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Web Video / Baumgartner Restoration

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Baumgartner Restoration is a YouTube channel started by Julian Baumgartner, owner of Baumgartner Fine Art Restorations, a second-generation art conservation studio based in Chicago.

This channel provides examples of:

  • "Before" and "After" Pictures: Each video concludes with a shot comparing the art in its original state to the newly restored version. A justified example, as pretty much the whole point of a restoration is to improve the artwork's appearance.
  • Competence Porn: Part of the appeal of the channel is Julian using his intelligence, knowledge, and diligence to rescue paintings, often creating drastic before-and-after transformations.
  • Consummate Professional: Julian’s high standards of professionalism show both in his craftsmanship and in his disdain for inferior labor-saving techniques used by other conservators, such as staples, polyurethane, and excessive overpainting.
  • Creepy Doll: The pink baby sculpture by Jiang Jie that sits unclaimed in his storage.
  • Early-Bird Cameo: Sometimes, paintings that would become the subject of future videos can be seen in the background. Straight examples of The Cameo also exist, with paintings that were previously restored (or those that hadn't been restored at the time of filming) being visible.
  • Got Volunteered: Julian conscripted his younger brother into helping him build a heated suction table.
    My brother is also trying to convince me that he deserves a very big paycheck for this labor and I'm trying to convince him that he loves me enough that he did it out of the kindness of his heart. That debate is still open. We are working on it and I'll get back to you guys when we do resolve it.
  • Hard-Work Montage: A bit downplayed as Baumgartner allows plenty of time to show and explain the details of each step of the process, but still compresses many hours or days of painstaking restoration work into half an hour or so.
  • The Mentor: The series “The Conservator, the Apprentice, and the Problem” shows Julian training his assistant Kit by letting her help restore a large-scale painting.
  • Noodle Incident: Mentions of these are often followed up with "Ask me how I know" or "Don't ask me how I know." Some have been de-noodled, such as the time he accidentally glued a painting to a table. His allusion to paintings not generally spontaneously exploding in Becoming Whole might be a joke, though the comment section certainly treats it as a Noodle Incident.
  • Oh, Crap!: His reaction when he realized he accidentally glued a painting to the table. Luckily, he then remembered that he used a heat-activated solvent and was able to save the painting.
  • Once an Episode:
    • He will invariably remark that a person's skin is "not jaundiced" while he's cleaning up yellowed varnish (or, gods forbid, polyurethane).
    • The YouTube version has mid-episode segues into ads, which are often so smoothly written that viewers can see them coming a mile away and still not skip the ads. Patreon subscribers get ad-free versions.
  • Pun-Based Title: Stock-in-trade when it comes to titling, with a side of Exactly What It Says on the Tin.
    • A Heady Proposition: A painting of a severed head - revealed to be part of a depiction of Salome with the head of John the Baptist.
    • The Bold and Beeautiful: A painting of a young lady wearing bee earrings.
    • A Project of Titanic Proportions: A reverse-glass painting of the sinking of the RMS Titanic.
    • Wood That It Were So Simple: A challenging conservation of a painting whose wood panel has split.
    • Sea Change: A painting of the sea whose varnish had yellowed over time, resulting in it looking like a completely different painting at the end.
    • A honorary mention goes to a canvas tote bag on the store christened the (sic) "tote ally awesome bag."
  • Self-Parody: With Love and Lightheartedness shows Julian wrapping up a gift box, narrating it in his customary style and using archival-grade material. It becomes a "Shaggy Dog" Story as Julian rips the lovingly-wrapped box apart at the end of the video. As he complains "What gives?" to the camera, he also gives a knowing wink.
  • Sincerest Form of Flattery: He’s acknowledged his indebtedness to Bob Ross in his combination of a soothing demeanor and skilled artistic craftsmanship.
  • Running Gag: Usually revolving around Julian's Berserk Buttons.
    • Staples. He severely dislikes them because they're inefficient and they damage paintings (by creating two holes when only one is necessary). He often ends up removing them to replace them with tacks, which he deems superior.
    • Polyurethane. It turns a dark, cloudy, crackly yellow as it ages, resulting in paintings looking nothing like the original. It can only be removed by scraping, and often takes paint flakes along with it as it gets scraped off.
  • Thing-O-Matic: The Clampinator was named as the result of a fan poll on Patreon. "Clampy McClampface" was a close contender.
  • Trauma Conga Line: The Brawler was referred to as "the Everest of bad", with the previous "conservator" having committed a multitude of sins. To name only a few: using cardboard (which is not conservation-grade material by any stretch of the definition, and had to be scraped off), adhering the painting using Elmer's Glue, leaving globs of lead paint behind, etc. It took a whopping three videos to fix the painting.
  • Undercrank: Some of the cleaning procedures get sped up in time-lapse recordings so we can see several hours' worth of work unfold in a few minutes.
  • When All You Have Is a Hammer…: Julian was shocked at the state of the painting in "Stretching Belief" - it was repaired and massively overpainted, essentially flattening the sky and muting the entire painting's colors. The previous person used a trowel and tile adhesive (which belongs nowhere near paintings) to repair the painting. Some commenters pointed out that the methods used on the painting, while disastrous from a conservation point of view, is exactly the same methods that would be used for repairing a wall. Most likely, one of the painting's prior owners - being unable or unwilling to find an art conservator - brought it to a general contractor.