Assistant Paintings Conservator (Columbia, SC, USA)

This job announcement was previously advertised on September 11, 2017. To see that ad, click here.

Carolina Conservation is seeking a dedicated and career-oriented Assistant Paintings Conservator for its private practice. Ideal candidates are enthusiastic team players with strong critical thinking and applied problem solving skills. Time management and the ability to meet deadlines while working under pressure will be necessary. Carolina Conservation provides on-site disaster response for fine art collections that have suffered severe damage as the result of a fire, flood, or catastrophic disaster. Applicants please send a cover letter, resume, professional references, and salary requirements to

General responsibilities of the Assistant Paintings Conservator will include the following:

  • Assessment and evaluation of incoming collections
  • Preparation of condition reports, treatment proposals, treatment records, and additional documentation as necessary
  • Execution of treatments under the direction and supervision of the Lead Conservator
  • Perform conservation treatments to easel paintings & other works as directed by Lead Conservator, including, but not limited to: surface cleanings, varnish removals, varnish applications, consolidation, tear repairs, reversible fills, retouching, linings, and related tasks
  • Triage and on-site collection recovery
  • Client consultations and collection reviews
  • Additional responsibilities as directed and supervised by the Lead Conservator

Applicants are expected to meet the following education and work experience criteria:

  • BA or BS in related field (Art History, Fine Art, Chemistry, etc.)
  • Postgraduate degree in Conservation of Fine Art, specializing in the conservation of paintings, or equivalent training and work experience
  • Private practice experience is a plus, but will consider entry-level conservation professionals
  • Ability to work independently and contribute as an effective member of a team
  • Strong verbal and written communication skills
  • Digital photography proficiency
  • Computer proficiency

Essential Skills & Personality Traits: We have identified a number of skills and abilities that are critical to success in this position. The following are non-negotiable qualities we are looking for in a candidate:

  • An energetic, positive & optimistic attitude
  • Strong personal and professional ethics and conduct
  • Strong verbal communication skills
  • Ability to build rapport & develop strong interpersonal relationships
  • Professionalism, assertiveness & confidence
  • Meticulous, precise, & detail oriented
  • A team player that enjoys working with others
  • An enthusiastic commitment to excellence
  • Pro-active, responsible, motivated self-manager
  • Enjoys working with their hands
  • Processes new information quickly with a passion for learning
  • A passion for using their knowledge & skills to help others

Benefits include:

  • Comprehensive Health, Dental, and Vision insurance. Carolina Conservation pays 60% of all employees insurance premiums
  • Two weeks paid vacation + holidays
  • Volunteer and Angel Project opportunities
  • Continuing Education opportunities

About Carolina Conservation
Family owned and operated, Carolina Conservation has specialized in fine art conservation for fire and water damaged collections since 2005. We service major national accounts and companies within the property insurance industry. Due to the high level of service quality we provide to our clients, we have built strong industry relationships that have fueled the rapid growth of our studio operations. Over the past twelve years, we have grown to become the largest conservation studio in the nation exclusively specializing in fire and water damaged fine art and specialty collections. Salary will be competitive and commensurate with education and work history. Carolina Conservation employees are given the potential for strong career growth within our organization. We believe in providing our staff access to ongoing education, training, fieldwork experience, and volunteer conservation opportunities.

Senior Paintings Conservator & Assistant Paintings Conservator (Carlisle, PA, USA)

These job announcements were previously advertised on October 3, 2017. To see them, go to: Asst. Paintings Conservator, and Sr. Paintings Conservator.

Hartmann Fine Art Conservation Services, Inc. in Carlisle, Pennsylvania, USA (a private conservation corporation providing conservation services for government, museum, corporate, & private collectors for 35 years) is posting two positions for “Professionally Trained” paintings conservators.

We are seeking candidates for full-time employment, with benefits and commensurate salary, for an ASSISTANT PAINTINGS CONSERVATOR (3 – 5 years of experience desired) and a SENIOR PAINTINGS CONSERVATOR (7 – 10+ years’ experience desired), both of which will report to the President/Chief Conservator of our corporation, John Hartmann – Fellow Member of AIC. Both positions will remain open until filled.

Candidates recently graduated, or soon to be graduated from a recognized Conservation Graduate School/Program with less experience than requested, will be considered for the Assistant Conservator position. Work will primarily be based out of our conservation facility in Pennsylvania, but may occasionally require on-site work at project sites nationwide. The Senior Conservator position’s primary job responsibilities will include personally undertaking complicated conservation treatments; completing conservation reports; and overseeing the daily operations of junior staff, project work; and deadline scheduling at our conservation facility.

If you are interested in either of these positions in our active private conservation business, feel that you are driven, self-motivated, and work well with a team; please send a cover letter, resume and curriculum vitae, three professional or academic references, available start date, salary requirements, and a sample Condition Report and Treatment Report example to, contact our business office at 717-258-3009, or send correspondence by mail to: Hartmann Conservation, 321 West Old York Road, Carlisle, PA 17015, USA.

We look forward to having interested applicants join our team. Please use the following links for more information about each active job posting at Hartmann Conservation:

  1. Assistant Paintings Conservator description:
  1. Senior Paintings Conservator description:


Icon Internship: Paintings Conservation (Barnard Castle, UK)

  • Icon Internship, Paintings Conservation
  • 12-month Internship
  • Location: The Bowes Museum, Barnard Castle, County Durham
  • Educational Stipend: GBP16,000

The Bowes Museum, in partnership with Icon, and with the generous support of the Heritage Lottery Fund is offering a programme of Paintings Conservation internships from 2014 to 2019. The Museum will host one paintings intern per year, to work within the conservation department.

Based in the conservation studio at the Bowes Museum the intern will gain hands on experience working on the acclaimed collection of European paintings acquired by John and Josephine Bowes. This includes one of the largest collections of Spanish Paintings in any British museum. More information is available at

Working with the Paintings Conservator, the intern will carry out conservation assessments and treatments on paintings from the collection. As part of the conservation team, the intern will gain practical, preventive and workplace skills, tailored to help them develop their career in conservation.  Projects throughout the year will include:

  • Conserving paintings for exhibitions and displays
  • Conservation audit
  • Preventive conservation of the painting collections
  • Preparing paintings for loan/ tour
  • Regular contributions to The Bowes Museum blog
  • Publicizing the work of the department through networking with other professionals, attending conferences, publications etc.
  • Promoting Conservation through activities working with local colleges and schools

Candidates will be asked to present a portfolio with evidence of their conservation work and/or related painting skills at the interview.

You can apply for these placements if you have a recognized qualification in conservation, preferably specializing in paintings. Applicants wishing to pursue a career in paintings conservation, without formal training, but with a demonstrable interest in museums conservation and heritage, and able to demonstrate a high level of painting skills will also be considered. Applicants from all backgrounds are encouraged to apply

Please apply using the application form on the Icon website only.

  • Closing date: 9:00 a.m. on Monday, October 16, 2017
  • Interviews will be held on November 2, 2017
  • Internship will commence on November 2017 TBC

Questions? Write us at:

42 Annual Meeting-Joint Session: Paintings and Wooden Artifacts, May 31st, "Modern Materials and Practice in Gilding Conservation", Hubert Baija

Hubert Baija, Senior Conservator of Frames and Gilding, has been responsible for overseeing the conservation of the frame collection at the Rijksmuseum Amsterdam since 1990. Numbering over 7000 frames that are now accessioned and inventoried as works of art in their own right, Baija has had the opportunity to treat frames of different styles and condition issues. During his presentation, he discussed three treatments. He emphasized the need for close study and observation of the original materials, understanding the appearance and intended effect created by the frames in their original lighting situations, and choosing reversible materials in a creative way. He noted that a treatment need not be overly involved to successfully reintegrate the gilding.
His first case study was the treatment of a Louis XVI oval frame (1777-89) that was original to the portrait it framed. The discussion addressed the past practice of covering worn gilding with bronze paint, that later had been retoned with a dark glue/pigment layer to match the discolored bronze. These layers significantly altered the intended appearance of the frame, by negating the play of dark, light, and reflectance across the complex surface. Baija demonstrated that by removing the glue and bronze paint layers (using simple solvent mixtures), only a minimal amount of inpainting was necessary to reintegrate the gilded surface. While the improvement to the frame was impressive, the appearance of the painting when displayed in the frame was also significantly improved by the intervention.
Baija’s second example demonstrated his skill as an artisan, his keen observation, and his determined investigation of a little know technique that had previously been overlooked. He stylistically identified a pair of auricular frames carved from lindenwood to c.1660-1665. Both frames had significant worm damage, had lost smaller portions of carved decoration, and were overpainted and overgilded. Only small areas of the original gilding remained intact–between 5 and 30%.
The original gilding was done using a type of mordant gilding that is not known from historical texts and has not been identified before. Using SEM-EDX imaging of cross sections, the technique was characterized: the bare wood was prepared for gilding using a thick glue layer (1 mm Th), followed by a pigmented emulsion layer, to which the gilding was applied.
Noting that the tradition of gilding in the Netherlands had been lost since the 1580s, and that more traditional (and stable) gilding techniques would not be reintroduced to the Netherlands until later in the 17th century by French Huguenots, Baija surmised that this unusual technique was in use—only in the Netherlands–for a relatively short period of time. After his initial characterization of the technique on these frames, he has since identified other examples on Dutch frames and furniture that are stylistically dated to 1650-1680. Because the technique was inherently unstable given the response of the thick glue layer to changes in humidity, many pieces gilded using this technique have subsequently been overgilded.
After cleaning the frames of non-original layers, the carved losses to the wood were reconstructed using paper mâché /methyl cellulose mixture, mixed with water. The material can be handled like clay to buildup the appropriate forms. The paper mâché shrinks slightly, allowing for application of Modostuc finishing layer. Because an isolating layer of Paraloid B-72 had been applied to the original wood surface, the paper mâché fill remains easily reversible. Shallower losses were also filled with Modostuc.
Most creative was Baija’s approach to inpainting to create the illusion of distressed gilding. Noting that the original thick glue layer would only be very slowly soluble in water, gouache was chosen to provide a brown base tone over areas of lost gilding and structural reconstruction. Islands of worn gilding were recreated using mica pigments mixed with Schminke watercolors, masterfully creating the illusion of a worn gilded surface. Final toning was done using ethanol soluble dyes in Mowilith 20. Toning could also be done using Gamblin Conservation Colors, PVA, etc. Coincidently, the dating of the frames was confirmed and the paintings and frames temporarily reunited, when an early 20thC. photograph of the frames paired with their original paintings was identified. The paintings are signed and dated 1661.
In his final example, Baija described an approach to reintegrating an area of loss in the gilding on a panel painting by Lorenzo Monaco, Stigmata of St Francis, c.1420. The area of damage was on a stepped join that was filled using Modostuc and prepared for gilding with acrylic bole from the Kolner system. Baija emphasized the importance of selecting a gold that was the correct color, but lighter in tone than the final appearance needed. He noted that any toning layers/coatings would take away from the intended appearance of the gilding—imitation of solid gold. By simply inscribing the cracks in the newly gilded loss, using horizontal lines to disrupt the vertical disruption of the loss, the gilding was effectively knocked back to the correct tone. Minor glazes to create the effect of dirt in the cracks were then applied.
Each of these treatments demonstrated issues that are common to conservation of gilded objects. Gilded surfaces are often overgilded or painted with bronze paint to recreate the impression of gold. Alternatively, gilded surfaces tend to be toned dark, either to reintegrate corroded bronze paint or to tone back gold that may seem too garish or is disrupted in other ways.
Baija’s approach is one that brings back the appreciation of frames as works of art, rather than as just accessories to paintings. It emphasizes the need to understand the original and aged appearance of the gilding, and to recover what is left of the original. His approach is one that acknowledges the frames—like objects and paintings–should be treated in reversible ways, using conservation materials distinguishable from the original materials. It thereby breaks from the traditional approach of regilding frames using traditional materials and techniques. He encourages the exploration of new materials, the use of reversible layering systems, and acknowledging the patina of time and use. An overall theme of the talk was one of reintegrating the gilding only to the level of the best-preserved area of original gilding.
For those interested in furthering their understanding of gilding and approaches to gilding restoration, Baija teaches two workshops at the Campbell Center in Mt Carroll, Illinois. “Traditional Gilding” and “Gilding Restoration” combine lecture and practical work in the studio. I attended both workshops over the last two summers, and as a result have improved my treatment approach for gilded frames. I highly recommend them.

Stories of Success: A Collaborative Survey Shines Fresh Light on Korean Paintings

This post is part of the “From the Bench series celebrating the work of conservators. Part scientist, part detective, part artisan, part caretaker, a conservator works to preserve the past for the future. This series features the voices of conservators who are working on IMLS-supported projects in museums across the United States. For more information about IMLS funding for museums see

By Katherine Holbrow, Head of Conservation, Asian Art Museum, San Francisco, CA

Shared expertise plays an essential role in good collections care. In Spring 2012, valuable support from IMLS enabled the Asian Art Museum to bring together an interdisciplinary team of experts to carry out a conservation survey of rare Korean paintings.

Korean paintings conservator Chi-sun Park and her assistant, Eun-Hye Cho, of Jung-Jae Conservation Center in Seoul, Korea, collaborated with Asian Art Museum conservators, curators, and translators to examine hanging scrolls, albums, and screens dating from the 14th to 19thcenturies. The team examined each painting, then identified conservation and curatorial priorities, evaluated scroll and album mounts, and discussed treatment alternatives.

Left to right: Asian Art Museum director Jay Xu, visiting conservator Chi-Sun Park, associate curator Hyonjeong Kim Han, and paintings conservator Shiho Sasaki discuss a Joseon dynasty painting.
Did you know that due to a tradition of under-floor heating, Korean folding screens typically have feet? Above, Chi-sun Park examines a Korean painting mounted as a folding screen. The mount uses a mixture of Korean and Japanese elements.

The project quickly grew beyond an assessment of treatment needs, sparking stimulating discussions of the broader ethical and aesthetic questions that surround the remounting of Korean paintings, including the following:

  • What characteristics do Korean mounts share with Chinese or Japanese mounts?
  • What elements are unique to Korea?
  • How can the mounts help tell the history of our paintings?

 Good conservation decisions require a cultural sensitivity to fine detail and a clear grasp of such abstract questions, even if there is more than one right answer!

This lively debate, along with explanations of common types of scroll damage, strategies to extend the life of a painting mount, and repair options, was shared with senior docents and museum visitors in publications, tours, and lectures. Read more about the Korean paintings project on the Asian Art Museum website.