Most of the paintings we offer you are at least a hundred years old. Every painting collects dirt and dust in time. The varnish turns yellow. The canvas loses some tension and small damages to the paint may occur. It is one of the missions of Ars Decora to return older artworks to a good condition so they can be admired for a very long time. To be able to do this, we rely on the services of our experienced art restorers Jos Deuss and Famke van Beers. Before his retirement, Jos Deuss was chief restorer of the Dordrechts Museum and in this position he restored famous artworks by Dutch masters like Cuyp and Israëls as well as ceilingdecorations and painted marble (please see this filmimpression of his work). Famke van Beers has completed a professional training in restoration techniques in Antwerp and has had her own workshop for over fifteen years.
The picture on the left shows the pleasure there is to gain in removing aged varnish and dirt from an impressive painting like our Joseph Middeleer. This huge painting was painted rather pasty, and cleaning is therefore quite elaborate. But eversince we had it cleaned, it shines as if it was painted only yesterday. All nuances in the color of the roof tiles and the plastered facade can be seen again. The lowest part of the fabric has been strengthened to be able to put the tension back on the canvas.
Small, disruptive lacunes are touched up but we never overpaint. Wear is often to be preferred to overpainting.
The fitting of a painting in its frame deserves some attention as well. Older canvases are often badly framed. There are chinks to be seen, the frame puts tension on the canvas or causes damage to the paint. When you buy a painting from us, it will be well fitted in its frame. One may expect an older frame to show its age, but disruptive damages are repaired.
Recently we bought some oil paper paintings on paper dating from around 1900. This paper is brittle and fragile, more so because of the layer of paint. On the edges some chips were missing and in some places tears were to be found - luckily not in the images. Our paper restorer Sophie van de Water repaired all damages on our request and added margins, so the original paper is protected and the sheet can be held in hand again.
All these activities are highly specialized labor and hence costly, but to offer artworks in a dissapointing condition is not an option. The invested costs play a part in the price of the artwork, but you can be assured that no expenses on the artwork will be necessary for a very long period of time.