Oil Painting Preservation

Forever Framed

Feb 21, 2002
Williams Lake, B.C. CANADA
Is there a product that can be sprayed or brushed onto an oil painting to prevent flaking?
We have an old oil, where the paint is flaking off in large chunks. Very sentimental to client, they would like to preserve what is left.
Someone has suggested clear spray varnish or brushed on varnish. Will this work, or cause further damage? If yes, what brand/brands?
Any help would be greatly appreciated.
Thank you
Jerome is right. Very tricky. It likely needs to be handled through the back of the canvas as well as the front. The only way I would agree to trying something like that is if it were a choice between me and the trash bin because thats where it could easily end up. Are you in an out of the way location or could you find a good conservator near by?
we are 6 hours away from Vancouver BC. Do you know of any good conservators near to us? If it is something that we have to send - how do you recommend shipping? Also do you know of approxomate costs? An average that I can tell my client?

Thank you for your help.
Try doing a search of the Grumble archives. This subject has come up before and I know that resources have been posted on locating conservators. It sounds like shipping it in its fragile condition could be as hazardous as working on it. It should probably be hand delivered from the sound of it. It's a toughie.
I just thought of Rebecca, she's a coservator and a regular Grumbler and in Vancouver. Why don't you contact her, maybe she can help. I know she posted recently on the "Fox-it" question a little further on down this forum.
Rebecca is a paper conservator, but may have a recommendation for a painting conservator. Conservators specialize just as attorneys do, only they are preservers instead of destroyers...

Do not do anything to the oil yourself. Varnishing won't help anything...it needs the touch of a painting consevator as the paint is loosing its adhesion to the canvas.

A conservator will give you a "condition report" with problems listed and suggested remedies and associated cost to do the work. This is not a job that can be estimated over the phone...the conservator will have to have the painting in hand to determine what needs to be done.

Handle carefully...do not ship...

Dave Makielski
Try calling one of the Eastern Canadian conservators ... it's probably a small conserving world, and the chances are they know someone in the West if there is one at all.
There are lots of good paintings conservators in the Vancouver area- e-mail me and I can send you the list.

If you can send them e-mailed photos of damage, they may be able to give you a ball park figure to run by your client. They can also advise on packing and shipping.