Conservation and Restoration of Paintings and Icons

Upper East Side, NYC

About the Paintings Conservator

With integrity and care, New York City based painting and icon conservator Olga Nikolic-Litwin restores paintings and icons large and small, respecting the piece's age and original intent.

For Olga, the act of restoration has always been reflexive. As a child in the former Yugoslavia, she eagerly revived the patinated beauty of oft-used objects that rested in quietude in her grandmother's home. Bringing the forgotten back to life became her passion. Olga pursued an art history and studio art degree from the Academy of Fine Arts in Zagreb, and further training in paintings conservation at the Faculty of Applied Arts in Belgrade and the Academy of Fine Arts in Vienna.

Prior to founding her private practice in the Upper East Side of New York City, Olga worked as a fellow in the Paintings Conservation Department of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City on paintings from 16th to 20th century. There she also had the opportunity to study up close some of the most important works in the history of art.

In Europe, Olga restored frescos in medieval monasteries with the Serbian Institute for Preservation of Cultural Monuments, and conserved 15th to 20th century paintings, icons and wooden sculptures for the Croatian Conservation Institute in Zagreb. In the 1990s when war broke out in the country, Olga experienced the urgency of art preservation first hand, rescuing many art objects from churches and private collections in Croatia.

Olga did more than assure us that the restoration was possible: she described in detail what she would do, showed us illustrations of similar jobs, and gave us clear and reasonable estimates. At every step, Olga was professional and affirming. She provided photographs of the process, and her attitude throughout was warm, approachable, and compassionate.
—A.K. from Chicago, IL

I love working with Olga because she’s so collaborative. She makes the technical decisions (what must be repaired, using which technique), and invites you to participate in the softer choices (for example, how much missing paint should be filled in.) Her work is both science and art.
—J.C. from Brooklyn, NY

I found an entirely new exciting adventure to add to my passion for collecting: watching a neglected piece of art brought to life and restored to glory. It’s like finding a pretty rock and discovering a sparkling gem within. I brought Olga a painting for restoration that was nearly ready for the trash can: most of the piece was peeling away from the canvas. I expected that Olga would stabilize the painting and make it more presentable. What she did blew me away.
—R.S. from New York, NY

Sometimes, I can’t remember what the icon looked like before Olga restored it — except that it disturbed me because of raw and painful-looking damage. Olga took the icon through a healing process, such that it now appears at peace with itself. She has achieved the goal of repairing the damage without leaving distracting hints of the restoration treatment. Yet, the icon is filled with Olga's love which, along with her professionalism, is the essence of her work.
—N.G. from Phoenix, AZ

© 2002-2014 Olga Nikolic-Litwin, Conservation and Restoration of Paintings and Icons, NYC, New York