Q: I inherited a beautiful painting from my grandfather, but after years of exposure to sunlight it's lost its original glory. Where can I have it restored?
A: Unfortunately, sunlight damage may not be your only problem. Humidity, oxidation, and inappropriate framing are some of the less obvious yet equally harmful hazards that can wreak havoc on works of art. But don't go tossing your late grandpa's gift just yet. Common ailments such as accumulated grime, darkened varnish, and faded or missing paint can all be corrected by an experienced conservator. Maria Iosifescu Paintings Conservation (79 Reade Street; 212-385-1830; rates from $100 to $150 per hour depending on the project) specializes in restoring old-master, Impressionist, and modern paintings. Cranmer Art Conservation (45 Crosby Street; 212-966-9167; $250 and up per hour) is a good bet if your painting is a contemporary or modern canvas. For a work on paper, call Daria Keynan Paper Conservation in west Chelsea (by appointment only, 212-645-5245; $100 per hour). No matter what type of painting you have, beware: Conservators are not licensed, so anyone with a paintbrush and a can of solvent can put up a shingle. Contact the American Institute for Conservation of Historic and Artistic Works (202-452-9545 or www.aic.stanford.edu) for a list of legitimate conservators in your area as well as some helpful guidelines.