Fine Art Painting Services
Van Witt Fine Art Conservation specializes in expert cleaning and restoration services carried out in compliance with the American Institute for Conservation (AIC) Code of Ethics which mandates the use of archival and reversible materials.
Founder Peggy Van Witt is a peer-approved fine art conservator and Professional Associate with the American Institute for Conservation (AIC). She and her team bring three generations of training, knowledge and expertise to every project. Van Witt’s creative sensibility is an ideal complement to her conservation expertise.
Our project scope extends from the restoration of an individual painting to expansive art collections.
Painting Restoration & Cleaning
Over time, paintings can collect airborne grime, nicotine, and a wide variety of debris and foreign substances. Before Conservation Treatment, multiple layers of soot and yellowing varnish literally obscure the painting, often concealing deeper damage. During Conservation Treatment, paintings undergo extensive surface cleaning removing any dirt, airborne grime or nicotine.
After Treatment, the delicate color nuances are restored, any losses to the ground and paint layer are looted and filled, and an application of ultraviolet protective varnish is added as an additional safe guard for the conservation of the surface.
At Van Witt Fine Art, we’ve seen it all including spaghetti sauce, insect eggs, crayons and glue. Sometimes the painting is damaged by someone attempting to clean it with soap & water or other common household cleaners. In time varnish tends to yellow and crack, giving the artwork an unsightly, dingy appearance. Restoring fine art paintings properly takes skill and expertise.
A PROJECT FOR CONSERVATION
On February 1, 2018, the Mulvane Art Museum concurrently launched an exhibition and fundraising project titled Endangered Art. Curatorial staff selected works from the Museum’s permanent collection identified as “most in need of
conservation,” to be incorporated in a rare exhibit (February 2, 2018- July 14, 2018) providing an opportunity for the public to see twenty-seven paintings that do not typically go on view because they are in need of conservation, cleaning, and framing.
Mulvane curatorial staff engaged an art conservator to assess the selected/exhibited paintings and is currently working to raise the necessary funds to conserve all twenty-seven artworks. On Friday, May 4, 2018, the Museum unveiled the first painting to receive conservation, an untitled seventeenth-century oil painting depicting the biblical narrative of the meeting of David and Abigail. Since then, five more paintings have received conservation, Aloysius O’Kelly, The Path to the Well, late 1800’s, Clarisse Madeline Laurent, Untitled (Portrait of a Man), 1891, George Stone, Model for a Head of Christ, early 1900’s, Clarisse Madeline Laurent, Eggs, 1892, and Charles W. Hawthorne, Wildflowers, 1928.
In the summer of 2019, the Mulvane will display a follow-up exhibition, Endangered Art: A Reprise (May 24, 2019 – August 17, 2019) to update an intellectually, emotionally, and financially engaged public on the status of the project. This exhibition will demonstrate the dramatic transformation of our conserved paintings to date, incorporate behind the scenes documentation of the conservation process, and present new research generated as a result of the conservation process.
Endangered Art serves to fulfill the Mulvane Art Museum’s mission, “to provide members of our community a museum where they can learn to think independently and critically about art,” and intersects with Washburn University’s 2022 Strategic Plan to continue educational programs “firmly rooted in the liberal arts and sciences, emphasizing creative and critical thinking.” The generated research and correlated programming for this project will provide insights into the field of art conservation and will underscore Endangered Art’s interdisciplinary scope—utilizing science and technology.
This comprehensive endeavor engages the community on a personal level, allowing visitors and members of Washburn University to feel a sense of ownership and responsibility for the artworks as they receive conservation. Please call (785) 670-2224 if you would like more information about this project.