Fine Art Conservation
Fine Art Conservation, Restoration, and Repair of Damages Due to Accidents and Aging of All Types of Fine Art
We are Burica Inc., Fine Art Conservation and Restoration, located in New York City since 1987.
Specializing in fine art conservation, restoration, and repair. From contemporary art to antiques, traditional paintings and sculptures, Asian screens, panels, scrolls, and all other types of fine art.
We will expertly assess and safely repair rips, stains, creases, cracks, fingerprints, tape marks, holes, etc. as well as any other damages to all types of material, including; canvas, paper, fabric, silk, sculpture, frames, stone, ceramics, and wooden materials.
As a certified fine art conservator, Director Timothy Burica holds both a Bachelor of Fine Art and a Master of Arts degree from New York Institute of Technology. With decades of treatment and fine art restoration and conservation experience. he has seen the effects of time and careless handling on thousands of artworks. His deep passion for saving and protecting the integrity of every piece of art he handles is evident in his craftsmanship.
We have two conservation and restoration locations and a broad network of numerous talented conservators in the New York City area to work with when additional teamwork is required.
When you need repairs of old original stretchers or strainers, broken crossbars, lost wooden corner keys and wedges, and broken frames, we will rebuild to make them the best possible.
With an extensive set of fine art conservation, restoration, and repair tools, materials, and supplies, we believe in saving as much of the original material created by the artist's hand as possible.
Timothy also creates fine art using traditional processes, canvases preparations, custom stretchers, sculpture, and traditional wooden frames with unique surfaces. He makes oil paints from scratch and has expertise in gold and silver leaf techniques.
For creative stimulation, Timothy makes frequent visits to NYC museums, Manhattan galleries, and fine art auctions. He enjoys studying and sharing how to produce fine art and looking at artwork from a conservator's perspective. He is passionate about discussing art, paint layers, varnish layers, framing or linings, works on paper, glass preferences, and hinge/mounting techniques.
You can find our fine art conservancy profile on the AIC website (American Institute of Conservators), where we have been a member since 1990.
In addition to writing fine art insurance claim reports, we perform pre-purchase examinations at New York auction houses and NYC galleries. We are equipped for remote video conferencing to discuss restoration and conservation findings. Digital photos will often alter the colors, so we use different lighting techniques to accurately show damages, previous restorations, and fine art repairs.
Contact us with your email, and phone number for a prompt and secure reply.
• Our conservancy client relationships are private, discrete, and secure. • We never share or post images of your fine artwork or conservation and restoration work. • We use the utmost care with conservatory records, emails, and texts. • We send completely secure, encrypted emails via Proton Mail with password protection.
• We will never send anything private with Gmail, Yahoo, or Hotmail.
A visual inspection of a work of art by a trained conservator. We must consider many different surfaces on each piece of art if a written report is requested. Emailed digital photos are a good starting point, and then there will be many questions to answer before giving you an accurate explanation of the conservation or restoration work required.
Many clients initially say they'd prefer not to pay for a fine art conservation or restoration report; however, they end up asking for one in the end in most cases. It isn't easy to accurately write after the conservation or restoration work is done, when everything looks perfect following treatment.
Written condition report with conservation treatment proposal:
Generally, we will offer three options in the proposal:
Option one is the least expensive, and it will just stabilize the damage (rip, hole, tear, stain, etc. is still there).
Option two offers some additional treatment, but the damage is usually still apparent.
Option three, the work is brought back to the best it can be for viewing and future resale value. Often it looks much better than it has in its recent past. Option three is what I always prefer to do, but the client must understand that it takes skill and time to take apart and rebuild a work of art correctly. There are as many types of fine art conservation and restoration treatments as there are works of fine art.
Painting - basic traditional painting structure:
From the reverse of the work, we move forward.
The Wall: What are the construction materials of the wall? Usually, acrylic paint on drywall or drywall covered wood plywood (in many galleries in the New York area). However, the wall could also be hard brick, soft brick, stucco, stucco-painted, real wood, real wood painted, natural wood lacquered. Inside wall or outside wall, a wet wall, meaning near water pipes or a water source such as a fountain. These are all questions to be asked.
The painting generally has additional support. It might be a solid wood panel, a stretcher, or a strainer. Strainers are simple four-sided rectangles or corner triangles nailed or screwed in to lock (restrain) the support in place.
A "stretcher" can expand, ideally more in one direction than the other. Traditional stretchers use small wooden wedges called "keys" tapped in to expand the rail and tighten the canvas. Each corner would have two keys, so each rail could be tapped in as needed. Another type of stretcher is called an "expansion-bolt" stretcher. Generally, I'm not too fond of these and change them out if appropriate. These have a threaded metal bolt with a round ball with holes to hand spin. The spinning "expands" the rod in both directions. Once you see the corner, it is clear that both side rails expand equally, so I don't like them. Very often, the stretcher needs to be keyed open in one direction but not the other. It is a significant consideration, and many things depend on the support perfectly fitting the canvas.
The Frame: Everyone knows what a frame is; however, there are numerous questions I need to answer about the structure before I work on the painting. There are three basic types (with a plethora of variations):
1) A "Strip-Frame" is a frame in which strips of wood are nailed or screwed to the painting's sides. If the frame is original (made by the artist), I prefer to save it. There were four Rauschenberg paintings in a MOMA show with his original wood strip-frames from the 1950s. The works appeared in "commercial frames under glass," but inside was his original, handmade, raw-wood strip frames.
2) A "Float-Frame" is generally "L-shaped" wood (but not exclusively) and attached to the back of the work. This type of frame protects the edges of the canvas but still exposes the side edges. The gap between the canvas and the framing is often varied. Some artists want the sides of their canvas to be visible. Some even sign on the side edge. Some artists want their works framed but cannot afford it. Other fine art on canvas is not intended to be framed but needs a protective "Travel-Frame." Float-frames can be covered in glass as well.
3) A "Rabbited-frame" is a frame such as a Gold leaf frame we often see around 15th to 20th-century traditional paintings.
Support: is the canvas, the woven material which is attached to the auxiliary support. There are many types, the best of which is linen. Next in quality would be cotton, then polyester. Traditionally fastened to a stretcher with tacks along the sides (and contemporarily with staples since the 1950s.) For my work, I use tacks along the sides and staples on the back. I use canvas pliers to get a nice even tension and always key out my traditional stretcher for a beautiful, proper canvas stretch.
Size (or Sizing): Used in canvas preparation (don't confuse it with the measurement or the size of a piece of paper). The size is traditionally RSG (Rabbit Skin Glue), but there are other types as well. "Hide Glue" or "Hoof Glue" all have different characteristics from each other. Another kind of size is "Acrylic Size." You will learn that I'm not too fond of that, and as a conservator, the natural glues are best. Some people will explain that acrylic does not expand and contract like RSG, but I prefer RSG. If properly prepared and adequately applied, RSG is thin enough to protect the linen from the oil. It holds the oil primer layer perfectly. An acrylic primer will work, but please don't paint with oil paint on it.
Priming Layer: The first layer applied. Generally, it is a white oil "ground." But there are many ways to apply and coat that primer layer. It is an oil with pigment. I have used lead white ground, titanium white paint ground, zinc white ground mixes, etc. There is a much to understand about canvas preparations (more on that later). Just knowing how a canvas was washed and pre-stretched before it is attached to the canvas is most important. After that, the "size" then the ground. After that, the next layer is the actual art painting.
Paint: Assuming you are using oil paint, there are generally four types of oil and various ways to make them dry fast or slow, depending on your desired technique. Real oil takes longer to dry than acrylics, but one can dry oil overnight or less by pushing it. Acrylics often are very fast to dry. And using acrylics on oil might sometimes be an issue. It all depends. I will say it all depends a lot, that's why I ask so many questions for a conservation report. I have seen so much damage. There are other types of paints, including alkyds, gouache, and watercolors. If an artist uses oil and acrylics in the same painting, and damage occurs, when cleaning or repairs are needed, we need to know what is natural oil or not, as oil and acrylics don't mix, and different chemicals are needed to deal with each.
Glazing: A term used to explain a painting's surface—usually, oil paint where the artist has applied oil over a section. Linseed, for example, to saturate that section. It is crucial to understand what one is seeing. If it is there and was put there by the artist's hand, we leave it. It likely will have darkened if it is thick, but it happens relatively early in the artwork's life, a few months even. Glazing is a technique different from varnish coating.
"Glazing" also refers to glass, acrylic, or plexiglass in a frame or attached to a wall covering the work of art. Glass protects the painting from UV and light fading issues. New plexiglass acrylics are much better these days, but I have seen them crack and damage art. I have seen them melt in fires, while I have seen glass break, but double pane glass will break and not tear apart. It holds together. I prefer to change my clients' works to double pane UV non-glare, non-reflective glass if possible. Varnish: Varnishing is such a fantastic and dynamic event in the life of a painting. The subject is vast; types of varnish, application of varnish, time of varnish, etc.