Author Options:

How can I practice to restore and preserve old artwork? Answered

I have recently acquired a small (6"x 8") original oil painting that has been a family heirloom for a while now. As far as I can tell through research and artist signature validation, this piece is more than likely about a hundred years old. It is still in good shape but over the years has developed slight cracking in the paint in certain places and is yellowing from sunlight and smoke exposure from improper protection. While I don't intend on fixing these issues myself without the proper training (which is one of the main causes of the devaluation and ruining of fine art), after searching the internet for any restoration services nearby wear I live, there was virtually nothing available. It was also very hard to find even a few locations that even advertised such a thing.

So, I am curious after all this, how does one practice for these sort of skills, short of going to school to study such a thing? I would hope they don't let lay people practice on valuable works of art when they are learning.


The term used in the art world is an art conservator. There are training facilities, and HERE is a list of places by country. I think you require some innate artistic ability to start with and then need to learn through either a training facility or through apprentice work. I can't imagine one would learn through restoring a masterpiece, but certainly on art that has either been damaged intentionally or the aging has been exaggerated for the purposes of teaching.

Also try the art department of your local college or university. They should have some idea of who you could contact if you're interested in apprentice work. Contacting art dealers, galleries or even museums could lead you to someone in the business in your area.

Usually art restoration is practiced by people that are already artists themselves. Like Burf says most museums have people or subcontract experts to restore their works of art. Hire someone experienced. Remember that antique art has normal wear that reflects the character of the piece. Art that is painted over looses value because it disrespects the integrity of the art piece. I personally know an art restorer and artisan that might be able to help you. CPR Studios is located in Washington Boro, Pennsylvania and he deals with art from all over the United States and the rest of the world.


6 years ago

Search for schools and/or museums that offer art conservation courses. Anyone that has not done it probably isn't qualified to tell you how to do it.

Yes! You are correct sir.