The Art Conservation Laboratory of Michigan

Fine Art Conservation and Restoration

To see Baumgartner’s  of how to destroy the history of an art piece in 11 minutes follow the link below:https://youtu....
03/23/2019
The assassination of a painting

To see Baumgartner’s of how to destroy the history of an art piece in 11 minutes follow the link below:

https://youtu.be/v1Mjc4zNfY4

In the article attached you can read Elisabetta Bosetti’s discussion highlighting the ethical mistakes of Baumgartner’s approach.

How to erase for ever the history of a painting in 11 minutes and 41 seconds and still call yourself a conservator of fine art. There is a channel on youtube where a “serial killer” sho…

Early 20th mural found in old building in downtown Ann Arbor. Help is needed to preserve it for the future. #AnnArborHis...
03/10/2019
Downtown Mural Restoration (Ann Arbor, MI)

Early 20th mural found in old building in downtown Ann Arbor. Help is needed to preserve it for the future. #AnnArborHistory

Professional conservation of the 1880's mural hidden behind drywall at the old Peaceable Kingdom in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

03/09/2019
Light retouching can help retouch blemishes of a decayed painting. This painting had severe mold damage and its paint fi...
03/08/2019

Light retouching can help retouch blemishes of a decayed painting. This painting had severe mold damage and its paint film suffered discoloration as a result of it.

The cleaning of paintings, as it is in this case, can be a challenging task but quite rewarding.
03/06/2019

The cleaning of paintings, as it is in this case, can be a challenging task but quite rewarding.

At the Art Conservation Laboratory, we love what we do.
12/07/2018

At the Art Conservation Laboratory, we love what we do.

The use of Ultraviolet in the examination of paintings is essential. It helps the conservator identify old restorations ...
11/16/2018

The use of Ultraviolet in the examination of paintings is essential. It helps the conservator identify old restorations that are sometimes imperceptible under the naked eye.

The Lab is celebrating the completion of its new portable extraction chamber.
11/07/2018

The Lab is celebrating the completion of its new portable extraction chamber.

The latest case of the failed restoration campaign of a 16th century sculpture of St. George in Estella, Spain is yet an...
06/28/2018
Botched Spanish art restoration criticised

The latest case of the failed restoration campaign of a 16th century sculpture of St. George in Estella, Spain is yet another example where entrusting an art piece to amateur restorer can bring a damaging and costly outcome.

Different to amateur restorers, art conservators are college trained professionals with experience and knowledge on the conservation of artworks. Before entrusting your art piece to any conservator do research. Make sure you are dealing with a trained and reputable professional. Ask about the ethical guidelines and experience in the conservation practice. Remember that the physical integrity of your art piece is on the line. A professional art conservator will be more that willing to answer your questions.

A "frightening" attempt to freshen up a 16th century sculpture of St George enrages officials.

It is wonderful to participate in the preservation of our community's material culture.
05/14/2018

It is wonderful to participate in the preservation of our community's material culture.

This Korean War artifact was discovered in a box with other navy memorabilia in the basement. The box had been placed there over 25 years ago, probably sometime in the late 1980s. We took it to a restoration expert, Celina Berenfeld of The Art Conservation Laboratory of Michigan. Now it is cleaned up, framed and displayed in a prominent place behind the bar on the second floor.

It is exciting and very rewarding to see how the results of our professional work enrich our Ann Arbor Community.
05/14/2018

It is exciting and very rewarding to see how the results of our professional work enrich our Ann Arbor Community.

This banner welcomed home the returning veterans of WWI. It has been in the Hathaway family for generations. It was in very bad shape (for many years it was on loan to Bimbo's restaurant and was exposed to tobacco smoke etc.). Celina Berenfeld of The Art Conservation Laboratory of Michigan cleaned and restored it for us. It is now framed and displayed above the stairs on the second floor.

At the Art Conservation Laboratory of Michigan we perform an exhaustive photographic documentation of the condition of a...
05/11/2018

At the Art Conservation Laboratory of Michigan we perform an exhaustive photographic documentation of the condition of all art work brought to us.

The photographic documentation is done under different types of illumination. The most common are: normal light, ultra violet light, and raking illumination. Each type of light and illumination methods provides conservators important pieces of information that help conservators understand the condition of the art work. Only then can conservators formulate a well informed treatment proposal catered for the specific needs of each piece.

The presence of mold on art works  can cause great damage to the piece and also to one’s health and home. This is the ...
05/02/2018

The presence of mold on art works can cause great damage to the piece and also to one’s health and home. This is the case of a beautiful landscape that shows evidence of infestation of microorganisms.

Visual examination suggest that this painting suffered a mold infestation. Evidence also suggests pthat while the mold was actively spreading a remediation attempt took place.

To stop the proliferation of microorganisms in the past, someone applied to the back of the canvas a thick layer of what appears to be a gum-resin. The gum-resin encapsulated both the mold and it’s spores. While this approach was helpful for the mold to stop spreading, the spores of the microorganisms did not die but remained dormant and encapsulated in the layer. This means that if the painting is exposed to the right environmental conditions the mold may become active again.

To prevent a future infestation the conservators at the Art Conservation Laboratory of Michigan must remove all possible encapsulated spores and kill all the mold. To achieve this we must find the proper solution formulas. The solution must remove the gum resin without causing damage to the canvas or painting layers.

At the moment we are running tests with different solution. Tests are being analyzed under the microscope at 40X and 1000X with incandescent light and Ultra Violet. These test will help to find the right method to tray the painting.

The 2nd Phase at the St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church was completed. It has been an honor to contribute in such amazin...
10/15/2017

The 2nd Phase at the St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church was completed. It has been an honor to contribute in such amazing project!

Painting and frame: before and after treatment photos.
07/20/2017

Painting and frame: before and after treatment photos.

So, you want to be a conservator...
05/06/2016
So you want to be a conservator? 10 traits you need to succeed | Icon

So, you want to be a conservator...


Icon's mentors and experts share their thoughts on must-have traits for the modern conservator


Conservation is a relatively opaque profession. Those outside the field would be forgiven for thinking it involves fiddling with something for a very long time to sort-of make it loo...

Last week the Art Conservation Laboratory of Michigan, LLC was honored with the visit of Clara Deck, Senior Art Conserva...
04/01/2015

Last week the Art Conservation Laboratory of Michigan, LLC was honored with the visit of Clara Deck, Senior Art Conservator, and Charles Sable, Curator of Decorative Art from the Henry Ford Museum.

During their visit the conservator Celina Contreras Berenfeld discussed how different stages of a varnish cleaning of an oil painting look when observed under a microscope.

02/03/2015

Proud that the Detroit Institute of Art is referring potential conservation clients to The Art Conservation Laboratory of Michigan, LLC.

Before and After Treatment
12/09/2014

Before and After Treatment

Mobile Uploads
12/09/2014

Mobile Uploads

The Art Conservation Laboratory of Michigan introduces our new digital microscope.
10/30/2014

The Art Conservation Laboratory of Michigan introduces our new digital microscope.

The Art Conservation Laboratory of Michigan has a lovely new guest. An original primitive American circa late 17th-early...
09/19/2013

The Art Conservation Laboratory of Michigan has a lovely new guest. An original primitive American circa late 17th-early 18th century.

General view of the archaeological site of Cholula, Puebla.
08/09/2013

General view of the archaeological site of Cholula, Puebla.

Detail of the shape of a covered  and more ancient pyramid.
08/09/2013

Detail of the shape of a covered and more ancient pyramid.

Amazing pre-colombian murals unavailable to visitors.
08/09/2013

Amazing pre-colombian murals unavailable to visitors.

Our visit at the team working on the conservation of the mural "The Drinkers of Cholula". Simply amazing.
08/09/2013

Our visit at the team working on the conservation of the mural "The Drinkers of Cholula". Simply amazing.

With the conservators of the site: Dulce Grimaldi and Elisa Ávila.
08/09/2013

With the conservators of the site: Dulce Grimaldi and Elisa Ávila.

Timeline Photos
08/09/2013

Timeline Photos

Cholula Archaeological Site, Puebla, México.
08/09/2013

Cholula Archaeological Site, Puebla, México.

If you find graffiti on your wall, don't clean it off. It might be worth a fortune!
07/28/2013
Banksy graffiti disappears from wall in Tottenham

If you find graffiti on your wall, don't clean it off. It might be worth a fortune!

No Ball Games 'salvaged for restoration' by company behind sale this year of another Banksy piece removed from shop wall

07/20/2013

Detroit’s Creditors Eye Its Art Collection

The collection of the Detroit Institute of Arts has become a bargaining chip in the city’s bankruptcy battle. FABRIZIO COSTANTINI FOR THE NEW YORK TIMES
By RANDY KENNEDY and MONICA DAVEY
Last Updated: 2:19 PM ET
As Detroit files for bankruptcy — the largest American city ever to do so — the impressive collection of the Detroit Institute of Arts has become a political bargaining chip in a fight that could drag on for years between the city and its army of creditors, who have said in no uncertain terms that the artworks must be considered a salable asset.

“We haven’t proposed selling any asset,” said Bill Nowling, a spokesman for Kevyn D. Orr, the state-appointed emergency manager appointed to deal with Detroit’s debts, which could amount to more than $18 billion. “But we haven’t taken any asset off the table. We can’t. We cannot negotiate in good faith with our creditors by taking assets off the table. And all of our creditors have asked about the worth of the D.I.A. And we’ve told them that they’re welcome to find out.”

Unlike most art museums around the country, which are owned by nonprofit corporations that hold a collection in trust for citizens, the institute is owned by Detroit, as is much of its collection — which is not particularly deep but includes gems by artists like Bruegel, Caravaggio, Rembrandt and van Gogh. It is considered among the top 10 encyclopedic museums in the country.

Museums do not generally appraise the market value of their works beyond a blanket amount for insurance policies. But experts have speculated that the institute’s works could bring more than $2 billion if sold.

Lea Schelke, a docent at the Detroit Institute of Arts, with van Gogh’s self-portrait and his “Postman Joseph Roulin.”
CARLOS OSORIO/ASSOCIATED PRESS
About a month ago, the institute’s officials were contacted by Christie’s auction house, which asked for an inventory of works and asked if appraisers could visit to assess the collection. It is unclear whether such a visit took place and whether it was creditors or someone else who enlisted Christie’s to begin an appraisal. (Mr. Nowling said that the emergency manager’s office did not do so, and Christie’s declined to comment.)

But as Detroit’s financial fate comes before a federal bankruptcy judge, it is clear that the desire of creditors to determine the collection’s worth will not go away.

The museum, which has hired a well-known bankruptcy lawyer, Richard Levin, to advise it on its possible exposure, declined to comment on Friday. But on its page, the museum said: “As a municipal bankruptcy of this size is unprecedented, the D.I.A. will continue to carefully monitor the situation, fully confident that the emergency manager, the governor and the courts will act in the best interest of the City, the public and the museum.”

Few large American art museums have found themselves in the financial cross hairs quite as often as the Detroit Institute of Arts. Not long after it was founded in 1885, it became enmeshed in a lawsuit that led to a loss of city appropriations, putting it in budgetary straits. In 1955, during a city financial crisis, the museum’s acquisitions mostly ceased. And in 1973, during another economic downturn, it had to close temporarily.

Last month, after the first rumblings that creditors were pressing the issue of the collection as an asset, Bill Schuette, Michigan’s attorney general, issued a forcefully worded opinion saying that the artworks — under the state’s trust law and other laws — were “held in trust for the public” and could be sold only for the purpose of acquiring additional art, not for satisfying municipal debts. He added that in decades of financial turmoil in Detroit, “at no time have the people demanded their most precious cultural resources be sold in order to satisfy financial obligations.”

Under federal bankruptcy proceedings, however, it is unclear what force that opinion would have. Even the question of what would happen if the city decided to sell the art is difficult to answer — whether, for example, the museum would appeal to the bankruptcy judge or would be able to go to another court to try to prevent it. Museum officials say the sale of even a part of an institution’s core collection in effect renders a museum defunct: donors stop giving money and art, attendance declines and other support dries up.

(The Detroit Institute of Arts’ annual attendance is nearly 600,000. Last year three Michigan counties agreed to institute a property tax increase earmarked for the museum, putting it on a secure financial footing for the first time in decades.)

Politically, and perhaps as a negotiating tactic, the question of the collection’s fate is being cast as a choice between measurable benefits, like city pensions, which could be cut to satisfy creditors, and the much harder-to-measure benefits of cultural assets.

“It’s hard to go to a pensioner on a fixed income and say ‘We’re going to cut 20 percent of your income or 30 percent or whatever the number is, but art is eternal,’ ” Mr. Nowling said. “For people, that’s a hard distinction. I think it’s a distinction that some of the patrons of the D.I.A. have a hard time understanding. We’re talking about real people here with real decisions that have real impact on their lives.”

He added, of the art works: “It doesn’t mean we’re proposing to sell them. But we need to know how much they’re worth and we need to know what value are they bringing back to the city.”

Bankruptcy lawyers say the issue of the value of such cultural assets goes beyond philosophical or moral arguments. For a bankruptcy judge, the questions could include whether the sale of a city’s artworks would have long-term economic implications — depressing tourism, harming real-estate values and the value of other cultural institutions, for example — in a way that sets a city up for financial failure again down the road.

Samuel Sachs II, who was the director of the museum from 1985 to 1997, said on Friday, “If they do attack this, it will be the end of one of the most venerable cultural institutions in the country, not just in Detroit.”

He added: “If you could sell off Detroit’s hospitals and its universities, would you do that, too? If you do things like this, you’re basically spelling the end of the city as an ongoing entity.”

On Friday, the corridors and galleries of the institute’s Beaux-Arts building were filled with a sizable crowd of patrons, with bankruptcy — not just aesthetics — on some minds. “I came over here almost in defiance,” said Alice Jackson, a Detroit retiree. “Because if they start selling off assets, that will be a big blow to our morale.”

Randy Kennedy reported from New York and Monica Davey from Detroit. Mary Chapman contributed reporting from Detroit.

Do not underestimate your old facial lotions. An archaeologist could be doing research on them in 2000 years.
06/19/2013
Ancient Roman cosmetics unearthed in London › News in Science (ABC Science)

Do not underestimate your old facial lotions. An archaeologist could be doing research on them in 2000 years.

The world's oldest cosmetic face cream, complete with the finger marks of its last user 2,000 years ago, has been found by archaeologists excavating a Roman temple on the banks of London's River Thames.

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Ann Arbor, MI
48108

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Tuesday 09:00 - 15:30
Wednesday 09:00 - 15:30
Thursday 09:00 - 15:30

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