(PRESS RELEASE)_December 8, 2021 (West Palm Beach, Fla.) — Have you ever looked at that old heirloom painting on your wall and imagined how vibrant it must have looked in its original splendor?
Or stared longingly at a painting damaged during a cross-country move and tried to imagine it restored?
With professional art conservation services offered by a new art gallery in the heart of West Palm Beach’s legendary South Dixie Antique Row Art and Design District, those dreams are finally within reach.
Nick Vahlkamp, co-owner of Chicago Fine Art Company, offers state-of-the-art painting restoration and cleaning services, including restoring paintings defaced by water, dirt, canvas rips and more. Trained as an art conservator with 40 years of experience, Vahlkamp is one of the nation's leading experts in museum-quality art conservation and offers a careful, skilled approach to restoration of both historic and contemporary paintings.
“Antique Row is made up of 40 small businesses whose owners are all specialists in their field, and it’s thrilling to welcome a professional conservator to our design family,” said Faustina Pace, president of the South Dixie Antique Row Association and owner of Faustina Pace Antiques and Interiors. “Chicago Fine Art Company is a wonderful addition to our walkable neighborhood of shops and galleries.”
With clients that include private collectors, university museums and other galleries, art owners from across the world have sought Vahlkamp’s expertise for everything from restoring an Old Master painting’s original brilliance to uncovering hidden layers from an eighteenth-century Enlightenment-era painting or whisking away water damage from contemporary paintings that have weathered hurricanes or floods.
It’s always the perfect season to think about investing in a restoration project. While many projects can be successfully completed in as little as four weeks, others may take longer — but that is often because the extent of the damage necessitates a more comprehensive repair and consultation with other conservators. Costs, too, vary with the time required. A few hundred dollars can result in a remarkable transformation, but for badly damaged paintings, the costs can run into the thousands.
“Restoring a beloved painting is the perfect gift for the person who has everything,” Vahlkamp said. “It’s timeless and it means getting back something invaluable by recovering its lost beauty.”
And restoration is just one component of Chicago Fine Art Company’s new Antique Row location. A vibrant, expansive gallery owned and managed by Vahlkamp and his wife, Barbara (veteran art dealers and longtime owners of the famed Kamp Gallery of Chicago), the 1,100-square-foot gallery offers hundreds of unique paintings in an array of styles, including period, modern and contemporary fine art. Experienced art dealers for more than four decades, the Vahlkamps have multiple options for any style and size a customer or designer is looking for, including works by Austrian romantic landscape painter Alois Arnegger, French scenographic artist Pierre Möri and Russian contemporary painter Evgeny Kuznetsov.
“We help many people who tell us they’ve just bought an old home and want to furnish it in a certain period style, or someone who needs something in a particular size, or even new artwork for their yacht,” Vahlkamp said. “In addition to the paintings on display in the gallery, we have many paintings in storage and others we can get. We have long-standing relationships with artists’ agents and other dealers so we can procure just about anything a customer is looking for.”
Known for their renowned gallery in Chicago (which they owned and operated for 40 years), the Vahlkamps sold their gallery several years ago and decided to relocate to West Palm Beach. But old habits die hard, and they found themselves missing gallery work. They fell in love with Antique Row and decided to use their breadth of experience and connections to open a new art gallery on South Dixie Highway.
A charming collection of specialty shops and galleries located just south of downtown West Palm Beach, Antique Row is easily accessible by foot and complimented by several award-winning restaurants. Architectural Digest, The New York Times, Art & Antiques and House Beautiful have all heralded Antique Row as one of the east coast's premier antique shopping districts, with readers of Condé Nast Traveler ranking it as their No. 4 choice for best shopping in the U.S. The district has served as a top shopping destination for the world’s top interior designers for more than 30 years, specializing in vintage, antique and modern home décor shops.
“It’s beyond exciting for West Palm Beach to have two highly-experienced art dealers like Barbara and Nick Vahlkamp choose Antique Row as their location to open a new gallery,” said Christina Lambert, West Palm Beach city commissioner. “In addition to the beautiful artwork showcased in their gallery, Chicago Fine Art Company’s painting restoration services fill a unique niche for a downtown district like Antique Row.”
Vahlkamp said he enjoys both aspects of the business, and that his conservation work continues to benefit them in selecting paintings to sell in their gallery.
“My conservation background has given me a great advantage in identifying quality in composition by way of color, shape and form,” he said. “As a conservator, I look for more than aesthetics. I can tell if a painting has been damaged previously and how it has been restored. Having this background has served as a vital skill throughout all of our years of owning galleries.”
Chicago Fine Art Company is located at 3727 South Dixie Highway in West Palm Beach’s historic Antique Row. Gallery hours are Tuesday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Designers and groups welcome. For additional information, visit www.chicagofineart.org or call (847) 910-6173 or (847) 778-6328.
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