Monday, April 12, 2021

Baumgartner Restoration

Art is something that I have always interested me. When I was a student I took art classes and I always enjoyed learning about and appreciating works of art, particularly those with historical significance.  I loved learning about the background of a painting, what it was about, what it told about the time it was made, and what story it told. 

I recently discovered the YouTube channel for Baumgartner Restoration, a Fine Art Restoration studio based in Chicago, Illinois. It is a studio that has been around since 1978 and is now being run by Julian Baumgartner, the son of its founder, R. Agass Baumgartner. Based on its website, it works on restorations with clients from small museums, universities, art galleries, art dealers, collectors, and private clients.

The channel features restoration work that has been done by the studio. I enjoy watching these restorations because not only is the work done being presented step by step, but I also get to learn about art, the preservation of it, and the restoration process because of the narration being done during the entire video (which I assume is done by Julian himself).

The restoration process often reveals details about the paintings that were not visible when they first came to the studio. I am fascinated by things like that. The fact that whatever story the painting has in the past can have an additional facet to it because of what is revealed is amazing. 

Watching the restoration process is such a relaxing thing for me to see. The removal of the canvas from the frame, the brushing of the canvas, fixing patches, removing previously applied varnish from previous restorations…I could go on and on. Every step is interesting and calming for me to watch. Julian goes into detail with his work (the videos can last almost an hour) and I love seeing what he uncovers and how he fixes any damage in the paintings. It is a lot of work, and I cannot imagine how much patience and attention to detail you need to do this in the way that he does.

Another amazing thing with the restoration process that I love seeing is how Julian can match the colors that the painting has to repair any damage on the surface and give back the original look of the artwork. How he can do that — particularly with portraits where you have to match skin tone — is such a fascinating thing to see.

For people who will attempt to watch the long videos, I just have to share that another thing that I enjoy seeing from the process is the part where he removes the wax from the painting. The part where the air is extracted from the painting on a hot table and flattens the art in the process is so cool to watch.  When he starts swabbing the painting to remove the varnish, I find it fulfilling to see what the art looks like underneath all the old varnish and previous repair work done. 

I find that the way Julian restores painting shows a lot of appreciation for the work of art and how he does not want to remove from the original intention of the artist. He is not a restorer who overpaints the damage or glazes over the damage, he goes through every detail to restore it in a way that does justice to the painting. 

If art interests you and the process of restoration is something you are curious about, Baumgartner Restoration on YouTube is something you may want to check out. It is a relaxing thing to watch and for art aficionados, it would be an interesting channel to subscribe to. I highly recommend it.


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