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Fine Art/oil paiting identification


Gypsy Woman
Gypsy Woman  

Gypsy woman painting
Gypsy woman painting  
Hi, I have an oil painting which I love but needs restoring. I cant see the name of the artist due to breakdown of the oil on the canvas and wondered if you could identify it? The previous owner had Dutch connections? Also what an average restoration cost would be. many thanks Dee

Hello Dee!

Thank you for the   very interesting question.
Regarding you painting, there are a number of issues which all need attention and are all equally interconnected.

The technical issues.

The overall impression given by the two supplied  images, they  give an image of physical deterioration and  a general poor condition.
There is   an apparent “scaling” and deterioration of the bonding, that made by the underlying priming - which is attached to the canvas. In other words the physical bonding between the layers, is gradually coming loose and separating.

The resulting failure in the bonding of the paintwork, is resulting in the loss of the original surface, with the  “bald” visible areas  - which are now appearing.

Only a thorough technical investigation by a qualified and experienced restorer, can possibly shed  any more light on the specific reasons  - for the physical deterioration.

1. As to the artists signature, only a “ forensic” analysis can provide you with enough real evidence as to the possible name. Therefore, the painting needs to have a hands on  “vetting” - as ordinary  photo’s and methods, they are really quite insufficient.

2. Such a hands on examination, it  will also  provide you with a “quote” for the work involved.

3. Before  getting  involved in speculations about the  amount of work involved, or any restoration quotes,   a few essential  questions will  first  need to be considered.

a) Has the painting been recently valued by for example, by a local auction house – or perhaps an insurance expert?  In other words, what is the financial value of the work?

b) Sometime the individuals/ the families, or the emotional value can  sometimes -  be  even greater than any  financial aspects of an object .

In my own opinion, and based on the  images supplied - the painting is fairly contemporary and may possibly date to  the 1930’s.

However, it is a genre painting, which has its roots in the  19th century European Academic  schools addictions, to Orientalism.

Even the  1920 and 1930’s movies of  Hollywood,  also became  infatuated by the  exotic ideas of the near east -  and  of  travelling to foreign places.

So, from the coast of Sorrento in Italy  - to Agatha Christies  “Death on the Nile”  and travels  on the Orient Express towards  Istanbul,  and the colourful souks in  North African Tangiers, each have left a fingerprint  behind.

Therein, lays the key  to your painting.

I personally -  unless the painting is of great  personal value  to yourself - would  advise against a rigorous, or a  full restoration.

As is the case in all  conservation and restoration procedures any original works of art -   the golden rule of ;
What is lost, is lost forever and can only be shielded, or camouflaged  by cosmetic  resources.

In a way, it is a bit like the pioneering medical work which was done on the faces of the RAF fighter pilots - during the Second World War, with the help of plastic - or cosmetic surgery.

I would therefore advise, in getting the remaining original paintwork fixated and the surface cleaned  - and  also re -varnished.

Each  qualified and expert restorer can fix, ( withing reason)  their own tariffs for the work involved, and also  provide the owner with the written  records and  photographs  - of the whole  procedure involved.  

However, I could imagine that the amount of work needed – including all the relevant documentation of the work -  and also provided that the painting is a not a gigantic huge thing, it  may cost in the region of 230 -270 GBP  incl. VAT - to restore.

Having said that, a proper restoration, it will also increase the value of the painting by adding to the documentation and provenance.
In fact, the authorship of the painting may also be discovered, and that always adds a great deal of value to the  painting.

Doing nothing, it  means that the physical deterioration of the painting will only increase with time and the  financial  value, it  will also rapidly decrease.

A good restorer, can also  also provide you with a much  better picture frame, to further enhance the painting and the value.

After any restoration, please  keep the painting out of any  direct and prolonged sunlight and also well way from any “halogen”  lighting, in fact LED lighting - is in much better!

Very good luck with the painting, and I hope that you will have many years of enjoyment from the rather   “mysterious lady” with a red headscarf.

In a way, it also symbolised that  special moment in the film “Casablanca” -  when those famous words called out;.......  >> Play it again Sam <<!!!

To  choose a qualified  restorer, her is a link to the professional association in England which is  called “The British Association Of Paintings Conservator - Restorers.”

They will be able to assist and provide you will all the names, and  the relevant  details of all the  qualified  experts  in your own  geographical area, of the U.K.

Here  are the links;

Please contact the secretary, Gemma Collins, either on 07989 559 346, or by email.

Please also do remember, that we are here as experts - to help the general public, and to provide a good professional service!

Take care!

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D. E. Lombardo


I am unable to answer enquiries concerning objects, which are NOT related to the areas of Fine Art and Antiques. Nor will I; on the sole basis of any photographic images be willing to give any definitive monetary valuations, or monetary opinions. In such cases I would always advise on getting “real time” valuations and opinions from reputable and qualified auction houses, or third parties. In some applicable cases, I may perhaps give general indications of value, based on the presented materials. True valuations always need a direct “hands on” approach, with perhaps also the necessary research and verifications. Broadly open to almost all questions, regarding the majority of both European, American quality objects, which are related to both Antiques and Fine Art. This also includes modern 20th century designer objects such as furniture etc. My own particular comfort zone areas would be; The decorative Arts, marble, stone, furniture, ivory, bone, amber, ceramics and porcelain, sculpture, glass, silver and metal objects etc. I will also answer inquiries, and give opinions concerning Dutch 17th, 18th and 19th century paintings. Please note that I do have limitations and cannot possibly answer all questions, as the field is very extensive. VERY IMPORTANT and PLEASE NOTE: Please note that; providing > GOOD CLEAR and Preferably High Resolution < photo's of the object(s)in question, is vital. Pics taken with a cell/mobile phone, are of a poor quality and best avoided. Posting signatures only, or just fragments of an artifact - will only provide me with insufficient information and it is often quite misleading. So please; Do post good clear overall images, with your question(s). Failing to do so, may cause rejection, which is also a great pity.


Since the early 90’s I lead a team of very enthusiastic staff at a business, where have the following disciplines; Restoration and refurbishment of historical buildings and gardens, including interior design. The restoration and care of Fine Art and Antiques at our restoration studio We are also Fine Art and Antique dealers, besides being collectors ourselves for a great number of years.

The main professional organization of which I am a member is the BNA, or Association of Dutch Architects, which is equivalent to the US; American Institute of Architects. Affiliated to the Art Loss Register in London and the International Cites Organization in Geneva, Switzerland.

Villa Rufolo; The forgotten paradise on earth. Published by the University of Aarhus, Denmark Book reviews and articles for International Archis Magazine, in the Netherlands.

Since I wished to become a Restoration Architect, firstly I took my BA degree in Art History. Then after graduation, I followed this immediately by studies to graduate and become a Restoration Architect. Ever since then, I have been an established Restoration Architect and Antiquarian. Since a great number of buildings are also inhabited by Fine Art fixtures and furnishings, I also became absorbed by all the artifacts, which go to fill them and not only the edifices themselves. This and much more, was the reason for gaining an advisory post on the City Commission; For The Protection and Care of Historic Monuments of Amsterdam - Amstelveen.

Awards and Honors
Citations and gratitude; “From the Town of Amalfi” for the groundwork achieved in order bring back the Historical past to the Medieval Villa Rufolo and its vital role in the region. BA in Art Hisory. Graduation Diploma as an Architect & Antiquarian; and also practicing as such. I have also completed a 3 year course in antiques, at the VHOK in Amsterdam VHOK is translated as; ( "The Association of Fine Art Dealers In The Netherlands.")

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