Come visit us at our new studio at 196 West 29th Suite B Holland, Michigan. We’re a high quality restoration studio providing services for artwork, furniture, and other treasured objects. We also produce museum-quality custom frames. Please call us for an appointment.

Member American Institute for Conservation of Historic and Artistic Works.

Tallmadge and Watson Architect Sketch

This first edition sketch by Tallmadge and Watson Architects of the Saugatuck Woman’s Club just came in. It’s a wonderful piece of history and has great cultural significance for the area. As the photographs detail, a piece plywood had been fitted to the back, and this introduced a substantial amount of acid contaminates.

After de-fitting the sketch was rather smelly and we promptly placed it in a chemistry bath. Along the edges you can see the dark brown color caused by wood exposure on the back plus the rabbets on the side. Even the grain of the plywood has been acid-burned into the back of the paper. The frame is rather dirty, but it is cleaning up nicely.

In 1905 Thomas Tallmadge decided to start his own architectural firm with draftsman Vernon S. Watson. Although Watson was the chief designer, Tallmadge became the face of the firm due to his commitment as a historian and teacher. He taught at the Armour Institute of Technology from 1906 to 1926. Tallmadge is credited for coining the term “Chicago school” in an article for Architectural Review to describe the recent trends in architecture pioneered by Burnham, Louis Sullivan, and others. Tallmadge took sole control over the firm after Watson retired in 1936. They were best known for their Prairie School works.

Informal by Tadeusz Kantor

This oil panting by Tadeusz Kantor (1915 – 1990) called Informal came in not needing a whole lot of work–it’s on its way to auction. We did address the surface contaminates that were across the painting. You can see how much we were able to get based on the pictures with the cotton tips. Kantor used very interesting techniques with translucent gel-coatings that are similar to vanish but have pigments that create a skin-like surface. Due to this we exercised caution and conservatism when cleaning the painting.

Tadeusz Kantor (6 April 1915 – 8 December 1990) was a Polish painter, assemblage artist, set designer and theatre director. Kantor is renowned for his revolutionary theatrical performances in Poland and abroad.

Born in Wielopole Skrzynskie, Galicia (then in Austria-Hungary), Kantor graduated from the Cracow Academy in 1939. During the Nazi occupation of Poland, he founded the Independent Theatre, and served as a professor at the Academy of Fine Arts in Kraków as well as a director of experimental theatre in Kraków from 1942 to 1944. After the war, he became known for his avant-garde work in stage design including designs for Saint Joan (1956) and Measure for Measure (1956). Specific examples of such changes to standard theatre were stages that extended out into the audience, and the use of mannequins as real-life actors.

Disenchanted with the growing institutionalization of avant-garde, in 1955 he with a group of visual artists formed a new theatre ensemble called Cricot 2. In the 1960s, Cricot 2 gave performances in many theatres in Poland and abroad, gaining recognition for their stage happenings. His interest was mainly with the absurdists and Polish writer and playwright Stanislaw Ignacy Witkiewicz (also known as “Witkacy”). Stage productions of Witkacy’s plays The Cuttlefish (1956) and The Water Hen (1969) were regarded as his best achievements during this time. A 1972 performance of The Water Hen was described as “the least-publicized, most talked-about event at the Edinburgh festival”.

Dead Class (1975) was the most famous of his theatre pieces of the 1970s. In the play, Kantor himself played the role of a teacher who presided over a class of apparently dead characters who are confronted by mannequins which represented their younger selves. He had begun experimenting with the juxtaposition of mannequins and live actors in the 1950s.

His later works of the 1980s were very personal reflections. As in Dead Class, he would sometimes represent himself on stage. In the 1990s, his works became well known in the United States due to presentations at Ellen Stewart’s La MaMa Experimental Theatre Club, which inspired Lower East Side cultural leaders such as the Nuyorican poet Giannina Braschi.[1]

Throughout his life, Kantor had an interesting and unique relationship with Jewish culture, despite being a nominal Catholic, Kantor incorporated many elements of what was known as “Jewish theatre” into his works.

Kantor died in Kraków.

Fish Fertilizer Canvas Banner Waterbath

Time for “catch and release” for this fish fertilizer banner. We had it swimming around in a large water bath at our new studio. We used our filtered water and select chemistry to get at the dirt contaminates, which came off so easily they clouded the water. We captured some of this on video. This guy’s not quite ready to be released fully. Check back for more. . .

The Jarecki Chemical Co. established by Gustav Jarecki in Erie, Pennsylvania in 1881. Gustav Jr, working for his father, was sent to Ohio to start a plant in Sandusky. Located on the foot of First Street, and adjacent to Sandusky Bay, its location made it convenient for obtaining fish, and also for shipping the final product by water. One of the best selling products at the Sandusky factory was a fertilizer made from fish by-products. The plant operated from 1887 to 1920, when it was sold to the Armour Fertilizer Co. (Armour ceased operations in Sandusky in the 1960s.) In the early 1900s, Gustav Jarecki, Jr. moved to Cincinnati where he established another branch of the company.

Hoerman Grand Canyon

This Carl Hoerman (1885 – 1955) painting suffered from dirt contamination and a sizable scratch in the top-left. Once it was cleaned we noticed the area with the scratch had been over-scrubbed, resulting in paint loss. This was from someone’s prior attempt to repair the work. In-painting was carried out to conceal this area. While the painting isn’t dated, we noticed that the board it was painted on is rather old, and this leads us to believe that it is an early work by Hoerman.

Hoerman and his wife, Christiana, who was also an artist, took a trip to Pike’s Peak in 1926. By the following year, Hoerman had started to paint desert scenes. During the 1930s, the couple would spend their winters in southern California, escaping those of the Saugatuck, Michigan area.

Ivory Sculptures Finished

Finishing touches to the ivory sculptures were made. We counted 37 broken flower leaves that were supported with tape while the Jade 403 hardened. For the pieces that suffered a rough shape from the fall, drilling was needed to smooth these areas and give a good fit. This was the same method of attachment the original artist would have used. We were pleasantly surprised by the wonderful and natural shine that came out from our careful cleaning. These statues are rather impressive pieces and were very rewarding objects to restore.

R. Turner Watercolor Restoration and New Frame

This watercolor had been greatly effected by acid burns and other invasive contaminates. Tape was also adhered along the edges, leading to acid contamination. Deep cleaning treated the stains and chemistry baths lifted the acids. Sun damage was addressed by refreshening the watercolor. New museum mat and UV-protecting glass was given to a new custom frame, which we are quite pleased with and think it deserves its own paragraph.

A brand new design with a Spanish reverse slope and basket woven corners and sgraffito in gesso. Two tones of gold were incorporated, silver and regular. We are greatly pleased with how this new design turned out, and with how well it compliments the artwork.

Fish Fertilizer Canvas Banner

This banner for Jarecki Cemical Company’s Fish Manures was actually found in a wall, and was as insulation. Due to this out-of-the-sun storage, the colors of the banner have been maintained quite well. There is a fair amount of dirt contamination, however, as well as some degradation of the fabric. The banner will be micro-vacuumed and dipped in a cleaning solution and then allowed dried with weight to undo the folds. We’re presently sourcing some local barn wood that we’ll use to make a custom frame, the style designed to the client’s liking. Stay tuned for more. . .

The Jarecki Chemical Co. established by Gustav Jarecki in Erie, Pennsylvania in 1881. Gustav Jr, working for his father, was sent to Ohio to start a plant in Sandusky. Located on the foot of First Street, and adjacent to Sandusky Bay, its location made it convenient for obtaining fish, and also for shipping the final product by water. One of the best selling products at the Sandusky factory was a fertilizer made from fish by-products. The plant operated from 1887 to 1920, when it was sold to the Armour Fertilizer Co. (Armour ceased operations in Sandusky in the 1960s.) In the early 1900s, Gustav Jarecki, Jr. moved to Cincinnati where he established another branch of the company.

JOHAN FRIEDRICH LUDWIG NAUTICAL PAINTING FINISHED

This work by Johan Friedrich Ludwig (19th Century) had suffered a substantial tear, and two lesser ones. There was also mold growing in the paint film, and had unfortunately spread beyond the varnish; in our initial assessment we had hoped that  it was contained.

From the reverse all of the tears were sutured to provide minimal abrasions to the front. In-fill and in-paint were carried out on the front with original colors to conceal the areas. All active mold was taken care, which did leave some residue behind that could have only been removed if the paint film itself was removed. A sheet of aluminum backing was adhered to the stretcher bar to give maximum stability. The date of the painting is 1928, and its canvas was a lightweight material and had started to deteriorate. Careful cleaning lightened the color of the paint film, as well as the frame.

 

 

Ivory Sculptures Work in Progress

With a temporary base to fortify the Vase with Flowers we’ve started the delicate task of reattaching the broken pieces. We’re using two types of epoxies; one of which dries clear. Tape is being used to hold the delicate areas while we work in the chrysanthemum flower structure that is quite cramped. Still to come will be a new, sturdier base with matching wood. Also, at the midsection, the statue is in two pieces where the flowers meets the vase. These pieces sit freely on each other, and we’ll use restorer adhesives to adhere them and greatly improve the stability. The Dragon Holding Birdcage has been propped, and a few loose planks adhered and weighted down while they dry. Stay tuned for more. . .

Winter Landscape

A thick layer of smoke covered the paint surface of this Snowscape with Creek. Initial testing revealed the extent of the damage, and how transformational the removal would be. Careful cleaning removed these contaminates from the front, and micro vacuuming cleaned the reverse. Conservation varnish finished the restoration.

The artist is Claire Polmateer. She worked in the Traverse City area in the 1930’s, and is documented as serving as an art judge by the Traverse City Record-Eagle newspaper.