On the Hudson River, 19th century
William Louis Sonntag (American, 1822–1900)
Oil on canvas
Gift of Mrs. Frank Whitlock and Mrs. Kerr T. Riggs 1941.4.10

How much will it cost? $4,700–5,000


This denizen of paintings storage is intriguing. A comprehensive cleaning and treatment will reveal dramatic results, with major improvement anticipated. The unlined canvas has started to sag on the stretcher. There are widespread pinhead-sized losses, concentrated in the sky. The paint is being choked by a thick, discolored natural resin varnish, which is splotchy and unevenly distributed across the surface. A grime layer coats the top surface of the painting. Once in the lab, the painting will be removed from the stretcher and strip-lined if necessary, in order to strengthen and stabilize the canvas. Surface grime and varnish will be removed, and the pinhead losses will be inpainted in order to integrate the overall design.

The frame badly needs cleaning and conservation. We’ll have to determine if this is a period-appropriate frame which requires treatment, or whether the painting would be better served with a new frame.