Miller Fenwood is a leading West Michigan restoration studio, providing services for artwork, furniture, textiles, ceramics, and other treasured objects. We also produce museum-quality custom frames. Our studios are located in Holland and Hamilton, Michigan. Please use the “Contact” tab near the top of the page if you would like to make appointment.

Member American Institute for Conservation of Historic and Artistic Works.

Member International Fine Art Appraisers.

Restoration of Edgar Boeve’ oil on burlap. The Last Supper

We were so gratified to complete this restoration of Edgar Boeve’s painting of The Last Supper.  The painting came in with  several holes through the paint film and into the burlap below, along with many issues of contamination on the paint surface.  It was hard to know how affecting the final results would be with this powerful interpretation of the Last Supper.  The color uniquely serves in heightening our experience of this pivotal scene with the apostles.  The expressions and the attitudes of each figure became so much more discernible once the loss and damage had been addressed.  The painting is part of the collection of the community of LaGrave CRC church in Grand Rapids, Michigan.


Historical Note: Edgar Boevé has been dubbed as the “Face of Art” for Calvin College. Boevé was born in 1929 in Marshalltown, Iowa. Boevé helped developed Calvin College’s art department in the late 1950s. He lived with his parents in parsonages in Grand Rapids, Louisiana, and Ridgewood, New Jersey where hegraduated from Eastern Christian High School and later from Franklin School of the Arts in New York City. He also graduated from Calvin College and the University of Michigan. Boevé married Ervina Van Dyke in 1955 and joined her on the faculty of Calvin College in 1958. They collaborated on many theater productions together.  An artist himself, Boevé created religious art for over 70 years, using a variety of mediums. His distinctive artwork has been commissioned for Christian high schools and churches as well as displayed in numerous art galleries. In 2018, Edgar and Ervina were honored with the establishment of The Edgar and Ervina Endowment for the Arts for the Calvin Theological Seminary. Boevé was the first president of Christians in the Visual Arts (CIVA). His book on art education as well as numerous devotional books were published by the Calvin Theological Seminary. Boevé was a professor of art emeritus and remained active in the art community until his death in 2019.

Sea Glint by Charles Vickery

This painting by Charles Vickery (1913 – 1998) suffered from dirt particulates across the surface. It was de-fit and carefully cleaned on the front and reverse with conservation varnish to finish. A new custom and hand-carved frame was prepared in the American Modernist Sully style.




Charles Vickery, known for his ability to paint water, lived in the Midwest town of Western Springs, a town without water. Vickery was born in the Southwestern town of Hinsdale Illinois in 1913, and as a child, moved to White Bear Lake, Minnesota.  His skills and potential as an artist were noticed early on. Vickery continued to develop his young talent, at an early age. Vickery returned to the small southwestern town to attend high school.  A graduate from Lyons Township High school in LaGrange Illinois, many of his accomplished works now hang in their meeting rooms, considered too valuable to be on display to the general public. Vickery went on to study art at the Art Institute of Chicago, and the American Academy of Fine Art. He often said that his greatest instructor was Lake Michigan. Vickery sketched and painted at the Chicago lakefront, Indiana Dunes, Oak Brook, and along the Eastern seaboard among others. He opened his own studio at the age of 24 in West Springs, and he maintained membership with the Oil Painters of America and the American Society of Marine Artists. He died in 1998.

Grand Canyon by Carl Hoerman

Five and a half feet by three and a half feet, if you’re going to paint the Grand Canyon you should embrace it. And Carl Hoerman (1885 – 1955) seems to have done just that. A few figures bottom-right ground the painting and add a human element but also enhance the scale of the Grand Canyon with how small the people are drawn. The rock formations in the background adopt blue tones the way ozone effects eyesight over long distances giving a sense of depth and a red-clay color emerges that is also found in the foreground rocks. It’s these intricate color tones that were compromised behind heavy dirt, smoke contamination, and an old discolored varnish.

This was a relatively quick turnaround. A few switchback passes with cotton tips and cotton pads, and then a few more switchback passes, and we were able to lift a tremendous amount of contaminates. And what really helped the colors stand out was a new coat of conservation varnish. After delivery with a box truck, we hung the painting and are very pleased with the new clarity and color tones that the painting has.

Carl Hoerman, born in Germany, emigrated to the United States in 1903, at the age of eighteen. He studied and then worked as an architect in Chicago until 1920, when he built a studio and art gallery in Saugatuck, Michigan. Hoerman, with his wife, Christiana, also an artist, frequently traveled to the West and Southwest where Carl would paint desert, Grand Canyon, and mountain scenes. Later, Hoerman would become known as a “dunes painter,” because of his western Michigan landscapes. Hoerman built multiple homes in the Southwest, including the Casa del Desierto, in 1946, at Rancho Mirage, a small community between Palm Springs and Indio, a close proximity to where this landscape painting is believed to depict. By 1952, deteriorating health, forced Hoerman to forgo travels to the West. Carl Hoerman passed away on November 8, 1955 in Douglas, Michigan.

Mathias Alten Boy on Horse

This wonderful oil painting by Mathias Alten (1871 – 1938) came in recently. It has one significant problem and that is a thin and dry paint film, and the photos of the reverse held up to the window really show this. You’ll notice under the signature that Alten signed the location as Cabanal, which is in Spain and now currently part of Valencia. Alten travelled there in 1922 with another Grand Rapids artist, Foster Jewell, and this is where Alten’s artistic style came into the influence of Joaquí­n Sorolla.

We’ve had the pleasure to work on a number of Alten paintings and watercolors and are looking forward to preserving this delightful work. Stay tuned for more…

Born in Gusenburg, Germany, Mathias Alten (1871–1938) is hailed as the foremost painter of Grand Rapids, Michigan and a second-generation Impressionist whose primary theme was agrarian labor. He was apprenticed to Joseph Klein, a decorative painter in Saint Wendel, Germany and worked on ceiling and wall decorations for churches and theaters.

At 17, he emigrated to Grand Rapids, Michigan, which was a major manufacturing center and vital art community. He studied with Edwin A. Turner and first exhibited his work at the Michigan State Fair in 1896.  Some of his earliest works are floral stilllife, a theme to which he continued to return; he also did figure and portrait painting, but his landscapes defined the direction of his work.

In 1898, he went to France and settled in Paris after spending time painting fishing scenes in Etaples, an artists’ colony on the French coast. He studied at the Academie Julian with Benjamin Constant and Jean-Paul Laurens and won a gold metal for the best figure drawing. Interested in animal drawing, he attended classes at the veterinary school and then traveled extensively throughout France and Italy and other parts of Europe.

Returning to Grand Rapids, he and Constant Fliermans opened a studio and art school together, and then on his own he pursued an active career as a a portrait and figure painter, and also did numerous murals. His figure paintings were unusual for that time because they were not elegant subjects but working class people straining their muscles.

From 1902, after spending time at the Old Lyme, Connecticut art colony, he became increasingly devoted to plein air rural landscape painting with sparkling sunlight and colors of Impressionism. In 1910, he traveled abroad for a year, doing many rural scenes of Holland, and in New York, he saw paintings by and was much influenced by the Spanish Impressionist Joaquin Sorolla whose work became a lasting influence in subject matter and a palette that was more colorful and sunlit than his previous work. In 1912, he traveled in Spain, and much of his work from that time reflected Spanish subjects.

To escape the harsh winters he made trips to southern California in 1929 and 1933-34. His good friend Norman Chamberlain had settled in Laguna Beach. While visiting there he was active with the local art colony and painted coastal scenes and a series of missions. He achieved success in Los Angeles due to his daughter’s promotion of his works.

He died in Michigan on March 8, 1938.