Career Profile of Fine Art Restorer

Holburne Museum, Photo by Matt Cardy (c) Getty Images
In Bath England, Holburne Museum staff unpack a Gainsborough painting which has been restored by a conservator. Photo by Matt Cardy (c) Getty Images. Photo by Matt Cardy (c) Getty Images

Job Description for Fine Art Restorer:

A fine art restorer repairs damages done to art work such as paintings, murals, sculptures, ceramics, textiles, paper works, books, and other cultural object or historical artifact.

The restoration done by a fine art restorer includes researching to determine which is the best course to take, and then cleaning the work and preserving it for the future.

Education Needed to Be a Fine Art Restorer:

Education to become a fine art restorer varies, as some art restorers carry on the family's traditional business, while other restorers will enroll in university courses to become a certified restorer.

If the choice is to study fine art restoration at the university, the student would take courses in chemistry, anthropology, studio art, art history, with the resulting degree ranging from associate degrees to the PhD level, depending on the area of expertise desired.

After graduating, it is common for the student to apprentice under a master conservator before taking on a major restoration project on one's own.

Skills Required to Be a Fine Art Restorer:

A passion for the art to be restored is necessary as any half-hearted attempt at restoration will show. Being meticulous, detail-oriented and patient are also good skills to have.

Skills vary according to the restoration project too, as restoring a 19th century painting requires a chemistry background and an in-depth knowledge of oil paints and canvas, whereas restoring a Medieval woven tapestry requires specific knowledge in textiles and historical methods and materials.

Career Opportunities for a Fine Art Restorer:

A fine art restorer can make a career in art restoration as numerous sites and institutions often require the services of a fine art restorer, such as museums, libraries, galleries, antique stores, historical societies, and any other business which deals with fine art and decorative art and historical artifacts.

Besides working in a conservation department of an institution, there are other options, such as working as a freelance/independent fine art restorer and restoring the art works of private collectors, or working on site-specific works such as restoring a historical mural.

FAQs on Fine Art Restoration

Fine Art provides a wide range of informative articles on various arts careers such as fine art restoration and conservation. Here are a few:

Further Resources:

"The American Institute for Conservation of Historic and Artistic Works (AIC) is the national membership organization of conservation professionals."

Art Conservation Resources

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