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.

Approaching Storm by George Waller Parker (1888-1957)

This painting by George Waller Parker (1888-1957) contained an old wax reline that was failing. This leads to drying of the paint film that leads cupping where the paint lifts from the canvas. The surface was also suffering from dirt particulates and a lacking depth to the stretcher bar that led to a crease all along the edge.

After being de-fit the wax re-line was removed and the painting carefully cleaning. New archival linen was adhered to the reverse and the paint-film, along the cupping, was consolidated. This has the propensity to leave some areas of loss, which were then in-painted to conceal them. New conservation varnish to finish, and a lift to the stretcher bar to allow the canvas to sit clear and without the stress that led to the previous crease lines.

George Waller Parker was born in Gouverneur, New York in 1888.  He studied art at Brown University, at the Art Student League in New York City, and at the Grande Chaumiere and Academie Colarossi in Paris, France.

He was known to have lived in Summerville, South Carolina; Portland, Maine; Nantucket, Rhode Island; and New York City as late as 1953.  He taught Summer School in Nantucket in 1940.  He painted in oils and acrylics, and his preferred subjects were landscapes, rainbows, streets, and harbor views.  He traveled extensively throughout Indonesia, including Bali, to Japan, Canada, and Mexico.

Parker was a member of the Salmagundi Club, Portland Society of Artists, Allied Artists of America, Artists Fellowship, Audubon Artists, Societe Coloniale des Artistes Francaises, Fine Arts Federation of New York, American Artists Professional League, and Grand Central Art Galleries.

He exhibited at the National Academy of Design 1928-1938, in Strasbourg, Germany; (Prize), Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts; Art Institute of Chicago; Kansas City Art Institute; Springfield Museum of Art; Paris Salon; Rochester Memorial Art Gallery, and in other exhibitions in New York City, Paris, France, Cincinnati and Cleveland, Ohio, Chicago, Illinois.

His work is represented at the Rochester Memorial Art Gallery, at the Newark Museum of Art, at the Sweat Memorial Museum of Art, at the Lake Placid Club, at the New York Historical Society, at the Saranac Public Library, at the U.S. Navy Building, Washington, DC, at the Trudue Sanitarium, at the Baltimore Museum of art, at the American Artists Professional League, and at the Reception Hospital, Saranac Lake.

George Waller Parker died in New York City, New York in 1957.

 

Frank Dudley Dune Painting with American Impressionist Frame

This Dune painting by Frank Virgil Dudley (1868-1957) suffered from heavy smoke and dirt particulates across the surface. There was some paint loss along the top as well as a crease around the perimeter due to the stress caused by the stretcher bar, and there were some craquelures that were discovered.

The cleaning process had a tremendous effect, but it made the craquelures more apparent. Consolidation returned these areas to plane, and in-fill and in-painting concealed them.

A new custom and handmade American Impressionist frame was made with carved corners and gilded with 22 karat gold.

In an auction at the beginning of the year, Frank Dudley set his career high mark, and we glad to see not only the appreciation for the style of American Impressionism, but also the appreciation for the “Painter of the Dunes,” as Dudley became to be known as.

Frank Dudley (1868-1957), born in Delavan, Wisconsin, had worked as a youth with his father as a house painter.  Frank was one of three brothers born to deaf-mute parents, James A. and Flora Virgil Dudley. Communicating in sign language, James Dudley taught his sons the craft of house painting. James also had some skill as a draftsman and easel painter, and Frank likely received his earliest art instruction from his father. He also studied easel painting with Albert McCoy, who was a visiting artist from Chicago, and then moved to Chicago where he took a job as a commercial engraver.  He attended night classes at the Art Institute where he studied under John H. Vanderpoel and Charles Boutwood. Around this time he also had an introduction to Impressionism by way of the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago.

Frank married Mahala Boxwell several years before their son Paul was born in 1898, and he supported his family with his artwork. Following the sudden death of his wife in 1904, Frank Dudley turned to plein air landscape painting.

In 1911, he visited the Indiana Dunes for the first time, and began to record the scenery there. In 1913 he married his second wife, Maida Lewis, with whom he spent the rest of his life. With Maida often seated nearby, he painted the Dunes in all seasons.

In 1921, having gained much positive attention for his regional focus, Dudley closed the small art supply business he was running in Chicago, and built a cabin for full-time painting on Lake Michigan near Chesterton, Indiana.  He was able to build the cabin with money he received from winning the Logan Prize of the Art Institute for his painting, Duneland, and from then selling the painting to the Art Institute.

Dudley’s studio and cottage became a gathering place for many painters attracted to the Indiana Dunes and to the variances of the shoreline.  The artists, including Dudley, became champions of preservation for the area, and the beauty of their canvases stirred the public pressure that led in 1923 to the establishment of two-thousand acres as the Indiana Dunes State Park.

At that time, Dudley made an arrangement to be able to keep his cabin as rental property within the park in exchange for one painting a year donated to the Indiana State Department of Conservation.  Living in the Park for over thirty years, he died in 1957.

Exhibition venues include the Hoosier Salon, Art Institute of Chicago, Cedar Rapids Art Association, Corcoran Gallery and Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts.

Grenfell Hooked Mats

Part of the Grenfell Mission, these three hooked mats came in with problems of dirt, acids, and moth damage. Chemistry baths neutralized the acids and lifted the dirt particulates away. After some research into how these mats were made it was discovered that the material was not wool but was silk stockings dyed from plants in Newfoundland! A similar process is be using to incorporate new material. The research also brought to light a tremendous backstory. When Wilfred Grenfell, a British doctor, traveled to Newfoundland and Labrador he was struck by the hunger, poverty and chronic disease that the hardworking native people suffered from. Instead of gifting food, money and shelter, his solution was to enhance a local tradition, mat hooking, to raise the standard of living and cause a trickle down effect to alleviate their hardships. Production rose to its peak in the late 1920s and early 1930s but it saw a decline with the Great Depression and then with WWII.  Grenfell hooked mats are known for their almost universal use of straight horizontal line hooking and their use of every hole in the brin, which results in as many as 200 stitches per square inch. Stay tuned for more…

A growing trend here at the studio.

It started innocently enough back in 2019. A pair of cows from the brush of Whitney.

 

Some time later, a few more passersby strolled in.

 

Then the word really got out and a whole bunch of them came in. This time from the brush of William Watson.

 

In August of 2021, these cows, farmer-led, found our doors open, too.

 

And then just the other day these cows came in, and judging by the amount of dirt contaminates on the surface, the journey must have been a long one.

As you can see we’ve got our work cut out for us, but we’ll keep mooooving along. Stay tuned for more (spoilers: the cows make it out okay)…