Our Approach

Large or small, young or old, every artwork is different.  The unique combination of materials, history, and condition are endlessly varied.  We want to properly clean and preserve the original artwork, what the artist created, to bring it to its absolute best state-of-conseration.

We work with the philosophy that “less is more”.  We strive to introduce as little foreign material to an artwork as possible, thereby respecting and preserving the originality, chemical make-up, and aesthetic qualities of the work.

Technique and Technology

X-Rays

X-rays are highly charged eletromagnetic waves that can penetrate the material layers of an artwork. Because of the differing levels of absorption in the materials, we are able to see distinct structures within the layers.  The ability to see beneath a painting’s surface is valuable in identifying hidden damage, structural additions, pentimenti and false craquelure. Even entirely hidden paintings can, quite literally, come to light.

Infrared

Where infrared light reflects what humans cannot see, the infrared camera captures buried carbon markers, primarily, of the artist’s first lines.  Utilizing a CCD digital sensor with wavelength sensitivity between 850-1000nm, the underdrawing (and hidden damage) is clearly visible.

Microscopy

Parma’s work in cleaning, filling and inpainting is often carried out with the assistance of binocular magnification, so details can be treated with microscopic precision.

Ultraviolet

Long wave U.V. lights can be useful for identifying non-contemporaneous (unoriginal) coatings, additions, and/or previous restorations. In the sample shown, ultraviolet light is revealing inpainting on this 17th century Italian painting.

Cleaning

Cleaning painted surfaces is a very delicate undertaking.  Every painting is uniquely different, owing to the endless variation and complexity in artists’ materials and methods. Our challenge is in removing everything unoriginal in the work, including: stains, insect accretions, discolored resins and varnishes, previous restoration paints, surface dirt, grime and other soiling materials that obscure the intended beauty and legibility of the artwork.

We believe in methods that are gentle and precise.  We gel many of our cleaning solvents, for example.  Gels reduce the penetration of cleaning systems, enabling the use of solvents that are less polar and/or ‘slower’ than traditional solvents.   Our cleaning systems are customized by the chemistry of a particular artwork and its obscuring layers.

Inpainting

Inpainting is a term that describes our technique for precisely compensating paint losses. Our inpainting is very technical and controlled, limited only to the area of actual loss. Using various and specific inpainting techniques tailored to the age, make up, and condition of the artwork enables us to best reflect the intent of the artist.