Art Conservation Behind the Scenes

Art Conservation behind the Scenes, What happens in a conservation lab?

One of the pleasures of coming to work every day is seeing the wide variety of artworks we have in the studio to be treated. Each artwork is a whole world in and of itself and introduces a new challenge. And just because we’ve encountered a challenge before, doesn’t mean that we can resolve the issue the same way, because it’s always different from the previous artwork.

When a piece arrives at our studio, we study its condition and gather as much information about it as possible in order to develop a treatment. We proceed by treating the areas that need it, aiming to give the impression that the piece has aged naturally.

To be a conservator you have to be somewhat of a jack-of-all-trades. Background in art history is needed to identify the age of the pieces, their characteristics, and materials; chemistry knowledge is necessary to develop and implement treatments for the different materials and their behaviors; and artistic techniques alongside hands-on skills, together with an eye for color and a sensibility for seeing through the different layers of dirt, varnishes, and glazes, are essential to properly visualize the artist’s original  work and apply the required treatment.

It is the combination of all of these different fields that makes art conservation such a fascinating job. Having the opportunity to be in close contact with brilliant works of art and seeing the transformation they go through during the conservation process is very satisfying. What we do makes us proud and our clients happy.

But not everything that shines is made out of gold. In conservation there are hundreds of minutes dedicated to cleaning dust and grime accumulated on the back of an artwork, removing old repairs, adhesives, and overpaints, measuring chemical parameters, making and testing adhesives and varnishes, and several other endless tasks that are essential for proper treatment but pass behind the scenes, invisible to the eye of the general public.

It is precisely all that we do behind the scenes what we want to show you, and what gives us the name to this video: Art Conservation Behind the Scenes at South Florida Art Conservation.


2 Responses

  1. Greetings from the Philippines. Thank you SFLAC for such a very nice short video. Regards to our dear lady mentor there that we met in Barcelona. Our new laboratory has been constructed ang hoping that SFLAC will be our guide and inspiration. Again, thank you and keep safe.
    • sflac
      Loreto, thanks for your kind words.

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