in studium veritatis - the pursuit of truth.

It is not uncommon for the attribution of a painting to be lost as it passes through various hands. Sometimes identifying a painting is quite simple and a catalogue raisonne can be consulted for confirmation. Other times, often when the work has no provenance or is otherwise in doubt the conservator can provide invaluable resources and expertise.

Since its founding BFAR has provided access to research materials, scientific analysis and expertise to all clients and sometimes through these tools the discovery of an otherwise unknown artwork is possible. Below is a selection of investigative projects that have benefited from the work of Baumgartner Fine Art Restoration.


George Caleb Bingham
"Young Fisherman, Hudson River Palisades"
Ca. 1885 Oil on canvas 24 3/4" x 30"

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Purchased at auction this painting sat for several years with the owner until several inquiries from known galleries and dealers piqued the interest of the owner. With no signature and no provenance the artist remained a mystery. Through extensive research the owner had narrowed the possible artists but had come to an impasse as there existed no history of the work. The owner brought the painting to BFAR and after an examination including ultraviolet and infrared photography the remnants of a previous sketch were discovered. This sketch, invisible to the naked eye turned out to match exactly a page from the sketchbook of George Caleb Bingham, a noted Hudson River School painter.

Working with the owner and the author of the catalogue raisonne the painting received legitimate attribution, a working title and inclusion in the next printing of the raisonne.



Henri Lebasque
Untitled (reclining nude)
Oil on canvas 18 1/4" x 25 1/4"

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Signed by French Post-Impressionist painter Henri Lebasque and with a fairly clear provenance it would have seemed obvious to attribute the work to him and include it in the catalogue raisonne. Unfortunately the painting had been doubted by several buyers and cast the authenticity of the work in doubt as there have previously been forged works by Lebasque circulated.

When the painting came to BFAR the owner was in the process of working with the author of the catalogue raissone to verify the painting's authorship. BFAR executed a thorough examination and analysis of the materials including the tacks, canvas and stretcher to determine the age of the work. Further analysis of the paint film and signature was also necessary to rule out a recent execution. After submitting the report the painting was affirmed as an authentic Lebasque and included in the catalogue raisonne.



L.M. Wiles
"The Storming of Ft. Dearborn"
Oil on canvas 18" x 28"

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When this painting arrived at BFAR it was in lousy condition. It had been poorly wax-lined and so thoroughly overpainted that little of the original sky was present. The first goal of course was to undo all the previous work and bring the paintng back to the artist's original nintent. Through that process we revelaed previously obfuscated areas of the image that had been overpainted. In addition when the old lining was removed faint markings were found on the canvas. Utilizing infrared photography the remnants of an ink inscription were revealed to be a signature, title and description of one of the seminal moments in early American history; the storming by Native Americans of Fort Dearborn on Lake Michigan's Shore.