The first thing to remember is DO NOT TRY TO MAKE EVEN THE SMALLEST REPAIRS OR FIXES ON YOUR OWN! I see that I've gotten your attention. I cannot emphasize this enough—making repairs on your own will likely result in greater damage, perhaps even irreparable damage. This article provides you with some general guidance on how to examine a painting to identify potential problems. Then you will be better educated when you take your painting to an art conservator. This article focuses on damage associated with oil paintings.
The reasons for damage are many. Some of them, unfortunately, are the fault of the artists, themselves--how they prepared the "support" (board, canvas, paper) before applying paint and misguided experimentation with paint "recipes" and varnishes. However, most of the problems occur years later and are due largely to exposure to extremes of darkness and damp, sunlight, and heat. Cracking, sagging, fungus, mildew, insects and rodents are just some of the indignities to which painting have been subjected.
Give the entire painting the "once over", back and front. Besides dust, what do you see? Starting with the front, if the painting is dark, it may be that the protective varnish layer is dirty or has discolored. Blue skies and white clouds should appear as such. If the overall painting is dark and the individual forms that comprise the composition of the painting lack definition, darkened varnish is likely to blame. Cracks (crazing) in the varnish may allow dust to reach the painting, compounding the problem. You will be astonished at the improvement a simple cleaning and application of new varnish will have.
Craquelure (French for "cracks") may be present and may penetrate into the paint layers. This is related to loss of elasticity of the paint due to drying, aging and temperature extremes. The cracks indicate separation from the support and must be addressed to prevent irreparable damage. Fishbone cracks may indicate that a painting had been rolled. Spiral cracks may result from a blow to the back of the painting. Cleavage, cupping and flaking document the progression of damage initiated by cracking, with flaking the ultimate progression of damage—complete detachment of paint and to your horror—little piles of paint chips and dust beneath your treasure!
Horizontal wrinkles occur when paint was applied in thick layers without allowing sufficient drying time between the layers, or too much oil was added to the painting medium. Paint such as this can stay soft for years and there is little that can be done, other than disobeying the laws of gravity, or hoping the paint is close to being dry.
Blisters may occur before the formation of actual cracks. Extreme heat due to fire is an example. Do not under any circumstances touch this type of blister—it will disintegrate! Blisters that are caused by humidity or detachment are less fragile, but these, as with craquelure must be given over to the skilled hands of an art conservator.
Abrasions and scratches are common in old paintings and often a result of neglect, inadequate protection during transport and storage. Once you have your eye adjusted to looking at the painting, using raking light (light angles across the painting) you may be able to detect evidence of past restorations (e.g., patches, overpainting). This is usually the case with poor quality restoration work, although even good restoration work may be negatively affected by neglect and poor handling procedures and an old patch may need to be replaced. If there is craquelure and there are places where no craquelure is present, then overpainting should be suspected. Brushwork may differ from that of the rest of the painting indicating another's hand at work. Not all overpainting is bad, especially if it was done in conjunction with a repair of an abrasion, hole or tear, and the new paint is matched and applied in the manner and finesse of the original artist. However, overpainting done to deceive, as in eliminating parts of a painting that contemporary mores find distasteful, adding new colors, or modifying the original composition puts you on the path to aiding and abetting fraud. Be sure you understand what it is that your conservator is going to do in the restoration/conservation of your painting.
Lining a painting (sometimes referred to as relining), is the adhering of a new canvas to the original canvas, works miracles on cracking and paint loss problems. Lining is also used to reinforce a weak, deteriorated canvas. Large holes and tears are best repaired using a lining, especially if there are other problems, while small holes and tears can be repaired using patches.
Turn the painting over and look at the back and look for evidence of old patches, water damage, Also look at where the painting is attached to the stretcher frame—is it fastened using nails or staples and are they rusted? Is the canvas frayed or tearing around the fasteners? Are any of the keys missing? A key is a thin, triangular-shaped wedge tapped into the inner corner of a stretcher using for tensioning the canvas. Sagging or rippling in a canvas is often caused by uneven tension in the stretcher frame and usually remedied by tapping in the keys or replacing missing ones. It may also be due to deterioration of the canvas along the edges where it is attached to the stretcher, allowing it to loosen and eventually tear away from the stretcher. This latter problem can be fixed by use of a lining. Or, the problem may be with the stretcher itself—it may be warped or inadequately sized for the painting attached to it, or worse, riddled with insect damage. If these apply, the stretcher must be replaced.
Damaged frames are often a problem and often the major problem. It is preferred that an old painting be kept with its original frame; however, that is not always possible if the damage is heavy and cannot be easily and cost-effectively repaired. Many 19th century paintings were paired with ornate, gilded frames that highlighted its importance. The ornamentation is made of gesso (a plaster that is molded and carved to form the decoration) applied to a wood base. Minor damage can be repaired relatively easily. Damage to very ornate, elaborate, intricately carved gesso frames, or open fretwork gesso frames, is more problematic. The biggest problem is that there are few art conservators who want to do frame restorations—it can be (not always) tedious, time-consuming work. The open fretwork can be fragile and the corners are prone to impact damage. Often the original frame is the one it "needs" to truly complement it and some serious thought should go into assessing whether to replace it or repair it. If the frame is not original, highly damaged and you do not like it anyway, and since the painting is already "in the shop", so to speak, have your conservator recommend a frame that provides the perfect complement.
The indignities described above can be ameliorated by your conservator, in all but the worst cases. Make sure the conservator you select is the right professional to work on your art. Some will work only on oil paintings, while others are skilled at works on paper (water colors, gouache, pastels). Art conservators are not licensed professionals and it is up to you to find a competent restorer. As art restorer, Francis Kelly said, "untold damage can be done to paintings and art objects in incompetent hands." Find the best and they will use their arsenal of "tools, potions, and elixirs" that, in their skilled hands, will transform that once hopeless basket case into the work of art it was intended to be.
That is not the end of the story, however. Once you have your painting back in your hands it is up to you to protect it from those above mentioned indignities. Do not hang your painting above a heat source or in a bathroom where the moist conditions will have it back at the conservator's in no time. Avoid rooms where there are seasonal high temperature ranges. Kitchens are not a very good idea either, unless they are out of range of cooking grease, table and sink splashes. Also, keep them out of direct sunlight; this is especially true for water colors. Hallways are usually dark, and typically do not provide enough space for proper viewing, and may expose the painting to higher incidences of bumping. You do not need a finely tuned climate-controlled house for your paintings, but a little care goes a long way.
"Jerry and his wife are wonderful people. They go above and beyond to help the customer get exactly what they were looking for, even if the customer is unsure. In this age of internet shopping, few can pull off personalized and professional customer service, but Bedford Fine Art Gallery has perfected it! Very responsive and no nonsense with true knowledge on all of their paintings. Shipped safely and fast, I’m deciding on my next painting and would trust nobody more."Christopher K.
"My wife Theresa and I are pretty ordinary people, who love extraordinary art. Discovering Bedford Fine Art Gallery and working with Jerry and Joan to purchase our first picture from them has been a smooth and joyful experience — and we haven’t even met in person yet. Gotta love internet commerce! And while we anticipate a wonderful visit to the actual gallery one day, our trust in their expertise and integrity is complete. “Stepping Stones,” a beautiful British landscape, is now under our family's care for the second 150 years of its life, and more, I hope, a trust we welcome. Thank you Jerry and Joan!"Bob and Theresa L.
"From the initial encounter with Jerry I thought, "Now, this is a kind and considerate soul." My initial impression was affirmed through each step of the process, concluding with the purchase of our first piece of 19 th century artwork! Never once did I feel pressured nor was the conversation forced. Jerry readily conveys his passion for and knowledge of the masterful works from this wonderful period in art history. If art speaks, then Jerry ably facilitates the conversation! From the first call through receipt of the expertly packaged artwork, the Bedford Fine Art Gallery excels!"Randy B.
"It was such a pleasure to purchase artwork from Jerry. He is an honest man, who goes the extra mile (literally – he actually delivered a painting to me, over 6 hour drive one way!) to make sure the painting arrived safely. He is reasonable, knowledgeable, and provides outstanding value and quality with every transaction. I highly recommend Jerry Hawk and Bedford Fine Art Gallery."Julie A.
"My husband and I were in the market for 19th century paintings and while doing research I came upon the Bedford Fine Art Gallery website. The music that was playing on the video showcasing the gallery's paintings was our wedding song. One of the paintings by the English artist William Bromley III reminded me of our first date. At that moment the painting met its new owner. Jerry spent much time discussing the details of the painting and about the artist. He also talked about two other paintings that were done by Bromley. The breadth and depth of Jerry's knowledge of art is very impressive. What I especially appreciated was his down to earth manner and his willingness to know his customers. In addition to the "first date" painting, we purchased the two other paintings by Bromley that tell the story of two friends enjoying nature. At the time, I also had my eye on another painting called "The Diary" by a well known French artist August Toulmouche. Due to budgetary constraints I had to let it go but had a feeling I would see it again (I did check now and then to see if anyone purchased it--it was still there!). We then went to Paris to celebrate our 32nd wedding anniversary and that same year I was turning 60!! In keeping with the French theme, my husband purchased "The Diary" as a birthday gift and voila all is well with the world. My belief is that paintings wait for us until we are ready to embrace them into our life and our home. To those of you yearning to go back to the 19th century, the Bedford Gallery will take you there!"Theodora B
"We found Bedford Fine Art Gallery about a year ago. We stopped and met Jerry and Joan. They were both courteous and knowledgable, but not pushy. They have a great eye and displayed many beautiful paintings. Most impressive was the level of customer service they bring to the table. They went out of their way to be as helpful and accommodating as possible. We bought a wonderful painting we love."Tim and Mary H.
"Bedford PA! An American historical time capsule. Bedford was an 18th century British military fortification and afterwards a 19th century Federal period frontier gateway to the Northwest Territory and is today a popular tourist destination. Joan and Jerry Hawk’s Bedford Fine Art Gallery, located in the historic Bedford Mansion, near the Bedford Courthouse, offers an extensive collection of original 19th century paintings in their beautifully restored gallery...which continually attracts this appreciative collector and former museum trustee."Charles F.
"At the suggestion of a dear friend my wife and myself found our way west on the Lincoln Highway to the charming town of Bedford to ferret out Bedford Fine Arts and a unique painting that might find a home in our niche collection of 20th Century transportation art. Not only did we find the painting by Otto Kuhler, but we also found a delightful couple, Joan and Gerald Hawk, who had created a wonderful venue to exhibit and offer for sale a fascinating collection of period American paintings. Combining knowledge and passion with their friendly home spun appreciation for their clients, the Hawks are the most delightful respite from the usual gallery sales approach. We now return to Bedford, not only for the opportunity to see, appreciate, and occasionally acquire an addition for our collection, but more importantly to renew an acquaintance, share pleasant conversation, and enjoy whatever happens to grace the walls of their magnificent gallery. Jerry and Joan’s remarkable ability to acquire, display, and offer for sale an impressive array of American art in a classic American small town setting, is only exceeded by their genuine interest in their client’s collections and the personal stories surrounding the acquisition of each piece in their collection. In our many years of building our collection, we have never had a more pleasant experience or personal interaction with a dealer. So if you are serious about your passion for fine American art, make the effort to acquaint yourselves with Joan and Jerry….and if you want to enhance the experience, stay off the Turnpike and take the time to journey to Bedford on Route 30, from either east or west, and spend the day in Bedford and environs. It will be an experience you will not forget."Vivian and Bennett L.
"After visiting Bedford Fine Art Gallery, I fell in love with several different paintings. But there was one that really caught my eye – it was a painting of roses. I love roses. It was close to my birthday, so I decided to treat myself. Jerry and Joan were honest and straightforward with me. Also, they made the sale easy and fair."Margaret H.
"Over the past several years I have had the enjoyment of acquiring a fairly substantial number of 19th century paintings from Joan and Jerry Hawk of Bedford Fine Art Gallery. Each work is special and fills a very high quality niche in each room. From Scalp Level to Hudson River School the works have added and raised the bar in our collection and made our home a wonderful place to enjoy each painting individually and as a group. We have counted on the Hawks over the years to regularly discover incredible items whose quality and condition have ameliorated the artistic environment of our homes."Frank B.
"Jerry Hawk's passion and knowledge really shine in Bedford Fine Art Gallery's excellent collection of 19th century art. Particularly valuable is Jerry's ability to source difficult-to-find pieces from the Scalp Level School. His commitment to customer service is unsurpassed. I heartily recommend Jerry and his gallery."Rob S.
"I am so happy with my completed “gallery wall” and wanted to thank you for all your help in putting it together. With the addition of smaller paintings from your gallery, in the same style as the larger pieces we already owned, we were able to create a montage of landscapes with a “local scalp level feel” which is cohesive and beautiful. After talking with you and sending photos of the pictures we wanted to work around, you were able to suggest both vertical and horizontal pieces of various sizes which would work in our mix. When my husband and I visited your gallery, we were both pleasantly surprised by the number and variety of beautiful paintings available. You and Joan had already identified the paintings most likely to work for us and it was difficult to choose! Now that the installation Is complete, we couldn’t be happier and look forward to visiting you again when the “art” bug hits."Janet and George S.
"What a great experience it was to make my first fine art purchase with you. I was intrigued by the artist D.J. Gue and was thrilled to find one of his impressive seascapes at your gallery. It hangs prominently in my office and gives me much enjoyment daily! Thank you!"Mark S.
"What an incredible experience as I was on the search for a still life by BS Hays. Bedford Fine Art Gallery offers a beautiful, historical environment with a personalized service, guiding you through lovely art offerings. It was an absolute treasure that I hope to visit again!"Susan M.
"Here’s what happens when you step inside the Bedford Fine Art Gallery—Jerry meets you at the door and ushers you into hallways lined with one glorious piece of art after another that will have you convinced that it can’t get any better. That’s before you enter room after room in this historic, restored mansion full of extraordinary art that Jerry & his wife have displayed with expert lighting and professional descriptions. Personalized, smart, customer service designed to assist you in choosing the finest 19th century paintings anywhere—whether you know your style & you’re adding to it, buying investment art, or like me—walking in and being starstruck by a piece that calls to me with no rhyme or reason but must come home with me. "Tyna L.
"Having worked in the art world for a number of years, I have experience with a cross section of art museums, galleries and auction houses. I have developed a sense of what I like and that which does not appeal to me. In this regard, my recent interaction with the Bedford Fine Art Gallery prompts this unsolicited testimonial. From my perspective, the Bedford Fine Art Gallery would be the envy of many urban museums and art galleries.
Proprietors Joan and Jerry Hawk have established a first class art gallery offering the very best in fine art, professionally arranged displays, state-of-the-art technology, and superior customer service. Joan and Jerry have a good eye and the quality of their artwork is reminiscent of that seen in the very best art museums. Together, they have discovered and conserved a number of art treasures that I am sure would appeal to the most discriminating of collectors. Each piece is well researched and the didactic material provides good insight to the artist and the artwork. You can browse their inventory on a leisurely walk through the Bedford Fine Art Gallery; or page through the Gallery catalogue; or visit the on-site kiosk for information; or go on line at BedfordFineArtGallery.com.
If you are interested in acquiring good quality fine art, I recommend that you visit the Bedford Fine Art Gallery at 230 South Juliana Street in Bedford, PA and let Joan and Jerry Hawk be your personal guides to fine art."
"My wife is an artist, and I am a financial advisor, different in many ways. My bride has always desired a collection in fine art. My fear has always been the numbers, what am I paying for, is there an investment value, and is it a fair value? A single customer with two very different views on why to buy art. Jerry and Joan are simply amazing. Their knowledge and passion are second to none. Not only is the collection at Bedford Fine Art Gallery of museum quality, but their passion really inspires you, comforts you, and welcomes you in as a member of what seems like an exclusive club. We are blessed to know them. They will work with you in every way possible to make your dream come true. Our life is now more beautiful because of them, and we look forward to our next purchase."Jason and Alyson L.
"On a recent trip to Bedford we visited the Fine Art Gallery and were impressed by the quality of the paintings displayed and by the discussions we had with Jerry. We purchased a painting and we expect to revisit the Gallery on our next trip to Bedford. Stop by; the Hawks will be happy to spend time with you and you will learn some history of the area from them. Highly recommended."Marguerite and Bob
"From the front door, you can tell you are going to have a very interesting, pleasant and peaceful experience. The art is wonderful. The owners have so much knowledge and the patience to share it."Jeff and Sara K.
"Jerry and Joan were a constant pleasure to work with. I had been considering purchasing a presidential portrait of theirs for some time, but they never tired of my questions or repeated requests to see the painting. Jerry was especially knowledgeable of the artist, the painting, and its provenance. As this purchase was my first real art acquisition, Jerry helped me not only understand the history of the piece but also how it was evaluated and appraised. I hope to acquire more 20th and 19th century oil paintings in the future and will certainly keep my eye on the Bedford Fine Art Gallery."Patrick N.
"It’s not every day you meet people so kind, professional and passionate about what they do. Every part of the buying process was outstanding. Every detail was taken care of from the excellent online listing to perfectly handled packing and shipping once we completed the purchase. We were so intrigued after we first talked with Jerry about the piece which we finally bought that we had to make a trip to Bedford to meet Jerry and Joan in person. It was well worth it. Whether your trip to Bedford is 10 miles or 2000 miles, make the journey. There’s great art and outstanding gallery owners waiting for you."Jeff and Lisa G.
"It was love at first sight when I walked into Bedford Fine Art Gallery for the first time and saw the painting by Auguste Toulmouche. Every time I visited the gallery I made sure to visit my favorite painting. Jerry and Joan would delight in telling me about the artist which made me appreciate the portrait even more. I am thrilled with my purchase and cannot thank the Hawk’s enough for their exceptional customer service, and knowledge of the artist's paintings they carry in their gallery."Marian B.
"We visited the Bedford Fine Art Gallery by chance during a short break at Bedford Springs. Joan made us extremely welcome on that first visit and we were very taken with the work of two artists. We returned the next day and enjoyed a relaxed opportunity to study the pictures again before we committed to purchase. Both Joan and Jerry were very knowledgeable and helpful but also allowed us some privacy to discuss the pictures ourselves. Once we committed to purchase they went "the extra mile" to help overcome obvious hurdles of packing for international shipping and the customs arrangements. A couple of weeks later both pictures arrived safely at our home in Scotland and we are now starting to enjoy them."Russell & Liz C.
"We met Jerry and Joan Hawk shortly after they returned to Bedford as full time residents to open the gallery. Their knowledge of 19 th century art is extensive and the variety of paintings on display is impressive for any area. The paintings are displayed with museum quality lighting over two floors in the gallery. In recent years, they have added different genres of paintings, and this last Christmas I chose a more modern floral water color, by Michael Struber, for my wife. If you are considering a wall art purchase to decorate your home, we would highly recommend contacting The Fine Art Gallery. We look forward to seeing what new pieces will be added in the newly expanded lower level of the gallery."Ryan and Tricia
"Since the first time I visited the Bedford Fine Art Gallery it has been a great experience. The owners are warm, humble, and true professionals with amazing expertise to guide new collectors in finding the right piece that speaks to them. The knowledge and passion they share is so refreshing and made the entire process, from browsing to the final decision, so exciting and a true pleasure. There is no better gallery that offers so many stunning 19 th century southwestern Pennsylvania historic landscape works—a true treasure to this area. If you are looking for a unique gallery experience with the warmest welcome, you absolutely must visit."Josh B.
"We recently purchased a beautiful original oil painting from Bedford Fine Art Gallery. We live in Virginia, and because of Covid 19 and our age, we hesitated on traveling to PA to view this painting. Jerry and Joan were very accommodating. We set up a meeting place in VA, and Joan and Sarah, Art Specialist, met us with the painting, and the purchase was made at that time. This was a 3-4 hour drive for them. We highly recommend Bedford Fine Art Gallery, if you're in the market for some quality art work."Sonny and Carolyn B.
"I am so happy to have worked with the Bedford Art Gallery; the people were pleasant and knowledgeable. Their collection is beautiful."Suzanne F.
"Late 19th century European and American art has long been an interest of ours. We happened upon the website of the Bedford Fine Art Gallery and looked forward to visiting a gallery with this specific focus. As Joan and Jerry Hawk met us at the door and we stepped in, we saw rooms filled with the art we admire and we could tell it was going to be a good day.
The rooms are wonderfully displayed with oil and watercolor paintings and graphite drawings. Art gallery labels, noting background information on the artist and the individual piece, are most helpful. Additionally, the Hawks have made large notebooks with more extensive information on each piece and the artist. It is easy to tell the Hawks love what they do and they willingly share their knowledge. They even demonstrated lighting techniques for a picture’s best presentation.
We will undoubtedly visit again to see the art in this remarkable gallery. We brought home a watercolor and have the confidence we were dealt with openly and fairly. "
"Thank you for all your assistance with my recent purchase. Both you and your wife were very kind and knowledgeable. The gallery is truly a gem and a great asset to Bedford!"Michael M.
"I sold two pieces of art to the Bedford Fine Art Gallery. Jerry was a pleasure to work with and provided great customer service, was very efficient, and I received prompt payment. I would recommend this hidden gem!"Rhetta G.
"Let’s face it, paintings are expensive, and it can be a traumatic experience buying them. Jerry and Joan do as much as any vendor possibly could do to make the experience relaxed, warm, and joyful. We came away with a high level of trust and satisfaction, knowing that we got a square deal on some wonderful paintings and knowing that Jerry and Joan provide great customer support. Finally, we came away smiling because they are such great folks and a whole lot of fun to know! "Beth and Sam
"Last week my wife and I came to Jerry and Joan Hawk's house to try to sell a 19th century painting by J.N. Hess. We didn't just find a wonderful old house, but an art collection that took our breath away. Not only did we thoroughly enjoy our time with the Hawk's, but we sold the painting. It was a delight to have several hours with some very interesting and helpful people."Roger and Joy G.
"The Bedford Fine Art Gallery was recommended to us by our neighbors. They were very impressed both by the wonderful artwork presented and the very amiable owners. So, one rainy day, we stopped in to see for ourselves. We are so glad we did! It was immediately evident that, for Jerry and Joan, the gallery was not a business but a passion. Their vocation, as geologists, has prepared them for the exacting work they do in collecting and displaying fine 18th, 19th, and 20th century artwork by recognized artists of the respective periods. Jerry and Joan allow the visitor to wander, at leisure, through three floors of paintings worthy of any fine home where art of this caliber is appreciated. Although there is no pressure at all while viewing, both Jerry and Joan are willing and able to give full background information on art and artist, making our visit not only a pleasurable artistic adventure but an education as well. We were taken by both the art and the gallery owners. We actually did make a purchase that fits so well in our early 20th century home and, we must say, the price was exceptional. If we can act as your neighbors and recommend a very pleasing gallery experience, please take a rainy day, or any day, and go visit with Jerry and Joan. You won’t regret it. We might even see you there! "Jeff and Cathy D.
"Thank you for including me on your mailing list. Every time I see Bedford Fine Art Gallery in my mail I know I am in for a treat. It is a bright spot while sheltering in place. "Beth L.
"On a quick getaway to Bedford, we wandeted into Bedford fine Art Gallery. What a joy! Joan and Jerry were welcoming and just eager to share their enthusiasm for art. Visiting with no intention of buying, we were treated to in depth information on each artist and piece that caught our attention. We untimately purchased two pieces that touched us. Art speaks to everyone differently and it is nice to have gallery owners who appreciate that."Sheila and Frank
"To the Bedford Fine Art Gallery. I was very pleased with the way the communication between Gerald Hawk and myself was handled. Very prompt and efficient. I would recommend the Bedford Fine Art Gallery to anyone interested in their beautiful artwork. Also if they have any antique artwork they are interested in selling. Thank you so much for taking the time and interest in my pencil sketches! "Debra B.
"Due to my interest in the Western Pennsylvania artist, George Hetzel, I came to know of Bedford Fine Art Gallery through my desire to purchase an original Hetzel painting. Our family’s interest in George Hetzel stems from our grandfather, Charles Succop, who took art lessons in Pittsburgh with Hetzel. When a Hetzel painting became available and after I informed Jerry Hawk of our family’s connection to Hetzel, he made it possible for me to make the purchase through a short but much needed payment plan. Without such consideration, I would not have the Hetzel we enjoy today. I recommend BFAG to both the serious art collector and to the one who desires to cultivate a love for fine art. The Hawks are knowledgeable and accommodating, and their love for fine art goes far beyond making a sale."Gus S.
"Recently I had the pleasure to fall upon a treasure trove of hidden jewels; beautifully displayed items for acquisition at affordable prices, and a proprietor partnership that was professional, honest and a joy to know.
As a collector of fine art, I was looking for a local gallery for viewing and purchase of 19th and early 20th century paintings, particularly those artists native to Western Pennsylvania that formed the Scalp Level school. Following an internet search, I found the Bedford Fine Art Gallery website. What a beautiful and professional website presentation of artwork from many different genres and schools, all for sale to the public. Included with the photos were artists’ bios and in some cases a brief historical narrative of their work and contributions to the field of art.
It was obvious from the first look the proprietors of this establishment took their work very seriously, and were totally committed to providing a most professional art purchase experience.
My introduction to Gerald Hawk came through an initial phone call. Not only was he knowledgeable of fine art and well connected with the collecting community, he was passionate for his love of art. He treated me with the greatest respect, honesty, and kindness. That was the start of a business relationship that has probably been the most enjoyable I have had the pleasure to experience in my life.
In short order, my wife and I visited the gallery, and, in addition to viewing the vast collection of artwork, we had the pleasure of meeting Jerry’s wife, Joan. She shares Jerry’s love of art and is an equal and essential part of their business activities.
To anyone who is considering the purchase of a piece of fine art I would strongly recommend contacting the gallery, and make an appointment to view their inventory. You won’t be disappointed. Sincerely, "
"We have been very happy with the entire purchase process, from choosing a piece of art to the care Jerry and Joan gave the piece in order for it to look perfect in our home."Mary and Monty B.
An Art Lover’s immersion in Beauty and Artistic Heritage - "The passionate combination of the pursuit and discovery of artistic beauty and sharing this with their visitors and new collectors is the hallmark of the Bedford Fine Art Gallery. The special experience of immersing oneself in the luscious palette and paintings of 19th and 20th century in the finely appointed Victorian Mansion of the Bedford Fine Art Gallery is a visual treat as you pass from one elegant room to another. Each turn leads to viewing a fresh and sparkling still life, tender portrait or luminous landscape in these intimate settings. It Is possible to be magically transported through an interior woodland scene or view a broad valley from a mountain escarpment. Each visit is a delightful event at this special treasure in Bedford, PA., always offering a new and memorable vision. This wonderful gallery is often noted to be on par with a 19th century art museum or salon and is not to be missed, including meeting its’ purveyors of art, Joan and Jerry Hawk. Their discerning eye, thorough research, and care in selecting and presenting the best representative art of the period is most impressive. Jerry’s and Joan’s knowledge of each creator’s individual history and work fill a conversation with the lively insights into the period, styles and world of these fascinating artists. Their thirty years of developing these superb skills rivals those of the most learned curators in American art and knowledge. Your interests are important to them and they guide and assist you in finding your own treasure among their finest offerings. I am so pleased to have found so many wonderful selections at the Bedford Fine Art Gallery and to have added to my own collection with a beautiful addition from their inventory. I know I will return again and again to view their wonderful selections and discover my next treasure among the many fine works in their most elegant and welcoming Fine Art Gallery."Sarah H.
"I was very pleased to sell our two 19th c paintings through Bedford. Couldn’t have been a better or easier transaction! Again, many thanks."Betty D.
"I first stumbled upon Bedford Fine Art Gallery while searching online for a piece by John Joseph Enneking, my favorite artist. I inquired about several pieces and got a very fast response. I told Jerry that I would be traveling by Bedford Fine Art Gallery the next day and would love to stop in to see the pieces. When I arrived, Jerry and his wife Joan were very welcoming and did not hesitate to show me their incredible collection in addition to the pieces that I was interested in. They were both very knowledgeable and truly care about each and every piece that they own. Ultimately, I was able to take home my very first John Joseph Enneking piece, Woodland Whitewater, and I could not be happier with both the piece and my entire experience at Bedford Fine Art gallery. I hope to do business with both Jerry and Joan again in the near future."Sam H.
"I drove 12 hours to meet the nicest couple and outstanding artwork that was perfectly and honestly represented. More than pleased with expertise, professionalism, and kindness genuinely exhibited by Jerry and Joan. "Brent & Sarah S.
"We were so happy with Joan and Jerry’s customer service and expertise. I would recommend Bedford Fine Art Gallery to anyone that is looking for the special piece of art. You will be happy you reached out to them."Bob and Christine M.
"I really enjoyed the art, but the house, decore and overall experience was also very enjoyable"William K.
"Thank you Joan for extending so many kindnesses to us during our tour of your amazing home museum/gallery. We were especially appreciative of your patience with us and your knowledge of the art. You were so helpful in making our visit to Bedford so much fun with your recommendation to visit SAMA for their celebration of Tom McGaughey and his eclectic art."Lee S.
"The staff is extremely knowledgeable about the paintings on display. They are very friendly and have a lot of beautiful pieces on display. I would highly recommend this Gallery for art."Christopher C.
"Jerry and Joan Hawk have created a haven for art lovers!"Michal J.
"Extremely knowledgeable staff and wide selection of high end paintings by listed artists."Joshua J.
"Bedford, Pennsylvania, is a charming colonial town that offers a little something for everyone. A hidden gem in the town is the Bedford Fine Art Gallery, an historic mansion that houses an impressive collection of mainly 19 th century paintings. Joan and Jerry Hawk have turned their beautiful home into a gallery that is warm, welcoming, and filled with significant pieces of art. Everything was impressive, from the careful positioning of the artwork, that caught the light perfectly, to Jerry’s extensive knowledge of the history and background of each piece, to the warm welcome and great customer service. Our impulsive stop while strolling through town turned into a several-hour visit and, ultimately, resulted in the purchase of a unique painting that we could not resist. The Bedford Fine Art Gallery is a destination must that we highly recommend for anyone who appreciates classic American art and superior service."Jennifer T.
"Thanks again for the opportunity to own the work of an artist who is very important to us. We are extremely happy with this experience. Take care."Franklin J.
"I am enjoying my artists work and their position in my Mechanicsburg home, as well as Williamsburg."Doris B.
"The new paintings are hung and look great, thanks for delivering."Janet S.
"A gem in the middle of Pennsylvania."John and Kathy D.
"Such a lovely experience with Knowledgeable people passionate about art."Beth Anne J.
"Very informative, welcoming, absolutely gorgeous art. Thank you so much for the experience!"Kit T.
"Jerry and Joan are a delightful couple. They went above and beyond to assist me in purchasing my first painting in what I hope will become a much larger collection. Jerry's personable nature and passion for artwork furthered my own interest in acquiring a painting which evoked a deep emotional connection. In sum, Bedford Fine Art Gallery is an exceptional art gallery which fosters meaningful relationships based on mutual respect, trust, and an appreciation for the field of art history. I highly recommend Bedford Fine Art Gallery and I look forward to forging a lasting relationship with Jerry and Joan for years to come."Tyler M.
"My wife and I recently sold a regional Pennsylvania painting to the Bedford Fine Art Gallery. Jerry and Joan were very accommodating, knowledgeable, and professional. They provided a simple and seamless transaction. We would not hesitate to recommend them to anyone interested in selling pieces from their collection."Richard and Cassie F.
"Awesome place. Thank you for your hospitality. Will be back."Joe and Zoey K.
"Beautiful and wonderfully displayed paintings."John and Paula L.
"Absolutely stunning art!"Irene and Peter E.
"Magnificent. Your love for your art collection is displayed in your gallery."Dave N.
"If I could give more than 5 starts to Bedford Fine Art Gallery, I would. Dealing with Jerry Hawk was timely, efficient and productive. He posted an excellent photo of a painting by Mary Hiester Reid. It was true to the condition of the work. He responded immediately to my inquiry, he took a great deal of time with me as he described the work, and he discussed price openly and honestly. His terms made it possible for me to buy it, and he collaborated with a local shipping outfit to pack and send the painting as well. (It was beautifully and securely packed.) I recommend Bedford Fine Art Gallery without reservation!"M.P.
"Bedford Fine Art Gallery..... the experience for me was all positive. I was searching for various artists from the 19th century that lived in and painted Pennsylvania, which lead me to Bedford PA. Its a pleasure to find such a collection of paintings in a historic atmosphere where background classical music plays.... the lighting shines on each piece perfectly.... and you have details of the artist to make the painting more personal. Jerry and Joan have a business model that works.... they care about your experience at the gallery.... and most important they care about the quality of each painting. If you able to visit the gallery I would suggest giving a few hours to enjoy the artwork. One more tip.... if your satisfied how the paintings look online, they are much better in person. I know I'll be back in Bedford soon to purchase another!"Randy Scott F.
"I, fortunately, came in contact with Jerry when I was planning on selling a George Hetzel painting. I was doing a lot of research on different art galleries and art collectors in order to obtain a feeling for someone with a genuine expertise on Hetzel paintings. So, I came upon the Bedford Fine Art Gallery and I reached out to Jerry, since the gallery did mention experience and expertise in 19th century artwork; and it was close in proximity to where I live. After speaking with Jerry several times, I felt very comfortable and confident he would be the best to make a sale with. Upon meeting both Jerry and Joan I knew I made the right decision. They are very passionate about art work and quite knowledgeable on the life and history of the artist. It was a pleasure doing business with them and I would highly recommend the Bedford Fine Art Gallery if you are looking for fairness, honesty and a genuine comfort level in either selling or purchasing fine art."Scott & Barbette
"Thanks for the quick reply etc. Not what usually comes from those Big Auction House Players .. and NYC galleries. So it’s refreshing to experience the response."Geoffrey H.
"We learned of Bedford Fine Art Gallery and Joan and Jerry Hawk quite serendipitously. Going online to examine examples of Chauncey Ryder paintings led us to Bedford’s website, as the Gallery had a fine example of Ryder’s work. Suffice it to say, we were more than pleasantly surprised. A truly incredible website. Really! I was "detained" there for almost two hours and have returned periodically. Pictures are worth thousands of words, literally. Any reader who heeds our advice and visits the site will be happy to confirm our praise. We encourage all to visit and get to know Joan and Jerry. Most knowledgeable, friendly, accommodating, and a pleasure to deal with. Be sure to plan for (at least) an hour’s visit. One special painting after another, after another, after another. Trust us, and enjoy."Carroll and Carolyn K.
"My first visit to the Bedford Fine Arts Gallery was a pleasure. The Gallery’s setting is a charming historic home which in itself is worth the visit, but it is easy to lose your sense of time as you move through the spaces and are surrounded by an impressive quantity and variety of beautifully preserved artwork. Jerry and Joan Hawk have an extensive knowledge of the artists, backgrounds, and artwork in their gallery that they love to share with guests . The time invested in the Bedford Fine Arts Gallery will be one of your most pleasant memories of the year."John B.
"My wife and I recently had the opportunity to visit the Bedford Fine Art Gallery. We were very impressed by the consistently high quality of the works of art on display there. The owners, Joan and Jerry Hawk, were very knowledgeable about each work of art in the Gallery and the art market in general. We found them to be very honest and sincere and never pushy about making a sale despite our interest in several pieces. A few weeks later we decided to purchase an oil painting from them. The overall transaction and delivery exceeded our expectations and we love the painting. If you are interested in purchasing a fine work of art from a dealer you can trust, I would highly recommend Joan and Jerry of the Bedford Fine Art Gallery."Mark B.
"Recently I purchased a painting for my birthday. I found it as posted on Instagram. Upon further inspection the painting was by the son of the architect that designed my house. How happy I was to find that Bedford fine Art Gallery had not sold the piece. Furthermore after discussing its acquisition with Joan not only did I find the entire process most pleasant but Joan agreed to deliver the painting the very next day which was in fact my birthday. I find this sort of old-fashioned business courtesy so rare these days. What a pleasure to do business with people like this! I wholeheartedly recommend art purchases from this company! They are simply the best!"D. H.
"Joan and Jerry are extraordinary to work with for the purchase of our painting. They are extremely knowledgeable about the painting and have been helpful finding historical information about the Artist himself. Our beautiful painting hangs proudly where all can see and enjoy it. The restoration work enhanced the lighting and colors making the painting more realistic and enjoyable. A joy to experience. We will most definitely use the Bedford Gallery for future purchases and restorations Thank you so much for all your terrific service and talent."Ryan M.
"Buying a favourite picture and talking with owners was a wonderful experience. Looking forward to seeing what they post for sale in the future."V.B.
"Beautifully done - one can tell it is a work of love! The collection was impressive and the viewing of it , a pleasure. Thank you!"Gabrielle G.
"As a fellow enthusiast in the trade, I was delighted to find a work in my area of interest from Bedford Gallery. Jerry & Joan offered the work fully restored and framed so it was ready to hang. They were easy to deal with which went a long way since I was buying from outside the US. It was also cool to learn more about their interest in Western PA historical art which I knew very little about. I will have to keep an eye on their website to see what else they turn up."Ed H.
"A visit to the Bedford Fine Arts Gallery is a rare opportunity to see American nineteenth landscape, portrait, and still life paintings in a house-turned-gallery of the same era, in a region close to where some of the artists, such as The Scalp Level School, painted. The collection also includes contemporary paintings as well. Owners, collectors and curators Joan and Jerry Hawk are knowledgeable not just about the art they collect and sell, but about the geology that created the terrain the artists depicted.
On a recent afternoon, Joan showed me through all three levels of the remarkable gallery. She first knew the house, known as The Barclay House, as a child when it served as the Bedford Public Library. Years later she and Jerry returned to Bedford, purchased the house and have restored it to serve as both their gallery and home. As we walked from room to room Joan told me both about the individual paintings and artists, and about the house, making the tour a double pleasure and an informal art and architecture history lesson as well.
Don’t miss the beautiful views of Bedford from the second-floor gallery rooms, and the awesome stone foundation of the lower-level gallery-conference room. The artwork is beautiful, the hospitality personal and informative. The Bedford Fine Arts Gallery is an enjoyable, inspiring place to visit, well worth a stop while you are exploring historic downtown Bedford"Ellen C.