties for Japanese Americans in 1944 when the USA confined American Citizens to concentration camps. In that desperate time, people fled with few possessions, stashed stuff in storage for, hopefully, later retrieval. We have done a lot of work for the Japanese American National Museum in Los Angeles over the years and they tell a heroic compelling story. (http://www.janm.org).
Posts Tagged ‘cracking paint’
Last evening I was called over to a house in the LA area. The owner had questions about protecting and preserving framed artwork that are heirlooms and dear memories (same info I have in my book, downloadable here on this site).
As we toured the house we got to talking about his family photos, certificates etc and he got fired up about getting everything copied, digitized, organized and prepared for an emergency (same tasks I outline in my book). He, however, doesn’t have the time as he’s busy with business. So we’re going to do it all for him.
Well, I guess the beginning photo tells you why its not good to roll up paintings, new or old! It puts stress on the paint layers and they don’t like it.
A question I often get asked, “How do I clean my___________? My answer is a LONG list of sad stories of cleaning lady’s “gentile” or “light” cleaning techniques and dealers trying to save a buck. And yesterday, I got another such story to tell you:
I’m asked all the time something along the lines of “What is the best temperature for my artwork?” or “What temperature should my house be?” or “What environment is best for my collection?” Well, its not a one word answer. The answer is kind of long, actually, but I think you’ll find the answer and the photos interesting.
What materials are you worried about protecting? A wood sculpture, an oil painting, a watercolor, glassware, a plastic toy collection, photographs, leather book bindings? Each material reacts to it environment a little different but by and large the answer to this question is, thankfully, not a single number temperature (that would be hard… and expensive… to try and maintain!). Its a range. My detailed answer to this question would be different for someone in Florida than Wyoming, or for someone living in Puerto Rico or Utah. But in general, what your items need, much like all of us, is stability.