This oil on canvas by Joseph Warner (1876 – 1908) was very dry and ready to break from the linen. Tar and nicotine stains covered the entire front surface, and there was some mold on the painting. Deep cleaning removed the tar and nicotine stains, having a dramatic effect, and re-lining gave the painting a stronger foundation, helping support the canvas and give a good foundation to repair a few small holes on the surface. More support was added through hydration, which we were able to apply directly. This was followed with in-painting to conceal the holes and the areas of loss. The original frame was cleaned and backed-up to allow the painting to sit in a way that placed less stress on it.
Joseph Warner was an American bird’s-eye view artist and publisher active in the late 19th century. Warner appears to have worked with the prolific view artist Albert Ruger. Little is known of Warner’s life and only three known views bear his imprint: Portland, Maine; Fenton, Michigan (1880); and Zeeland, Michigan (1907). Two of these were published by Joseph Stoner. He is further known to have worked as an agent for Ruger in the publication of Ruger’s 1879 view of East Saginaw. There is little else known of his life or work. The August 22, 1879 issue of the Daily Courierof Saginaw, Michigan had a mention of the artist, “Mr. Joseph Warner is in the city canvassing for subscribers for a bird’s eye view of East Saginaw.”