10 Art Conservation Transformations: Amazing Before and Afters

 

When you go to a museum or other place of exhibition, you may not realize how much work goes into preparing those objects for display. Many hours of assessment, planning and treatment go into conservation and restoration. All the hours are worth it when you get to the end and see just how far the piece has come. Here are 10 examples of some of the most dramatic transformations we’ve seen at our studio.

Sculpture Conservation Examples

1) Marble Sculpture

This marble sculpture had multiple coatings of paint that created thick layers. The layers of paint were applied in an attempt to hide previously repaired areas of the sculpture but had started to flake over time. After much cleaning, the beauty was unveiled underneath.

 Before: marble sculpture with multiple layers of flaking paint

Before: marble sculpture with multiple layers of flaking paint

 After: marble sculpture after conservation treatment

After: marble sculpture after conservation treatment

2) Daguerre Monument

On display outside of the National Portrait Gallery in Washington D.C., this monument had experienced weathering that resulted in its dark brown appearance changing to a light green. Dirt and algae had accumulated on the stone surfaces as well. With a little cleaning and wax treatments, the monument is back in optimal condition.

 Before: bronze sculpture with patination damage

Before: bronze sculpture with patination damage

 After: bronze sculpture after re-patination treatment

After: bronze sculpture after re-patination treatment

3) Spartan Youth Bronze Sculpture

Abrasive cleanings caused the bright bronze substrate to be exposed, resulting in needing patination treatment. Two cold wax applications followed the patina treatments and the sculpture was buffed to finish.

 Before: bronze sculpture with patination damage

Before: bronze sculpture with patination damage

 After: bronze sculpture after conservation treatment

After: bronze sculpture after conservation treatment

Vehicle Conservation Examples

4) Abbot & Downing Stagecoach Conservation

This revolutionary stagecoach is one of only a handful in existence. Layers of darkened varnishes were removed to bring the stagecoach back to life.

 Before: stagecoach with layers of varnish

Before: stagecoach with layers of varnish

 After: stagecoach with varnish layers removed and areas of loss reproduced

After: stagecoach with varnish layers removed and areas of loss reproduced

5) Artemas Ward Chaise

There was much to be done to conserve this historic chaise for long-term storage. Cleaning, textile conservation, replicating missing components, and more. The transformation is quite incredible.

 Before: chaise before conservation treatment

Before: chaise before conservation treatment

 After: chaise after conservation treatment

After: chaise after conservation treatment

6) 1914 Detroit Electric

Originally owned by Thomas Edison, this Detroit Electric is on display at the Thomas Edison National Historic Park at the Glenmont Estate. Fenders, lamps, battery hoods and more were removed for vehicle conservation before the car was put back together, looking much better than before.

 Before: detroit electric in poor condition

Before: detroit electric in poor condition

 After: detroit electric in stable condition after conservation treatment

After: detroit electric in stable condition after conservation treatment

Military Artifact Examples

7) 24-Pounder Coehorn Mortar

Cracked and deteriorating wood was a major problem for this artifact. The metal also needed intensive conservation cleaning. After complicated molds were taken for the repair areas, a piece was created to fill the area of loss.

 Before: coehorn mortar with damaged base

Before: coehorn mortar with damaged base

 After: coehorn mortar after military artifact conservation treatment

After: coehorn mortar after military artifact conservation treatment

8) Lance Missile

This military artifact was developed in the 1960s and was approved for production in 1970 with the first battalion activated in 1972. A custom cradle was designed to carry and hold the missile during conservation treatment. New paint and stenciling finished off the transformation,

 Before: military missile with weather damage

Before: military missile with weather damage

 After: military missile after conservation treatment

After: military missile after conservation treatment

9) Bomber Jacket

Before attempting to repair the rips and tears of this bomber jacket, the surface was cleaned properly with special solutions. Areas of missing leather were filled and repaired. A mount was created for display. Looking at the after photo, it is amazing there was so much damage to the sleeve!

 Before: flight jacket with ripped sleeve before conservation treatment

Before: flight jacket with ripped sleeve before conservation treatment

 After: flight jacket after textile conservation treatment to sleeve

After: flight jacket after textile conservation treatment to sleeve

Furniture Conservation Example

10) Meier Clock

An unfortunate act of vandalism created much damage to this intricate Meier Clock. A broken clock face was one major area of repair. This clock conservation project was certainly an undertaking but resulted in looking like new.

 Before: clock suffered from damage caused by vandalism

Before: clock suffered from damage caused by vandalism

 After: clock was restored to exhibition condition after conservation treatment

After: clock was restored to exhibition condition after conservation treatment

 
 
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