Valuable Ripped Oil Painting Is Thrown in the Trash!

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A damaged, ripped vintage oil painting from about 1915 of Saint Mark’s Square in Italy by American expatriot artist Colin Campbell Cooper was pulled from a dumpster by an antiques scavenger and sold to an art dealer who knew the works of the artist. Most people would have thought the painting with several rips and punctures was a total loss. But George Stern, 3rd generation art dealer in West Hollywood, California had seen before the magic that can be performed on very damaged artwork... and he “knew a guy.”Here is the quick video of the painting’s resurrection and thankful return to it’s former glory…

So, did the excellent quality repairs of the ripped painting on canvas add back all the lost value of the damaged work of art? Was it “worth it” to spend the money on this ripped up rag... or is it a good investment? Well, this is “the game” art dealers play, to one degree or another, all the time...

First of all, ask yourself, what is the artwork worth all ripped up? Asking a certified appraiser would be a wise move. Its likely that the art appraiser might also offer a guess of what it might be worth after art conservation treatments. But it doesn’t take an expert to see the value in its damaged condition is a fraction of what it was before being damaged. Can all that lost value be recouped? The short answer: Not all of it, usually... but it depends.

If this extremely badly ripped up painting could look perfect after excellent quality painting restoration, then how much of the lost value is added back?

Its logical that even though IT LOOKS perfect, you won’t get the same price as if it were an undamaged equivalent. Consider also that the quality of the repair can make all the difference in the world, a quality that goes beyond just looking good.

As was said, the value depends. If you get the painting for free and you spend $3-5K for its resurrection, and if you then could sell it for $25K, you’ve hit a small lottery. But if you bought the painting for $75K and you don’t have insurance for the damage then you are going to take a loss.

Information about value of damaged artwork should be run by a certified appraiser who knows the market for the specific artist or the style of the artwork. If you have a specific question about value, call art appraiser Richard Holgate at 805 895 5121 and tell your story to him.

Here’s a valuable referral:As was said, George Stern, the art dealer in this true story, knew “a guy.” That guy was the veteran and esteemed art conservator for the Colin Campbell Cooper Estate for many years who had worked closely with Sherrill Hendersen, the artist’s grand niece. The painting conservation skills of Fine Art Conservation Laboratories have been demonstrated many times for George Stern Fine Arts over the decades. Here is a quick video of George Stern’s recommendation of their work:

And, again, using a work of Cooper as an example, the authentication of authorship of paintings is often a question on lost and forgotten artwork. Infrared reflectography is often used to see through layers of paint to see lost signatures. Here is a short video about that technology used to discover a hidden signature of Colin Campbell Cooper: This is a very educational YouTube channel for art collectors; subscribe.

Pigment identification is also a process in art authentication. Here’s an entertaining clip in Keeping Up With The Kardasianswhen they wondered if an inherited painting was the “real deal.” Modigliani Authen 7 min.mp4. Note: the Kardasians called upon the same art conservator as George Stern to help resolve their mystery.

Contact info
Scott M. Haskins with art conservation questions: 805 564 3438
Appraisal info: Richard Holgate 805 895 5121
George Stern Fine Arts: 310 276 2600

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Richard Holgate, art appraiser
Keeping Up With The Kardasians
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