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Schilderijen Restauratie Atelier specializes in the conservation of paintings, from old masters to contemporary art. We strive to preserve paintings using the least invasive treatments possible, while respecting the artist's original intent.


Although a work of art can be timeless, the materials used are vulnerable to aging and degradation. Many types of damage occur to paintings, including tears, paint losses, discolored varnish, dirt accumulation and degradation of previous restorations amongst many others.


Restoration of modern and
contemporary paintings.

The complexity of the conservation of modern and contemporary art is caused by the wide variety of materials used, unique experiments with non-traditional material and unusual application methods. Non-drying or water-soluble paint, ultra-thin canvases, mixed media, extremely pastose paint are just some of the features of modern and contemporary paintings that can cause a wide range of conservation problems.


Before attempting any treatment, it is necessary to examine the materials and their sensitivity, to understand how the work came into being and what the artist's intention was.


Preventive conservation is extremely important when it comes to modern and contemporary paintings, to reduce the impact of aging processes, but also to prevent damage during handling or transport.


Painting by Albert Weisgerber showing delamination problems due to the multi-layer painting technique.


Treatment of this work by Serge Poliakoff involved the removal of fatty acid efflorescence.

Modern and contemporary art

Restoration of Old Master Paintings.

In older times, artists had to undergo a strict training. They were excellent at preparing canvases and their pigments, which also were limited at the time. As a result, their techniques are fairly well known and there is quite a bit of knowledge about degradation phenomena and how to treat them. The difficulty often lies in their treatment history and the conditions in which they were kept.

Besides rare paintings that have not been touched by a restorer, most older paintings have already been restored one or more times. Over-cleaned paint layers, lined canvases, extensive overpaint can be seen in many paintings. All of this can affect the appearance of a work of art. In addition to preserving paintings, we strive to restore them as much as possible to their original state and to keep the restoration treatment to a minimum. 


18th century painting after removal of large and discolored retouches.


Photo during varnish removal from a painting by Gabriel Ritter von Max.

Old master paintings

Tear repair

Structural damages, such as tears and holes often happen during handling or transport of paintings.

These damages negatively affect the aesthetic appearance of the painting and structurally weakens it. In many cases, there is also damage of the paint layer, in form of crushed or flaking paint or paint losses.


Depending on the type, size and location of the tear, there are many ways of dealing with them. If possible we treat the tear in the most minimal way, using the thread-by-thread tear repair technique. This re-weaving technique consists of pairing and rejoining the broken threads with a soft, flexible adhesive, while at the same time, intertwining them to recreate the original fabric.  If further support is necessary, thread bridges are adhered over the area of the tear.


In severe cases, were the tear is too extensive or there several tears it might be necessary to support the entire canvas through lining.


Repair of a tear under the microscope


Repaired tear, which also has bridging threads.

Condition Reports

Tear repair


Strip lining

Lining is the addition of a second canvas to a weakened original, to provide reinforcement and stability to an artwork. 

Linings were carried out a lot in the past, but nowadays conservators take a different approach. Attaching a painting to a new canvas is a big intervention and linings are carried out only if no other options are available. In cases where tears cover a large portion of the canvas, lining might be the most appropriate choice to fully restore the structural stability.

With time the tacking margin, the edges of the canvas that attach the painting to the stretcher, can weaken or tear. Rusted tacks are often having detrimental effect on the tacking margin. They also can become abraded due to aging and general wear and tear. Consequently, there is therefore not always enough material on the tacking edges to ensure the painting is well supported or that it can be stretched again.

To reinforce the tacking edges we offer a process called strip-lining, where pieces of canvas are attached to the weakened original tacking margin.


Lining of a damaged painting

Painting with a strip lining



There are many forms in which paint structure weakening can occur - flaking, lifting, delaminating or powdering of paint are just a few of them. These structural failures can occur due to a variety of factors, such as poor painting techniques or materials or unsuitable environmental conditions.

This type of damage usually needs immediate attention,
to prevent irreversible loss of the paint layer.

Consolidation refers to the stabilization of those affected or weakened areas by applying a consolidation agent that can hold them together without altering the appearance of the painting.

The consolidating agent can be applied in a variety of ways, by brush, through a syringe or even by fine mist using a nebulizer for matte and powdery paints.


Extreme peeling of the very thin and flexible paint on a modern painting by Wallase Ting

Photo after consolidation. It was possible to lay down the lifting paint and readhere it without altering the saturation of the paint.


Surface cleaning.

Dust, dirt and grime (such as insect-related deposits, grease and tobacco smoke) build up on the paint surface over time. Surface dirt tends to give the painting a gray, dull appearance. Deposits of nicotine usually look yellowish. Surface dirt can attract moisture and promote mold growth.

Cleaning a painting is a delicate and complex process that should only be performed by a trained painting restorer. Permanent damage can easily result from even the most cautious attempts to clean a painting by an untrained individual.


Removing surface dirt from an unvarnished painting with an aqueous cleaning system applied via a soft sponge.

There is a wide variety of cleaning agents and techniques used for cleaning a painting. Varnished paintings require a very different cleaning approach than an unvarnished acrylic or water-sensitive oil painting. In general, aqueous cleaning systems are very effective at removing dirt. To make water less aggressive to water-sensitive paint, the pH and conductivity of the water can be adjusted to match that of the surface to be cleaned. Further modifications may include the addition of surfactants or detergents, as well as chelating agents, to​​ allow better solubilisation of the dirt. Aqueous cleaning solutions can also be gelled, allowing a longer contact time between the cleaning solution and the surface to be cleaned.

Surface cleaning

Varnish removal.

Varnish removal is one of the most common steps taken during a painting restoration treatment. Artists varnished their paintings to create a​​ protective coating, but also to saturate the colors.

Over time, varnishes oxidize and turn yellow or gray, obscuring the paint layer. This discoloration will alter the tonal balance in the painting, making it look significantly different from what the artist intended. At that point, the affected varnish may need to be removed and replaced with a new layer of varnish that has better aging properties.


Before carrying out a varnish removal, tests are performed to assess the solubility of the varnish and the sensitivity of the paint film. Ultraviolet light can be used to study the presence of a varnish, which gives a lot of information not only about the varnish, but also about overpaint and old retouching.


Painting with a strongly yellowed varnish and discoloured retouches


Same detail during varnish removal


Finished varnish and overpaint removal

Varnish removal
Frame conservation

frame conservation.

Frames are an essential part of a painting, they not only aesthetically influence the painting framed within but also can protect or damage it. This studio is specialized in the treatment of paintings, but also carries out minor treatments of frames, including reconstructions of missing elements and gilding. For a complex frame restoration, a frame restorer will be consulted.​


Steps during the reconstruction of a missing ornament.

Conservation framing

Conservation framing.

Thoughtful selection of framing materials will enhance both the protection and appearance of a work of art. The smallest details can have a major impact on short- and long-term preservation. The frame rebate must be smooth and cushioned to prevent wear on the edges of the painting. The strength of the wood can decrease over time and the hardness and density are variable, so it's a good idea to regularly check the hanging hardware on the back of your painting to make sure it's secure.


Example of a bad framing, that can cause damages to the painting or lead to an accident. The nails, fixing the painting in the frame often become rusty and loose, causing paintings to fall out ouf the frame. Nails or ring screws are often not strong enough for hanging a painting securely.


In this case, the eye bolts were replaced by D-rings for the suspension system. The painting was secured in the frame with metal plates.

Painting back protection.

Applying backing board to the back of a painting is a very simple and cost-effective measure that protects against or reduces damage from impact to the canvas and against vibrations during transport. It also buffers against rapid changes in humidity and prevents dirt and debris from falling between the lower bar of the auxiliary support and the canvas. Schilderijen Restauratie Atelier uses inert materials that are stable and do not interact with the artwork.

Backing boards

Art collection surveys.

With larger art collections, it is not always easy to know the condition of the artworks and also understand the possible condition issues and how to solve them.​ Schilderijen Restauratie Atelier offers a full service, from examining a collection to analyzing potential problems and providing solutions for improving the condition of a collection.​ We also prioritize necessary conservation and restoration treatments and provide plans for the best maintenance of an art collection. On request, we provide training on how to perform basic maintenance yourself.


In order to evaluate the state of an art collection and to provide advice on how to prevent damage to works of art in the future, Schilderijen Restauratie Atelier carries out Collection Surveys.  This includes a thorough check of the environment, such as temperature, humidity, location of artworks, but also hanging systems and the condition of the framing. The customer receives a digital report with the current condition and solutions to improve it in order to best preserve the artworks for the future.

Art collection surveys


Schilderijen Restauratie Atelier writes condition reports for museums and private individuals. No work of art schould leave a collection without a condition report carried out up by a restorer. This is the document that establishes the condition of the work upon departure. If it is damaged on return, the condition report is the only means that can prove that the damage occurred during the loan, so that a claim can be made. ​

Often museums ask restorers to act as couriers because we know what is risky for artworks during transportation and installation. We offer to accompany particularly valuable or fragile works of art from the starting point to the final destination, both on trucks and in airplanes. This ensures a safe journey of the artwork.

Condition reports / courier work
Emergency response


An unexpected fire or water leak - this can happen anywhere, anytime. In most cases it is crucial that the artworks are handled quickly and correctly. Schilderijen Restauratie Atelier has experience with emergency response and advises customers on making an emergency plan for their collection.​ Who is responsible? What to do in case of fire? Who can I call? These are all questions that must be answered in order to​​ to draw up a sound emergency plan that can prevent or limit damage to a work of art.


Back of painting with tidelines from a water leak

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