Update: JACOBSEN B.W. MORSE MARITIME PAINTING

Since our last post this maritime painting by Morse (1850-1921) has received a few new steps. A complete cleaning has been carried out on the surface. This lightened the color and made some of the paint and fly specks easier to see. The major and several tears were sutured from the reverse and pressed flat with blotters. We used a more substantial reline process, due to the severity of the tears. Mesh fabric, with restorer’s adhesive applied to both sides, were situated between the sutured areas and the new linen. The heat press adhered the layers under pressure and helped to flatten the surface. Next we’ll conduct another round of cleaning, and then touch up the tears with in-fill and in-painting before a final coat of conservation varnish. Stay tuned for more…

Antonio Jacobsen was born in Copenhagen, Denmark, on November 2, 1850 to a family of violin makers. At an early age he enrolled at the Royal Academy of Design in Copenhagen, and studied until his family’s money ran out. At the age 18 it was compulsory for him to join the Danish military forces, but he escaped and sailed for America.

Praised for his freelance sketchwork the Marvin Safe Company commissioned him to decorate their safes. This work transitioned into commissions from sea captains and shipowners, and then into Steamship companies that wanted to record their fleet.

In 1880, he and his family moved to Hoboken, New Jersey. Jacobsen’s work was strongly desired during his lifetime and it’s estimated that he executed some 6,000 paintings. His works can be seen in most major collections of maritime art including the: Peabody Museum, Salem, MA.; The Mariners Museum, Newport News, VA.; Seaman’s Bank for Savings, etc. He died in 1921.

Taiwanese Eagle Sculpture

This eagle was carved from camphor wood, and it was made and purchased in Taiwan. We believe it to be from the 1950’s-1970’s. A previous restoration had reattached one of the wings, but this effort was starting to become loose.

Once the wing was detached, we removed the old glue and cleaned the area for our own repairs. Restorer’s adhesive rejoined the wing, and this was further strengthened with oak dowels and mahogany shins that were inserted and then carved to flush. The remaining gap in the attachment was filled with a restorer’s putty. Once it hardened we carved and sanded it down. Casein and acrylic paints were then used to match the finishing colors to the original, with shellac then used to seal the area.

We are going to be sad to see this sculpture head back home. It took every member of our team to accomplish this restoration, and we are quite happy with how it turned out.

Arthur Schneider Duck Paintings

These two duck paintings by Arthur Schneider (1866-1942) came in with heavy contaminations of smoke and dirt particulates. Ducks Landing has a shellac covering that has turned brown and started to run. Ducks and Snipes has a few fingerprints along the right edge that appear to have been done in paint, and two significant dents in the paint canvas. Once cleaned, we expect these paintings to look significantly better; early tests have lifted significant amounts of  contaminates. Unfortunately, though, none of the steps we will need to take involves a water bath.

Born in 1866, Arthur E. Schneider was an American painter and illustrator from Madison, WI. He was best known for his landscapes and his Orientalist genre scenes depicting village streets, children and Arabs. He trained in New York City and Europe.

Schneider was to become the court painter to the Sultan of Morocco, Mulai Abd-ul-Aziz (abdelaziz of Morocco) [1878-1943]. He travelled to the country in November of 1900 and stayed until March, 1902. He took several other trips to Morocco, including one in 1905, in which he painted the Sultan’s portrait. In 1908, he built a painting studio in the Sultan’s garden. Schneider would travel with the Sultan to various cities including Tangiers and Fez, documenting the trip in watercolor sketches published by Century Magazine in 1903. The paintings were highly detailed and had a near-photographic quality, and had ironic names like “The Sultan and Play,” where the Sultan was playing pool.

Between 1905 and 1913, Schneider lived and worked in New York City. He moved around and was known to have lived and worked in Cleveland, Chicago, Tampa, FL, and Boston, MA.

He exhibited at the Salmagundi Club, American Watercolor Society, Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, Boston Art Club, the National Academy of Design, and the Art Club. Schneider was a member of the American Watercolor Society in New York City, the Salmagundi Club, and The Art Club.  His work is in the permanent collection of Whistler House Museum of Art in Lowell, MA.

Schneider died February 7, 1942.

Surrey Watercolor

This watercolor had been on a mat that transferred acids to the paper and caused staining. Chemistry baths neutralized these stains, and after plenty of careful scraping we were able to remove the mat. There was some discoloration below the central trees that in-painting was able to restore. Acid-free, double mats then dressed up the painting and UV-filtering added protection. It was then re-fit inside the client’s frame.

We had hoped to discover the artist’s identity, but we were unable to do so. The only notation given by the artist was North Reigate, Surrey, which is a rather charming county south of London, but unfortunately none our cleaning efforts revealed a signature.

 

WWII Flight Control Panel

This flight control panel was used by the client’s father during WWII. Unfortunately the corner molding has suffered some losses, and there is a heavy accumulation of dirt particulates.

The front and reverse will be carefully cleaned. As you can see, the front has several types of materials, along with different textures, and this will require some problem-solving as to determining which cleaning agents to use, but we don’t expect that to be too challenging. The neat part is that we’re going to incorporate an audio device on the back, and with a touch of one of the buttons, we’ll have it play recordings that the client has of her father actually using this flight panel. Stay tuned for more …

G.A. Kadir Landscape of Buitenzorg, Java

This painting by G.A. Kadir (1900 – N/A) came in with a very dry and delicate canvas, and a heavy contamination across the surface. Careful cleaning removed the surface contaminates and then the tent method, using steam, will re-introduce moisture. Further application of consolidates will be administered to the linen directly. These measures will make the canvas more supple and allow it to hold the paint in a forgiving manner. A few small areas have paint loss, and they will be in-painted.

This painting was a gift in WWII to a soldier who had rescued the family’s son. It has tremendous value for our client, and we are very thankful that we can, in our own small way, lend our service to it.

Glackens pen and ink with American Whistler Frame

This pen and ink drawing by William James Glackens (1870 – 1938) suffered from acid stains, due to the mount it was on, and a covering of dirt particulates. Once removed from the mount, baths of select chemistry were able to lift the stains, returning a clearer complexion to the drawing. Blotters were used to dry the artwork, as well as square the dimensionality of the paper and lay it flat.

Its new frame is a custom American Whistler with white gold, over yellow, red and black clay, which we think looks rather stunning with the drawing, and should keep the Sherwood Sisters happy and dancing for quite some time.

William James Glackens graduated from Philadelphia’s Central High School with John Sloan, and in 1891 became an artist-reporter for the “Philadelphia Record.” From 1892 to 1895 he held the same position for the “Philadelphia Press”. He studied with Thomas Anshutz at the Pennsylvania Academy where he formed a strong friendship with John Sloan, George Luks, Everett Shinn and Robert Henri; later he shared a studio and traveled in Europe with Henri. He spent a year in Paris where he painted many scenes of life in the parks and cafes.

Glackens settled in New York, worked as an illustrator, and in 1898, went to Cuba as an artist-reporter for “McClure’s” magazine of the Spanish-American War. He became part of “The Eight,” a landmark exhibition of urban realists, led by Henri, at the Macbeth Galleries.

The early work of Glackens followed Henri’s lead and maintained “strong ties to Edouard Manet’s darkened palette and brushy style of realism.” After 1910, Glacken began to brighten in response to his strong admiration of the work of French artist, Pierre August Renoir.

In 1912, he went on an extensive art-buying trip in Europe for Albert Barnes, a friend from high school who had amassed a fortune from an antiseptic gargle solution. Barnes built a huge home and museum in Merion, a suburb of Philadelphia, and established the Barnes Museum. The many works of Renoir, Degas, Van Gogh and Cezanne that Glackens purchased for Barnes became the center of the Museum collection. This project also firmed Glackens’ interest in the Impressionists, especially Renoir.

He died suddenly in 1938 while visiting Charles Prendergast in Westport, Connecticut.

 

Some Recent Frames We’ve Made

Here are some frames we’ve recently had the pleasure of making. Photographs show the process in reverse, and the captions have some insights into the process, but we thought the pictures should do most of the talking.

American Impressionist 22k frame for an oil and canvas by TC Steele (1847 – 1926).

 

American Impressionist 22k frame with Greek Key motif for oil on canvas by our good friend, Nigel Van Wieck (1947-).

 

Florentine High Front with white gold for watercolor by Vincenzo Loria (1850-1939).

 

Francois Beaucourt Dame a la Chandelle

This painting suffers from dirt particulates that have accumulated on the surface and in the layers of the older varnish. The paint film is dry, which is not surprising for a painting this old (1778). Dryness has led to craquelures and cupping. The canvas appears to be brittle, thin and dry.  There are numerous instances of old restoration and a coating of  asphaltum on the reverse.

This painting is the work of Francois Beaucourt (1740-1794; also known as Francois Malepart De Beaucort) who is known as the first Canadian artist to receive European training. His father was also a painter, and was likely the first teacher of Francois, though records at the time are hard to come by. What is known is that the father, Mallepart De Grand Maison, was a soldier who was believed to have gone to New France with the colonial regular troops. At this time, New France extended from Northwest Canada down to New Orleans, spanning into the present day Midwest, and skipping the Atlantic seaboard, which was controlled by England. Mallepart married in 1737, the wedding certificate described him as a “sergeant in the troops of the company of M. de Beaujeu [Louis Liénard].” It’s believed that by 1740 he had given up the military career to become a painter: the Montreal baptismal papers for his four children describe him as a painter. The first born was Francois, and subsequently the only living child of the marriage. Mallepart died 17 years after Francois was born, and his wife remarried to Corporal Lasselin, who may or may not have relocated the family to France. However, it was in Bordeaux, in 1773, where Francois married Benoîte, the daughter of Joseph-Gaëtan Camagne, a theatre artist and decorator.

Eleven years later, Francois departed for America; unfortunately, all the artwork he created in Bordeaux has been deemed lost. The next known trace of the artist was in 1792 when he surfaced in Philadelphia and published an advertisement in the General Advertiser. The same advertisement would appear in the Montreal Gazette, but in this case he changed the description of himself from a French painter to a Canadian one. Francois would go on to create a substantial amount of religious paintings and portraits, and it’s the latter where his talent seems to have found its strongest definition: his warm colors imbuing the subjects with a life-like quality.

He died in Montreal in 1794.

Self-portrait of Francois Beaucourt.

Auguste Musin Golden Rays on Coast at Days End

The oil painting by Auguste Musin (1852-1920), Golden Rays on Coast at Days End, came in with a very poor shape and a dry linen. These two issues combined to create craquelures and cupping. The varnish had yellowed, and there were serval contaminates on the surface, most noticeably those from smoke. On the reverse, there were two small strips of tape that covered three holes: the largest about an inch in size, the smaller two about a quarter of an inch. There was also some poor in-painting that had been executed at some point to try and hide the craquelures. On some of the sails, there was actual paint loss.

Once the painting was de-fit, careful micro-vacuuming was carried out on the front and the reverse. New Belgian linen was archivally adhered to the reverse, which strengthened the foundation. A heat press was used to lay down the paint film, addressing some of the cupping and craquelures, with further hydration administered with spot treatments to return pliancy to the paint film and help consolidate.

The old in-painting turned out to be more extensive than originally thought. All of it was removed. New linen threads were fixed to the reverse to fix the three holes. With the cupping and craquelures consolidated, areas of loss appeared, which is typical. We in-filled and then in-painted to conceal these areas. With the old varnish removed, new conservation varnish was applied.

The original frame had been glazed to hide imperfections. This glaze was removed, and the frame cleaned and conditioned. Broken ornamentation of the frame was repaired, and a back-up given for strength and depth. The stretcher bar was given a lift to help the canvas sit in the frame without undo stress.

Auguste Henri Musin was born on April 4, 1852 in Oostende, Belgium. He was a marine artist, and is known today as one of the top European marine artist of the 19th and early 20th century. His father, Francois Etienne Musin, also a highly noted marine artist, was a teacher for Auguste, but there are more modern approaches that can be seen in the work of the younger Musin.

In 1872, Musin started to participate quite successfully in important European and American venues. In 1889, at The Paris Salon, he was awarded an honorable mention, and a gold medal in Rouen, France as well as medals in London, Lille, Lorient, Periquex, Limoges, Marseille, Dunkerque, Reims and many more. He settled in Brussels and, like his father, became considered one of Belgium’s top marine artists. When he married, in 1872, he settled in England, near London. During the 1880s he worked for the magazines: The Graphic, The London Times, and the L’Univers Illustre.

His marines were painted in Oostende, Belgium and in Holland, Scheveningen, Noordwijk, Terneuzen, Rottendam and Dordrecht. He also painted in Brittany, France and Alicante, Spain. A large number of paintings were sold to the American market through dealers that exported his paintings.

Musin died in St. Joost-ten-Noode on December 10, 1920.

Today, his paintings can be found in private and public collections, worldwide, including in Belgium museums in Bruges, Brussels, Oostende, and Liege. They can also be found in museums in Madrid, Spain, and Reims, France.