FSR conservation lab will stabilize, repair and restore water-damaged art from the Alberta floods

Conservator removes wet mats from a print
An FSR conservator removes wet mats from a mouldy, water-damaged print

The lab at Fraser Spafford Ricci Inc. has been accepting water-damaged paper, paintings and some sculpture from the devastating flooding in Alberta. Conservators are readying for the arrival of damaged material, and we have been on the telephone offering advising on the salvage of wet or muddy fine art. We have many friends and colleagues in Alberta, including the Conservators at the Glenbow Museum, and our thoughts are with you all as you respond to this terrible disaster. Collectors and cultural institutions are encouraged to visit our page on Disaster Response for some tips on salvaging art that is damp or wet. Consult the Contact Us page if you wish to speak with us for conservation advice or art conservation treatment services. The following images show a family heirloom – an oil panting on canvas – which was severely damaged by moisture due to a flood, causing flaking paint and opacity of the varnish/paint layers that masked the image. After conservation treatment in our lab, it was restored to its pre-disaster appearance. As conservators, we utilized materials and processes to ensure that the painting would be preserved and stable for years to come.

Painting in a flood has a bloomed (whitened) coating, blanched paint and extensive flaking of paint from the surface due to a weakened ground layer.
After conservation the paint has been consolidated (resin introduced between the paint and the canvas to readhere), the whitened varnish has been removed, a vapour treatment has been done to restore paint clarity and the painting is re-varnished.