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Save Your Stuff Blog

Posts Tagged ‘Painting’

Trashed Russian Old Masterpiece Saved

Saturday, July 31st, 2010

This painting has a great story I’m sure you’ll find interesting, even in its abbreviated form:

Painted in 1903, a Russian artist from St. Petersburg sent this painting to America to be exhibited in 1904 at the St. Louis International Exhibition to celebrate the Louisiana Purchase. An art dealer gathered paintings from his country’s best artists to expose their artwork to American buyers but once the paintings were in the United States complications arose. The paintings were shown but the dealer refused to past the custom’s duties. So, after the expo, the paintings were held in limbo for a number of years until they were auctioned off, by Presidential decree. This painting ended up at the De Young Museum, then the Oakland Museum of Art and then to several high end collectors, until it landed unceremoniously buried in stuff in a warehouse sometime in the 1960’s we assume.

Recently, the painting was unceremoniously designated to be discarded until a sharp-eyed collector saved it from the dumpster. What probably happened was that after a small rip had been repaired poorly, then another, and another… finally, the damage and the dirty surface made it fit for “long term storage” where it was forgotten… until someone started to clear things out.

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Art Treasure Found In The Trash

Tuesday, July 27th, 2010

Consult Professional Conservation Services Before Getting Rid of Art

mvc-049f

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The Challenge for Collectors: Knowing the Difference Between Real and Counterfeit Art

Monday, July 26th, 2010

Real versus Fake?

Distinguishing a genuine work of art from a counterfeit wannabe stands at the foundation of every collector’s turmoil. “Fakes” are not always an effort to deceive.  However, most “fakes” are fraudulent. Here are a few different scenarios to consider as a collector:

  • An artist’s estate can morally add an artist’s signature to a piece post mortem in an effort to identify the estate and the artist on artwork that was unsigned originally.
  • An unscrupulous art dealer can add a fake signature to make the artwork more valuable.  Even the signature of an unknown name can make the artwork more valuable than an unsigned painting.
  • A “new” painting can be antiqued to look old and more valuable.
  • An old painting can be “doctored” so heavily to mask or disguise repairs that it changes the essence of the artwork and makes the artwork no longer “original.”
  • Old artwork, now dirty, can be mistaken for something it is not.  This can be an honest mistake by a collector or dealer.

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Damaged Art And A Detective Story- A Japanese American

Friday, June 11th, 2010

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).

Damaged by being rolled up.

Damaged by being rolled up.

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Old Crusty Label Reveals Valuable Info On Antique Painting

Thursday, June 10th, 2010

We had a painting come into the lab from a CA client that use to be part of an old family estate in NY. The painting was very high quality, but very dirty and it had 16 holes in it. On the back was an old crusty brown label with no writing on it…. or so it seemed!

No writing on it... or was there?

No writing on it... or was there?

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Hanging nail gives away – $25,000.00 painting ripped.

Wednesday, March 10th, 2010

Look at this rip! Want to see some magic?!


This rip, on the left, was kind-a ugly: It ripped when the nail gave way and it fell off the wall… and got uglier when the fibers frayed.

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Water damage – mold – historic preservation – murals – artwork

Tuesday, March 2nd, 2010

I was asked to consult on a renovation project of a historical building. The reason I was brought in was because there were difficult problems with murals. While this may seem not so relative to your situation… read on.

First of all, here’s what happened (that could happen to your home or office): The roof leaked and water infiltrated into the structure, into the walls. The roof leak wasn’t dealt with quick enough or completely enough cause someone was trying to save money and not be inconvenienced.

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Clutter Bother You? Don’t throw out the baby with the bathwater! 5 VERY helpful tips…

Saturday, February 6th, 2010

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When you store or ship a painting, should you roll it up? 3 reasons to…

Monday, February 1st, 2010

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 Russian Portrait from about 1900.

A Russian Portrait from about 1900.

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What Dirty Stuff Is On My Artwork?! – 3 Tips of what NOT to do!

Saturday, January 30th, 2010
During Cleaning/Removal of Grime and Yellowed Varnish.

During Cleaning/Removal of Grime and Yellowed Varnish.

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:

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