A few months ago I came across this very large (40" x 23 1/2") antique landscape oil painting in one of my favorite antique stores in Portland. I was looking for a table for the guest house, and of course, found a painting instead.
I love antique paintings, especially landscapes, and thought that its antique frame (another passion of mine) was in fairly good condition considering its age.
The painting was extremely dirty however. A heavy layer of black dust (or most likely soot) covered the canvas, so I knew it would require a good professional cleaning.
Although I've considered having some of my other paintings cleaned, it is something I have yet to do. So I was actually quite excited to go through that process. I was extremely curious to see just how much of a transformation would result.
Here is the painting after the cleaning. The process involved removing the many layers of dirt down to and including the old varnish...and then re-varnishing. This is a process best left for professionals, particularly if the piece is of value (sentimental or otherwise).
The Cultured Pearl in downtown Portland cleaned this piece for me. Their gallery makes my heart flutter. Not only do they do painting and frame restorations, but they specialize in antique art from around the world and have a collection that will make you wish you had a special art 'fund' set aside (I need one of those).
Steve was able to tell me that this landscape was most likely from New Hampshire. He explained that the deer are a regional detail typical to certain parts of the country, which often reflect where the artist is from (this piece of art work is not signed). When combined with the canoe and the scale of the mountain range, the scene was narrowed even more specifically to the New Hampshire region.
Their wealth of knowledge at The Cultured Pearl is extensive. I could stand in their beautiful gallery all day listening to their every word.
It's just so fascinating.