About Us

There’s something you should know about Restoration Division. We don’t just restore art. We’re in the business of making lives easier. And that’s not a truism, that is the standard to which we hold every aspect of our work, from our coherent condition reports to our full range of logistical solutions.

Ours is a team of dedicated specialists who take pride in their work — and the proof is in every piece we handle. Our clients have come to expect

  • Our space - paper conservation
  • Our space - painting conservation
  • Our space - mural conservation
  • Our space - 3D and mixed media
  • Our space - sculpture
  • On site - mural install
the absolute highest quality, cost-effective options, and unparalleled turnaround time.

We’re based in Chicago, IL, which makes it convenient for us to reach clients from New York to California, and everywhere in between.

If your needs are art-related, call us. Or send us an e-mail. It’s that simple.


The bulk of our promotion is through word of mouth. We’ve established a reputation within the industry that allows us to forgo advertising, and here’s why:

Painting We chose this painting because its condition exhibited a broad array of issues rarely seen in a single artwork.

Before finding its way here, this painting spent a large portion of its life displayed near a fire. It was also damaged by water at least twice and was periodically subjected to repairs whose quality did not do the artwork justice, before falling into outright neglect for the last half-century.
This detail shows the poor condition of all of the painting’s components: craquelures and lifting paint, dry and deteriorated primer, and an overdried canvas that had become extremely brittle. As with the previous image, this detail shows the lack of adhesion between the paint film, primer, and canvas, resulting in highly pronounced craquelures and areas of paint loss. Additionally to the normal wear that comes with age, the frame had suffered damage from water, heat and smoke, as well as mechanical damage and amateur repairs. Its surface bears several coats of non-original paint. The painting underwent several stages of surface cleaning, including removing the soot, dirt, and particulate films, as well as the discolored organic varnish and excessive patches of non-original paint that were applied during previous repairs. After consolidating the frame’s wood and primer, the loose compo elements were fitted, aligned, and readhered. Missing elements were cast and sculpted. The coats of non-original paint were removed, and the needed areas were primed, engilded, and retouched. In addition to solvent cleaning, areas where the surface films were most stubborn were carefully cleaned using scalpel assistance. The artwork was then passively humidified and flattened to a plane. The tears were aligned and mended, filling missing areas with matching canvas inserts. The canvas was saturated from the verso with heated BEVA solution to consolidate and elasticize it. The artwork was then lined onto a new Belgian linen support, toned to reflect the artwork’s age. The artwork was then stretched on a new custom museum-quality stretcher. All labels and provenance information were preserved and transferred onto the new stretcher. In missing areas, the texture was rebuilt by thin-film casting, and the color was matched by inpainting using colorfast paints over a thin buffering layer of removable varnish. Several thin coats of non-yellowing removable varnish were applied to protect the artwork and provide a uniform luster.

After treatment, the artwork shows a significant visual and structural improvement, while retaining the pedigree and appealing qualities acquired with age.

We chose this painting for one reason: it represents the most common issue with contemporary artworks. Although it only has one localized area of damage, it’s a serious challenge to restore properly and unobtrusively due to the materials and technique used. This detail shows the L‑shaped tear that spans both painted and unpainted areas. The damage occurred several years ago, allowing the canvas to shrink and creating a sizable gap. This behavior is typical of (and most pronounced in) cotton canvas, which saw widespread use in the latter half of the 20th century. The same tear can be seen from the verso, as well as the artist’s only signature. As a result, lining the artwork on any support was out of the question. Since contemporary works rely on the integrity of all components to remain undisturbed in order to retain their value, the decision was made not to remove the artwork from the stretcher. The same applies to the frame, as the artwork was framed by the artist. Instead, we built supporting platforms and cleaned the canvas from both sides. The crumbling paint along the edges of the tear was consolidated. The site was passively humidified in a Gore-Tex package and flattened. We made an insert from canvas of a weight and grain identical to the original. The edges of the threads were aligned and fused from both sides using thermoplastic adhesive and heat. This was the most time-consuming stage of the treatment. The remaining gaps and inconsistencies were filled using marble powder and acrylic gesso. The insert was inpainted using colorfast conservation paints. Areas of bare primer were retouched using acrylic primer and aged to match. The luster was corrected locally using diluted non-yellowing varnish. The verso of the canvas was retouched using pigments mixed with a synthetic paste adhesive to make the insert nearly imperceptible. Raw canvas, however, is notoriously difficult to match, so the insert can still be detected when viewed from certain angles under critical light. The end result pleased us at least as much as it did the client.

Paper Although this artwork resembles early 20th-century prints, it is, in fact, an original sepia drawing - and it’s huge.

It is a rare sight for both the foundry and the drawing to survive decades in the same place. The foundry grew larger and became modernized. The drawing collected all the ailments that come with age and a harsh environment for nearly a century.
Even though the drawing was mounted on canvas, the wood pulp paper became extremely brittle and discolored from acidity. Widespread continuous water damage caused the paper to tear and distort, in spite of the fact that the artwork was never removed from its original framing environment. The artwork also suffered an extensive mold infestation. Large uninterrupted areas got stuck to the glass. The old wooden backing was constantly feeding the acidic environment. Naturally, the first step was to dismantle the old backing and remove the artwork and the glass from the frame. The old canvas backing was equally infested with mold spores. The decision was made to gradually remove the old canvas backing while the artwork was still stuck to the glass, taking extreme care not to cause further damage. The old backing canvas and deteriorating adhesive were removed from the verso. The artwork and the glass were then immersed in a bath of deionized water. The glass was successfully detached. The artwork was then washed in buffered hydrogen peroxide aided by light. Unfortunately, the harshest stains didn’t show much improvement after washing alone. Those stubborn stains were then treated locally using hydrogen peroxide in a gel vehicle and heat. Finally, after several attempts, the artwork started to look acceptably light and uniform. The sheet was rinsed, and the surface was consolidated using ethulose adhesive. The tears were aligned and mended. The drawing was then dried and flattened. The artwork was mounted onto an oversized museum rag board using reversible film adhesive. Although the staining was significantly reduced, the artwork required extensive filling and retouching — not only in stained areas, but also where the surface and pigment had been eaten away by mold. The artwork was exhibited at the foundry, and later donated to a museum.

Objects This painting featured a unique early-XIX-century frame. According to our research, its history is connceted to the extinguishing of one of the worst fires in the history of New York City. Originally, the frame was adorned with an abundance of ornamentation that was unique both in its historical accuracy and exclusive craftsmanship — no small feat, considering its massive, seven-by-nine-foot size. Unfortunately, due to its delicate design and substantial weight, the frame was severely damaged. The remaining elements were repaired ineptly. The frame was originally gilded, but later covered in several layers of bronze paint that became discolored by oxidation. This photo shows the gilding beneath the paint, and the removed non-matching repairs. Missing elements were cast or sculpted. The recreated elements were gilded, and then antiqued to match. Some details' shape and position were discernable only by a shadowy outline left in the gilding. Certain critical details required not only a wealth of technical skill, but also in-depth historical research. The original areas were spot-gilded and retouched to acheive a cohesive appearance. Newly made areas were patinated and distressed to match the frame's aged look. Thanks to a coordinated effort in both restoration and research, the painting and the frame assumed their rightful place in the history of American art.

The case studies shown here are a minute cross-section of our storied archive. Please inquire for specialized treatment photographs and details.


Aaron Galleries
Glenview, IL

Dr. Afzal Ahmad
Private Collector, Chicago, IL

Barley Twist Antique Gallery
Oak Park, IL

Russell Bowman Art Advisory
Chicago, IL

Roger Brown Study Collection
The School of the Art Institute of Chicago

Eugene Von Bruenchenhein Museum
San Mateo, CA

Aldo Castillo Gallery
Estero, FL

Aldo Castillo Projects
USA, UK, Germany, China

Village of Deerfield, IL

DeLind Gallery
Milwaukee, WI

Lora D Gallery
Chicago, IL

Falk Foundry
Milwaukee, WI

Federalist Antiques
Kenilworth, IL

Frame Factory
Chicago, IL

Neil Gaffney
Private Collector, FL & IL

Gregory Gaymont Gallery
Chicago, IL

Patti Gilford Fine Arts
Chicago, IL

The Great Frame Up
Oak Park, IL

Grohmann Museum
Milwaukee, WI

Carl Hammer Gallery
Chicago, IL

Hartshorne Plunkard Architecture
Chicago, IL

Janus Galleries
Madison, WI

Joseph & Darlene Krozel
Private Collectors, Members of the R. A. Fox Society, Ingleside, IL

Michael Lord Gallery
Palm Springs, CA

Sheridan Loyd American Antiques
St. Joseph, MO

McColl Fine Art
Charlotte, NC

MCM Fine Framing
Chicago, IL

Milwaukee School of Engineering
Milwaukee, WI

Thomas R. Monahan Fine Arts
Chicago, IL

Richard Norton Gallery
Chicago, IL

James O'Shea
Private Collector, Chicago, IL

Randall & Sheila Ott
Private Collectors, Champaign, IL

Palette & Chisel Academy
Chicago, IL

St. Peter's Lutheran Church
Lancaster, OH

Peterson Picture Frame
Chicago, IL

Kenneth Probst
Art Dealer, Chicago, IL

Kristina Shaoul
Private Collector, Long Island, NY

Barbara Slankard
Private Collector, Chicago, IL

Smart Museum of Art
Chicago, IL

Neil Weiner
Private Collector, Chicago, IL / Tel Aviv

Jack Wollman
Private Collector, Chicago, IL

Universe Antiques
New York, NY

Val Yachik
Artist, Clinton, WI

Zygman/Voss Gallery
Chicago, IL


  • I appreciate Restoration Division's wonderful talents and professionalism. They do a beautiful job, and have never over-restored a piece, which I have experienced with other conservators in the past. They are knowledgeable, discrete, offer convenient pick-up, and are timely and provide good value. Clients that I have referred have been delighted with the results. As a dealer and collector, I feel a keen responsibility to preserve art so that it can be enjoyed for generations to come.
    I trust Dmitri and his team to help in that endeavor.

    Peter Lundberg

    Director, Janus Galleries

    Madison, WI

  • We are pleased to very enthusiastically recommend Dmitri and his top-drawer restoration work. He worked his artistic magic on a number of our antique oil paintings and their antique frames. While we had owned the paintings for a good number of years, after he restored them, they looked better than they had when we originally purchased them. We particularly appreciated Dmitri's carefully considered advice about what was worth restoring and what was better left untouched. He was not anxious to do unnecessary work and was very helpful about working within a budget to prioritize restoration work that would be worthwhile. During a move, one of our painting canvases was unfortunately ripped in several places, and we thought we would just have to throw it out as it was beyond saving. Dmitri took on the restoration of this as a personal challenge, and we could not believe how well he repaired the canvas and cleaned and touched up the painting. If we hadn't known the original condition of the painting, we'd never believe how he brought this one back to life.

    Jack & Joan Wollman

    Chicago, IL

  • Restoration Division recently restored an original artist's pencil sketch used in the 1939 production of the Sorcerer's Apprentice sequence in Disney's Fantasia. I had inadvertently left the delicate piece of artwork in a box in our attic for a year or two. The weather conditions had turned the paper almost black (acidic and discolored with dust and dirt) and I thought the piece was ruined. I had allowed a one-of-a-kind piece of animation history to be destroyed… or so I thought until I came to Restoration Division through Good's of Evanston.
    The piece was successfully restored to its original appearance without diminishing the pencil work or notes. Restoration Division saved this piece and my peace of mind. In comparing pictures of what I brought in and what was returned to me, it's hard to believe they are pictures of the same piece. I am still amazed at how beautiful the piece looks.

    Mike Lynn

    Chicago, IL

  • I appreciate Restoration Division conservators' sensitive approach to all works in their care. They are especially skilled in addressing works in unconventional media, and are always careful to preserve works guided by the original artistic intent. Dmitri and his team are friendly and reliable, a great pleasure to work with. I also recommend Restoration Division's framing services.

    Lisa Stone

    Curator, Roger Brown Study Collection,
    The School of the Art Institute of Chicago

    Guest Curator, Eugene Von Bruenchenhein: From the Wand of the Genii, Intuit, The Center for Intuitive and Outsider Art

  • Upon my son's strong recommendation, I recently worked with Dmitri of Restoration Division to apply a final glaze to one of my recent paintings. I was very impressed by his expertise, promptness and level of professionalism. He arranged to have the work picked up from my studio and to be ready for a weekend delivery to an art fair in Miami on very short notice.
    I highly recommend his conservation services.

    Karl Wirsum

  • Frame Factory has been working with Restoration Division for the past five years. After searching for a reputable conservator, we found Dmitri and his amazing staff. They have restored hundreds of monetarily and sentimentally valuable artworks ranging in states of deterioration. Their approach is sensitive, from impressive restoration of heavily damaged pieces to delicate conservation of museum-quality works and artifacts. We are proud to offer Restoration Division's incredible services to our valued and grateful clientele.

    Cindy Fleishman Carson

    General Manager, The Frame Factory

    Chicago, IL

  • I've had the good fortune to work with Restoration Division for the past few years and have always been more than satisfied with their work, or more aptly put — their artistry. Dmitri and his staff are abundantly talented, professional, honest and ethical. I no longer send restoration work to anyone else. Their pricing is more than fair and the turnaround time is remarkable. I can say, without hesitation, that you will be beyond pleased with their workmanship. In short — they are simply the best!

    Joseph A. Panarelli

    Director, McColl Fine Art

    Charlotte, NC

  • Dear Katy,
    I picked up the Indian prints this morning. I am so thrilled by the results of your painstaking restoration. The packaging was A-one. My husband, John, was in the corrugated paper business, so he really knows about packaging. Yours is A-one!

    Gretchen Maring

    Chicago, IL

  • Our family ‘discovered’ an original Robert Wood painting as part of my mother’s estate. The painting had not been stored properly. Over time the painting lost its luster and the blue in the blue bonnets had lost their ‘kissed by the sky’ brilliance. Our family was referred to Restoration Division by both Leslie Hindman Auctioneers and the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago. Both groups spoke highly of Dmitri’s work. Our family was very fortunate to find Dmitri and the references from both groups proved to be spot on. The Robert Wood painting was restored beautifully. The cottage looked warm and welcoming again and the blue bonnets once again resembled the color of a clear spring sky. Our family elected to sell the painting at auction with Leslie Hindman. The price achieved was in no small part due to the loving restoration work of Restoration Division.

    The Estate of Virginia Buhrke Hall


You can contact us via e-mail at infofalse@restorationfalsedivision.com. If you have a login ID and password, you can instantly access information about your past and current projects in our database.

Some other ways to reach us are:

(773) 754 6080

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Los Angeles

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You can get a custom preliminary quote for the treatment of your artwork using the form below. The more information you provide, the more accurate we can be.

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