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Best Art Restorer in Atlanta
Master Framing and Art Conservation Studio

2018 April 12
Repaired late 1800s painting

Repaired late 1800s painting

If you have a damaged antique painting or picture frame, it might be able to be repaired so well that even you couldn’t tell where it once had been marred.

I recently inherited an antique oil painting from my mother and had left it leaning in front of the sofa until I could hang it under a picture light. One night when I was frantically looking for a remote control, I pushed the sofa forward and heard a crash. I had forgotten the picture had been there. I looked down and saw  a 4-inch T-shaped gash in the middle of the painting.

That night I couldn’t sleep. All I could think about was how irresponsible I was. I wasn’t worthy of an antique painting. I was a bumbling idiot who had ruined one of Mom’s oldest and most valuable paintings. Throughout that night, all day Sunday and Monday morning, a repetitive recording ran through my mind, “I mess up everything in my life. I just want to die.”

Monday I called numerous art galleries and art schools within 100 miles, hoping a student or professional could fix the hole. I was directed to an art gallery, which just happened to be in Marietta where I live. When I brought in the oil painting the owner assessed it and said it dated back to the late 1800s. Looking at my sullen face, he said, “Don’t worry. It’s no problem. We can fix it and make it look like new.” The price for the repair would be nearly $3,000.

I didn’t tell my sister, my only living sibling, that I ruined the painting. I made this mess, and I was going to find a way to fix it. But I wasn’t going to pay $3,000.

Before Mother died, she had told us to contact Robert Ahlers to sell some of the finer contents in her home. Robert Ahlers holds estate sales and specializes in antiques, so I called him and asked if he knew of an art restorer.  He referred me to Susan Jones at Master Framing and Conservation Studio in Chamblee. She looked at the damage and said the repair would cost $400. Although I had recently gotten laid off from my job– within one week of Mother dying–I accepted her offer.

I didn’t have high expectations. I couldn’t imagine how anyone could fix a big hole in the middle of a painted canvas. But when I picked up the painting, even up close, the damage and repair were imperceptible.

Jones repairs all sorts of antiques. I received no discount or compensation for writing this piece. To see photos of antiques before and after repairs, visit Master Framing and Conservation Studio.

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