Restoring the William Aiken Walker Painting
An uncommon William Aiken Walker painting was the show-stopping surprise of our speaking event at the Malta Community Center in May this year. The painting is a beautiful example of Walker’s larger works on canvas and was a really nice find to end the day. As happens with many antiques, however, the years had not let the painting escape entirely unscathed. The William Aiken Walker painting had darkened and yellowed over the years. Oil paintings are typically sealed with a varnish that can become discolored with age. Moreover, our client’s painting also had a large four-point rip through the canvas (the damage can be seen in our image to the left). The owners of the painting approached us for advice on how best to restore it to its original beauty and we were happy to help.
Painting restoration is a very delicate process. The skill and experience of a conservator is paramount because even a “simple cleaning” is irreversible. When a rip or tear is repaired, sometimes a technique called in-painting will be required: literally repainting over the damaged surface to repair its appearance. Conservators must have years of formal training and practical experience, as well as a thorough understanding of art, art history, chemistry, and materials science.
The William Aiken Walker painting was meticulously evaluated and restored for our clients. The conservation team did a beautiful job, as you can see from the photo below: