Paper Conservation

Beth Heller Conservation, located in Denver, Colorado, performs preservation and conservation (sometimes called restoration) of works of art on paper, archival documents, and books. Additionally, consulting services are available to private collectors, corporations, libraries, archives, historical societies and museums regarding preservation planning. Assistance with digitization and grant-writing is also available.

Conservation treatment refers to mitigation of damage to individual items so that they can be returned to their original use, whether that is documentation of an historic event or personal memory, enjoyment of visual art, or as a financial investment. Damage refers to natural deterioration due to the passage of time and exposure to light, insects, pollutants or poor quality storage materials. It also applies to tears, stains, burns or other results of catastrophic events such as a fire or natural disaster.

Beth Heller is trained and experienced in a wide array of methods for improving the appearance and stability of damaged items. Methods include photo-documentation and examination of the materials composing the work of art, cleaning the surface, washing by immersion or other techniques, stain reduction by application and removal of various chemicals, tape removal, mending, in-painting to reduce visual impact of mends or losses, and preparation of the work for display, use or storage. Beth Heller Conservation owns specialized equipment and materials for performing conservation examination, documentation and treatment.

Beth Heller Conservation treats the following materials:

  • archival documents
  • maps
  • prints
  • posters
  • crayon portraits
  • silver gelatin photographs
  • works of art on paper, of Asian, Central and North American, and European origin, representing a wide variety of paper types and media and ranging in condition from excellent to severely damaged.
  • paper objects such as architectural models, lanterns, fans or other 3-dimensional constructions.


  • graphite
  • charcoal
  • conte
  • ink
  • watercolor
  • tempera
  • pastel
  • etching
  • engraving
  • aquatint
  • lithograph

Treatment includes:

  • Photo-documentation
  • Examination and treatment proposal and treatment report documentation
  • Unfitting from framing materials
  • Surface cleaning
  • Backing removals
  • Tape removals
  • Washing by immersion, suction table, float washing, or blotter
  • Stain reduction
  • Mending and filling with toned or sympathetic papers
  • Consolidation of paint films
  • Visual integration via in-painting
  • Humidification and flattening
  • Hinging, and referral for matting and new or original framing materials

A partial list of artists and works treated:

  • Rufino Tamayo mixographic prints, as well as lithography
  • Sol Lewitt prints and drawings
  • Peter Rindisbacher ink and watercolors
  • Mary Bonner etchings and aquatints, some handcolored with gouache
  • Robert Onderdonk watercolors
  • Gustave Bauman woodblock prints
  • Japanese woodblock prints
  • Gene Kloss etchings
  • Diego Rivera watercolor, lithographs
  • Rene Magritte, serigraphs
  • Eugene Delacroix, lithographs
  • Picasso linocut poster

Institutional Clients include:

Aspen Art Museum

The American Alpine  Club Library

Breckenridge Heritage Alliance

Colorado State University

Clyfford Still Museum

Crested Butte Mountain Heritage Museum

CU-Boulder Art Museum

Denver Public Library

Hayden History Center

History Colorado

National Museum of Wildlife Art

Ryobi Foundation/Powers Art Center

United States Air Force Academy Libraries

University of Denver Hampden Art Study Center

University of Colorado- Boulder Art Museum


Beth Heller Conservation LLC is proud to serve families, private collectors and allied arts professionals (framers, art shippers, art galleries and art dealers).


Before Treatment: Lead White Darkening

After Treatment: Lead White Reversion and Inpainting

The treatment images and description in this PDF (Treatment Images and Description) were completed during a Mellon Fellowship in Paper Conservation at Balboa Art Conservation Center (BACC). Works treated during the Fellowship included a substantial number of Indian and Persian miniature paintings on paper and palm leaf, a variety of South Asian prints, a paper pulp casting, and American and European etchings, engravings, and lithographs.

6 responses

6 10 2008

enjoyed this material and would like to know more about how to do simple restorations or to take a hands on tutorial in doing so

6 10 2008

Thanks, wscheil. There are several organizations that are available for tutorials. The Book Arts List has some great listings, or you could take classes at Solinet or Amigos for basic book repair. NEDCC has Preservation 101. And then, of course, are the graduate programs in book and paper conservation; the Kilgarlin Center at the University of Texas, art conservation programs at Buffalo State and Winterthur. Good luck!

2 08 2017
Clarke Ellis

My son purchased a home and after he moved in workmen doing renovations accidentally released some asbestos into the contaminating the interior. The home has been remediate and is certified asbestos free. They have an antique painting, however, and want to know that they can do to make certain that the painting does not retain any asbestos spores. Any suggestions?

8 09 2017

Hi, Clarke. I think your best bet is to speak with a paintings conservator. If you’d like to email me at, I’ll help you figure out the next steps.

3 09 2017
Karen Hammon

We have 10 etchings by Emile Nicolle that are Musee Louvre Chalcographie prints that I found in an old trunk belonging to a family relative. The prints were held together in groupings by a single paper clip which left impressions in the paper and, in some cases, rust marks in the outline of the clips on the borders of the paper. I can send photos. Not sure if this is something worth your while. I don’t think the prints are of great value, but they are very charming and mostly landscapes. We’re going to frame them. We are in the Denver area so easy to get together if this is workable. Thank you very much!

8 09 2017

Hi, Karen. I’d be happy to discuss this wonderful find with you! Would you please send me an email to to continue this in private? Thanks!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: