|WHAT TO KNOW
Whether you have a fading Fragonard or a dusty flea market find, a talented and knowledgeable art conservator or restorer can bring your artwork back to fine fettle. Make sure you entrust the work to someone with a graduate degree in conservation, who is also a Fellow or a Professional Associate of the American Institute for Conservation (AIC). They will need extensive education and training to understand the background of the work, the materials and techniques that may have been used, to create the restoration plan, and to execute it well. No small feat. Find out if they specialize—each era, including contemporary, poses different problems. There is often a distinction drawn between art conservators and art restorers. In simplest terms, conservators ensure that whatever is done to the artwork can be undone (though many restorers do as well). Get an appraisal on the work—but that's not the job of the art restorer and the cost of the job should not be related to the painting's (or other artwork's) worth—rather to the expertise, work and time involved. In general, do the least possible. Avoid this (ask if they have conservator's liability insurance).
CONSERVATORS AND RESTORERS
Alvarez Fine Art Services, 212.244.5255, in business for over 30 years, specializes in works on paper.
At Art Restoration NYC, 212.966.7254, Andrei Givotovsky works on paintings and murals.
Lisa Rosen of Fine Art Restoration, 646.241.0931, has been restoring paintings, churches and frescoes for 30 years.
Gloria Velandia Art Conservation, 860.294.9113, specializes in modern, post-war and contemporary art.
Irene Shekhtman Art Conservation, 212.627.5714, works with objects from antiquity to the present.
JD Conservation is the studio of Jonathan Derow, who treats works on paper, doing it all by his own hand.
Since 1907, Lowy, 212.861.8585, has applied the latest techniques in art conservation. They are well-known for their frame restorations.
At Pratzon Art Restoration, 212.807.7066, Jill Pratzon revives paintings on canvas and board.
Among the many successful large-scale projects undertaken by Rustin Levenson Art Conservation Associates, 212.594.8862, Old King Cole by Maxfield Parrish at the St. Regis.
Talas, 330 Morgan Ave. [Maspeth/Metropolitan] 212.219.0770, is the place that artists and conservators and bookbinders go for fine art papers. They choose from a collection of paper makers like Somerset from England, Zerkall from Germany and Arches from France.
The papers are used for pen and ink, watercolor, gouache, drawing, silkscreen, bookbinding, calligraphy, letterpress, typography, embossing, etching, sketch books, linocut, charcoal and digital applications.
There are archival storage boxes, slide sleeves, chemicals used as adhesives, for bleaching, for deacidification, inks and dyes, book cloth and bookbinding cord, leather, vellums and parchments, fasteners and finishing materials.
Talas, which is an acronym for Technical Library Service, was established in 1962 by Elaine and Herbert Haas and is now run by the Zalik family, who moved the business from Manhattan to Brooklyn in 2009. Most of their business is mail order but their showroom is available to visit.
One artist told us, "I have shopped at Talas since the 70's. It was way wacky in those days! Eileen and her beleaguered husband ran it in several different locations while constantly bickering with each other and colliding around filing cabinets that were placed akimbo, not in rows. The same nutty setup in each new location. But it was and still is the only place for certain supplies."