Sandy filled Jeff Bailey Gallery’s storage basement with water—as it did many neighborhood basements. But when the waters receded, the conservators came in. Louise Belcourt’s Mound #5, shown here in its undamaged state, is being restored by John Vitagliano. First, the painting must be completely dry—that could take a week. Meanwhile, Vitagliano checks for mold. Vacuums outfitted with HEPA filters suck up the spores between the canvas and the wood: “You have to ask whether it’s worth it to put a delicate artwork through the strain of being taken off the stretcher to check.” Next, surface damage: Shiny, localized brown deposits are removed by an aqueous cleaning solution. “You create solutions specific to the problem,” says Vitagliano. “You can analyze what’s in Hudson River water—oil, debris, salt, pollutants—but it’s not textbook. You can’t just say, ‘Use ammonia for this type of damage.’ It takes a special skill and care.” And the picture will look good as new.