Art Repair and Cleaning

I have been cleaning, repairing and touching – up artworks in many media for more than 45 years. This includes paintings, sculpture and various decorative works. I service private collections, art institutes/museums and auction houses. I have done conservation for the Smithsonian Institution, Detroit, Flint and Windsor Institutes of Art, Frank Boos Art Auction House and DuMouchelle Art Auction House.

Some of the many conservation projects I have done are shown below.

If you have an artwork that you would like me to touch-up, refinish or repair, tell me about it on my “contact” form and we will proceed.

 

 

Sonata by M. Ditlef
Sonata by M. Ditlef
this ca. 1940 offset litho was badly damaged, very yellowed with various random paint splatters and a botched repair attempt
Sonata_repaired
Sonata_repaired
Sonata after restoration by Richard Ulrich Artist/Conservator
William Woodruff Gibbs' portrait of Mary Ann Dawson.
William Woodruff Gibbs' portrait of Mary Ann Dawson.
19th century Romeo MI artist William Woodruff Gibbs' portrait of Mary Ann Dawson before restoration by Richard Ulrich. There was 150 years of dirt, soot, cooking oils and tobacco smoke on Ms Dawson.
Gibbs' portrait of Mary Ann Dawson after cleaning.
Gibbs' portrait of Mary Ann Dawson after cleaning.
Ms Dawson has been cleaned and varnished by Richard Ulrich.
Gibbs portrait of Rosanna Garvin before restoration.
Gibbs portrait of Rosanna Garvin before restoration.
19th century Romeo Mich artist William Woodruff Gibbs portrait of Rosanna Garvin before restoration by Richard Ulrich. This approximately 150 year old Gibbs portrait hung next to the fireplace in a home heated with wood and lit with candles and oil lamps. It was then stored in a wet dirt floored basement for decades.
Gibbs portrait of Rosanna Garvin partially cleaned.
Gibbs portrait of Rosanna Garvin partially cleaned.
William Woodruff Gibbs portrait of Rosanna Garvin partially cleaned. The cleaned area is one the left in this picture while the surface dirt is clearly seen on the right. This late 1800's William Woodruff Gibbs painting was in for cleaning and varnishing. There were some small tears in the canvas, mold, dirt and wood-smoke creosote dulling the painted surface.
Rosanna Garvin after restoration.
Rosanna Garvin after restoration.
Late 1800's William Woodruff Gibbs portrait of Rosanna Garvin after restoration by Richard Ulrich.
George Garvin before restoration.
George Garvin before restoration.
William Woodruff Gibbs portrait of Rosanna Garvin's husband George Garvin before restoration. He had been displayed and stored in the same conditions as Rosanna. This Gibbs portrait painting of George Garvin has a thick layer of soot, tobacco and cooking grease on it in addition to some spills, splatters, mold and water damage.
George Garvin partially cleaned.
George Garvin partially cleaned.
George Garvin portrait partially cleaned. The cleaned area is on the left in this photo, the soiled area is on the right.
George Garvin after restoration.
George Garvin after restoration.
William Woodruff Gibbs portrait of George Garvin after restoration by Richard Ulrich.
Portrait of Michall Wigle before cleaning.
Portrait of Michall Wigle before cleaning.
William Woodruff Gibbs' portrait of Michall Wigle before cleaning. The creosote, soot and cooking oil patina almost obscures all of Mr Gibbs detailing. Exposure to throws of heat and cold have cracked/crazed the paint significantly. This portrait hung over the fireplace in M. Wigles' den for 150 years. He smoked cigars, the house was heated with wood and lit with candles and oil lamps. Removal of the soil patina is a slow and arduous process done with Q-tips and professional conservators cleaning gel.

Michall Wigle after cleaning.
Michall Wigle after cleaning.
Gibbs' portrait of late 19th century Michigan surveyor Michall Wigle after cleaning and restoration by Richard Ulrich. Michall Wigle is seen with his Gurley Solar Compass, buckskin coat and beaver hat, at the break of dawn in the deep wet grass of the Michigan upper peninsula Porcupine mountains wilderness.
Early 1900's Scotch horseman painting before restoration.
Early 1900's Scotch horseman painting before restoration.
A layer of soot, oils and airborne particles dim colors and hide detailing. At the owners request, I cleaned a stripe of the painting to see how soiled the surface had become over the years. This stripe is visible on the left side of the picture.
Scotch horseman painting during cleaning.
Scotch horseman painting during cleaning.
I generally begin cleaning from the left side, working towards the right. Again, I employ Q-tips and a professional conservators cleaning gel. The going is always quite slow.
 Scotch horseman cleaning in process.
Scotch horseman cleaning in process.
Scotch horseman painting cleaning in process, close - up. The color difference can be clearly seen in this picture. A closer look at the film removal. The patina is primarily wood and tobacco smoke, thus the yellow-brown coloration of the soiled area.
Scotch horseman painting after restoration by Richard Ulrich.
Scotch horseman painting after restoration by Richard Ulrich.
This early 1900's painting cleaned up quite nicely. The colors are bright and the details are in sharp contrast as the artist intended.
George Hamilton before cleaning.
George Hamilton before cleaning.
Betsy Ross' cousin George Hamilton painted this self portrait. Unfortunately, it was never varnished, never cleaned. Fortunately it was always well cared for and did not suffer the abuses of wild swings of temperature and humidity. While Betsy Ross was creating the US flag, her cousin George Hamilton was painting his self portrait. My task was to remove the layer of soot and tobacco smoke without harming the paint on this late 1700's oil on canvas.
George Hamilton portrait after cleaning.
George Hamilton portrait after cleaning.
George Hamilton portrait after cleaning and restoration by Richard Ulrich. Mr Hamilton's self portrait after cleaning and varnishing. While he was a somewhat naive painter, he did a good job of recording his appearance and his technical skills were such that the paint film survived the passing of centuries relatively intact.