Successful Rescue and Restoration of Renowned Artwork Collection

When Paul Davis of Long Island responded to a call for help at a New York residence, immediately they knew the project would require special care. A world-renowned artist had experienced an extensive fire with smoke, soot and odor damage throughout a dwelling packed with hundreds of priceless artworks. The creations comprised a lifetime of work in multiple mediums and profiles including sculptures, charcoals, pastels, wood, illustrations and sketches.

“Within two hours of receiving the notification, I arrived on-site and began coordinating with a local specialized vendor,” says Mike Ranelli, Paul Davis General Manager. “A company that specializes in art restoration after disasters is far more cost-effective than retaining a conservatory. The vendor’s team – trusted partners with whom we’ve worked before – arrived the same day and together we began developing a detailed plan to save the contents.”

During the next six weeks, Ranelli, Paul Davis technicians and the vendor carefully packaged and removed salvageable items to an offsite facility, evaluated non-salvageable pieces and estimated restoration costs for the insurance carrier. With the estimate approved, the vendor’s experts began meticulously removing soot, smoke residue and odor from the items. “Even very fine layers of soot and ash can irreparably damage pieces if left in place for long,” says Ranelli, who adds that the vendor uses a very effective proprietary technique to remove odor. “A piece may look undamaged but over time, acidic soot can degrade items beyond repair.”  

The vendor’s restorers handling fire-damaged materials often encounter particularly challenging degradation that requires specialized approaches. Photographs soaked by fire hoses, for instance, may be stained, wrinkled, fused to glass or at risk of mold growth; surprisingly, freezing may be the first restorations step. When oil paintings are exposed to extreme temperatures, each paint layer may expand and contract individually depending on the chemical composition of each paint color. In sum, rescuing priceless works after disasters is a very specialized process that requires extensive experience and knowledge.

Thanks to expert action, the New York artist remains the owner of a very valuable collection. He visited the artworks during the restoration at the warehouse where work was taking place and was very pleased with the progress. Ranelli concurs. “We seek partners who can work with us at the highest level to produce exceptional results and this vendor certainly fits that description,” he says. “It’s all part of providing extraordinary care to people in times of extraordinary need.”  If your location experiences a fire, Paul Davis promises to arrive on site within four hours of a call for help, Visit to learn more.