Heidi Sobol

Heidi Sobol

Heidi Sobol

Senior Conservator, Paintings

Area: Conservation, Canada

Interests: Paintings and frames

Phone: 416.586.5583



Heidi Sobol obtained her Bachelor of Fine Art from the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design University in 1996 and her Master of Art Conservation at Queens University in 2000.  Heidi has worked throughout North America, including the National Gallery of Canada and as a practicing paintings conservator in the private sector in Halifax, Nova Scotia. During her time in the Maritimes, Heidi provided the burgeoning arts community with an outlet to have their paintings conserved. Part of her time there was split with the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design University where she taught a upper level course in the history of materials and methods in the art history department.

As the senior conservator of paintings, Heidi is responsible for the paintings at the ROM - whether they are constructed on flexible or rigid supports. The flexible supports are artworks like the paintings displayed in the Sigmund Samuel Gallery of Canada or the Canada's First Peoples Gallery. Rigid support artworks include the wall murals located in several galleries of the ROM, including the large early 14th century wall paintings in the Bishop White China gallery. Her conservation interests include technical art historical research and aqueous cleaning mechanisms of paintings.

The paintings conservation lab's main objective is to bring paintings in need of treatment off the "operating table" and in front of the public's eye. "The diversity of the ROM's painting collection is outstanding", remarks Ms. Sobol. "Every world culture department has hidden gems - these paintings in a way define the breadth of our collection." 

Recent Publications

Year Publication
2012 Heidi Sobol. "A Little-Known Painting of a Well-Known Chief." ROM Magazine, Fall, 23. (PDF)
2010 Heidi Sobol. "In Full View - Should Conservation Work be Conducted in the Public Eye?." ROM Magazine, Winter, 14-15. (PDF)
2008 Heidi Sobol. "To Conserve and Protect." ROM Magazine, 41, 3, 30-37.

Research Projects

Between 1844 and 1848, the iconic Canadian painter Paul Kane spent 37 months travelling in the wilds of northwestern Ontario and ultimately along the fur-trade routes all the way to the Pacific Ocean and back again. He returned with 600 sketches, which formed the basis for the next eight years of creating oil paintings in his Toronto studio.  How do these final works compare to his field sketches? Are they accurate representations of what he saw? Is there a story to be told by looking beneath the surface layers of his painted canvases?