Working in the artwork restoration: job description

Published on : 17 December 20203 min reading time

Presentation
Status

Employee/craftsman

Associated professions

bronzier, ceramist, heritage conservator, cabinetmaker, instrumental maker, ironworker, watchmaker, gilder, gilder-binder, gilder-restorer, furniture restorer, painting restorer, stained-glass restorer, glass restorer, glassmaker

Professional sector

Arts and crafts sector/culture and heritage sector

Areas of interest

Artistic or creative occupations / manual labor/repair, maintain, install equipment

Nature of work
Valuing the works

The restorer of works of art ensures the preservation of objects, paintings, books, furniture, tapestries, sculptures, stained glass … of value. Thanks to different techniques, he restores them to their original aspect.

Diagnose

The restorer identifies any alterations to the work and draws up a condition report. He then determines the type of intervention, the treatments, and the time required for restoration according to the period of creation, the artist’s style, the materials used, etc.

Restoration and prevention

First, the work must be disinfected to stop biological attacks. Then come the steps of consolidation, dismantling, cleaning, retouching, reintegration, or creation of certain parts. The restorer also writes a treatment report, illustrated with photos (before, during, and after) that can be used for future restorations. Finally, conservation recommendations are made to avoid further damage.

The restorer also takes care of the preventive conservation of the works. He takes care to slow down their aging by acting on their environment: packaging and storage conditions, quality of lighting, humidity level…

Career and salary
Independent

The majority of restaurateurs start their own business. When they work (alone or in association) in an independent workshop as craftsmen, they canvass their customers, respond to calls for tenders, prepare estimates, keep accounts…

Employee or civil servant

Approximately 10% of restaurant owners are employees of a private company or association. Some of them belong to a national network of workshops and laboratories of the Museums of France. Some civil servants are recruited through competitive examination and attached to a public institution (National Library, Archives…). The civil servant conservator assigned to a large cultural institution, works in a team, over time, and around a collection that he gradually gets to know.

Needs in painting and sculpture

Among the fifteen or so specialties listed, it is painting and sculpture that respond to the greatest number of restoration orders. Specialists in painting represent 50% of those registered with the French Federation of Conservator-Restorers, specialists in sculpture 24%. Other genres remain nevertheless promising: textiles, ceramics, wood…

Beginner’s salary

1615 euros gross per month for civil servant restaurateurs.

Variable salary according to orders for independent restaurateurs.

Understanding the differences between maintenance, conservation and restoration
What types of tasks is the art restoration worker involved in?

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