People working in paintings conservation lab

Image © the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco

Paintings conservation

Located at the de Young, the Sardegna Paintings Conservation Center is devoted to the preservation, study, and treatment of the nearly 2,000 paintings and their frames. From the reduction of a yellowed varnish on a 15th-century Italian painting to the reattachment of flaking paint on an early American portrait to the removal of grime from a 20th-century abstract work, our conservation activities are as varied as the paintings in the collection.

Taking into account an artist’s materials, methods, and intent, we undertake technical research on paintings using such techniques as X-radiography, infrared reflectography, and examination under the microscope to better understand how the works were made and any changes they have undergone.