You Won’t Believe How These Old Paintings Used To Look Like

The history of painting is as old as time, but unfortunately, time has its downsides when it comes to conservation. As time passes, paintings tend to collect dust and grime, the paint itself begins to crack, and what once were vibrant colors have faded into nothing. Thankfully, Julian Baumgartner can restore any old painting!

The Chicago-Based restorer works around the clock to restore old paintings to their former glory, using a painstaking process. Every painting is unique and requires special attention. Using the wrong material might end up harming the painting even more.

That’s why Baumgartner spent years studying painting and restoration. He learned the craft from his father, a famous restorer in his own right, and joined his studio when he finished his apprenticeship.

Restoration might sound boring, but it’s actually fascinating – seeing a painting get a total makeover and change before our eyes is quite mesmerizing! Luckily for us, Baumgartner is kind enough to share his process on social media, along with commentary explaining his every step.

We’re used to seeing old, yellowing paintings, covered in soot and grime, with the color barely showing. But by the time Baumgartner is done with a painting, it comes back to life with brilliant colors seen in a new light!

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Another video of retouching the other major tear on the painting from yesterday. This one was a bit more straight forward and “easy” but still requires the same precision and attention to detail. This piece is privately owned and the client wanted full integration retouching (mimitec) such that the damage disappeared. The painting received an isolation of if-stable synthetic resin varnish and the retouching was executed in archival and reversible Maimeri restuaro paints mixed with a uv-stable synthetic resin (a different one than the varnish) to facilitate workability, body and UV stability. A final coat of the first resin varnish was applied after the work was complete. All of the materials used, ALL of the materials are archival and fully reversible so that if in the future Andy of this work needs to be removed (either during another conservation or because a different approach is desired) it can be done so without subjecting the painting to any risk of harm. All of this information is documented in photograph and reports presented to the client and stored in my database. This is one approach to addressing major damage on a painting, there are countless others each with benefits and drawbacks and it’s up to the conservator working on the painting to consult with the client and determine which approach will best address the damage and satisfy the client.

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