Local Coverage: LAMBRITE ILES PETERSEN HOUSE SECCO FRESCO 4-STORY ENTRYWAY

The local newspaper has a wonderful article on our progress so far at this historical treasure of Davenport, Iowa. You’ll be sure to want to check it out.

Quad-City Times Article

Our progress is ramping up. With the fine detail restoration of all the portraits on the wall we now have some new faces watching us work. We also ran PH tests to learn more about the paint. The tricky stairwell has been attacked above and below, and presents a big canvas for us to try more of our marble painting which has turned out rather well on the leading walls. We are very proud and excited by the results so far, but we also humbly know that we have to turn the corner a few times with a project of this size. Enjoy the photographs and video.

Stay tuned for more…

Part 1

Part 2

 

Eagle Sculpture With Links to HMHS Britannic

This eagle sculpture has quite the lore. Originally, it’s believed that it was going to be installed in a first class smoking room of the HMHS Britannic, a sister ship of the Olympic and the Titanic. However, the HMHS Britannic was refitted as a hospital ship for WWI and the sculpture ended up in a pub known was as the”Britannic Room.” Unfortunately, the HMHS Britannic was sunk in 1916 after reportedly hitting a mine. We don’t know for certain if the sculpture was ever installed on the HMHS Britannic: the ship was laid down in 1911 and launched in 1914 and completed in 1915.

The legend continues that in 2015 or so, the “Britannic Room,” was demolished; it was part of a hotel. And a worker with a keen eye pulled the sculpture from a dumpster. We have one photograph displaying the eagle intact–it is an old, low-resolution photograph without the eagle as the focal point, but our research is ongoing and we hope to find more clues.

We are in the process of putting together this “jigsaw puzzle,” and with further research we hope to find some evidence as for the exact composition whereby we’ll recreate the missing pieces, re-attach all parts, and then apply finishing colors to marry all of the sections together.

Only last year, the site of the sunk Britannic was opened up for divers. Daily Mail Article.

Stay tuned for more…

 

 

Landscape Valley Forge House

This oil on canvas depicting a landscape scene with a house reminiscent of the famed Isaac Potts House, otherwise known as Washington’s Headquarters at Valley Forge, is unfortunately in a condition that looks like it suffered a few winters at Valley Forge. Above the house is a large tear that was easy to note on the first inspection. However, once we de-fit the painting and turned it over, we realized there were many more tears. The canvas is extremely dry and fragile, and the edges are in a poor and compromised state.

We’ve removed the old restoration efforts in favor of something more substantial. A re-line will greatly improve the structural foundation of the painting, and give it the interior and perimeter strength it greatly needs. The previous tear repairs were removed since they involved a thick material, and, after re-lining, this thickness would cause the material to show through to the front, like an imprint. Rather than have that, we carefully removed them, and then re-lined the canvas with an archival linen.

Finishing touches to the front of the canvas need to be carried out. We’ll address the major tear and conceal it with in-painting. Stay tuned for more…

Jean-Francois Millet Drawing in Custom Dutch Frame.

This drawing by Jean-François Millet (1814-1875) came in with foxing on the paper, which caused brownish discoloration. There were also dirt particulates across the surface.

Select chemistry baths lifted the foxing and helped return the original color to the paper as well as halt the future spread. A custom Dutch Frame with white gold was prepared, and a rice-paper hinge was used to secure the drawing to a heavy 8-ply mat. Museum glass, besides filtering UV-light, is also know for how well it handles the glare of lights, as seen in the last photograph, provided the quintessential touch of a restoration: unnoticed. We are very pleased with how the frame compliments the drawing and pulls the viewer’s eye inward, to accentuate the dynamic line strokes of Millet.

Jean-François Millet, (born October 4, 1814, Gruchy, near Gréville, France—died January 20, 1875, Barbizon), French painter renowned for his peasant subjects.

Millet spent his youth working on the land, but by the age of 19 he was studying art in Cherbourg, France. In 1837 he arrived in Paris and eventually enrolled in the studio of Paul Delaroche, where he seems to have remained until 1839.

After the rejection of one of his entries for the Salon of 1840, Millet returned to Cherbourg, where he remained during most of 1841, painting portraits. He achieved his first success in 1844 with The Milkmaid and a large pastel, The Riding Lesson, that has a sensual character typical of a large part of his production during the 1840s.

The peasant subjects, which from the early 1850s were to be Millet’s principal concern, made their first important appearance at the Salon of 1848 with The Winnower, later destroyed by fire. In 1849, after a period of great hardship, Millet left Paris to settle in Barbizon, a small hamlet in the forest of Fontainebleau.

He continued to exhibit paintings of peasants, and, as a result, periodically faced the charge of being a socialist. Letters of the period defending Millet’s position underline the fundamentally classical nature of his approach to painting.

By the mid-1860s, Millet’s work was beginning to be in demand. Official recognition came in 1868, after nine major paintings had been shown at the exposition of 1867. Important collections of Millet’s pictures are to be found in the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, and in the Louvre.

Jean-François Millet

Guy Wiggins Landscape: Sunset Lyme Conn

This oil on canvas by Guy Carleton Wiggins (1883-1962) has a very dry canvas which has led to several severe craquelures across the surface, as well as thinning of the canvas along the edges, resulting in a few small holes and a  strip of threadbare canvas. Dirt particulates cover the surface, and once those are removed we expect the original paint colors to emerge.

In addition to the cleaning, this painting will be re-lined to give it foundational support. With the method we use, this process will also address the craquelures, laying them flat with the paint surface. In addition, in-filling and in-painting will conceal these areas. We currently have removed it from its stretcher bar and have cleaned the back where a fair amount of dust and debris was waiting for us. Stay tuned for more…

Guy Wiggins, the noted American Impressionist and one of the foremost artists affiliated with the art colony at Old Lyme, Connecticut, was born in Brooklyn, New York, in 1883. He was the son of Carleton Wiggins, a prominent painter associated with the American Barbizon School. He spent the early years of his life in England where he received a grammar school education and traveled throughout Europe.

Following in his father’s footsteps, Wiggins became interested in painting and drawing during his boyhood. His creative and technical abilities were acknowledged at the age of eight, when various New York critics publicly praised a group of watercolors he had done in France and Holland. He received his first serious training in architectural draughtsmanship when he studied architecture at the Brooklyn Polytechnic Institute around 1900. However his artistic inclination proved stronger and he went on to enroll at the National Academy of Design in New York where his teachers included William Merritt Chase and Robert Henri. Recognition and critical acclaim soon followed. When he was age twenty, one of Wiggins’ works had been purchased for the Permanent Collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art. He received numerous awards and prizes on a regular basis, including the prestigious Norman Wait Harris Bronze Medal from the Art Institute of Chicago in 1917. Two years later he was elected a full Academician of the National Academy.

During these years, Wiggins spent most of his time in New York, where he specialized in urban snow scenes, often painted from the windows of Manhattan office buildings. He also produced many landscapes in New England. By 1920, however, he had moved to an old farm in Hamburg Cove, Connecticut, a picturesque area in Lyme Township. His father, a resident of Old Lyme since 1915, had introduced his son to the area during the early years of Wiggins’ childhood, when the family made frequent trips to the colony. Wiggins had also spent various summers in Old Lyme while living in New York, establishing an early connection with the Connecticut Academy of Fine Arts. During the 1920’s and 1930’s Wiggins divided his time between Hamburg Cove and New York. His reputation at that point was based primarily on his winter scenes. However, his Connecticut summer landscapes, fresh and spontaneous in conception, are now considered an important and equally innovative part of his oeuvre.

In 1937, Wiggins moved to Essex, Connecticut, where he founded the Guy Wiggins Art School as well as the Essex Painters Society. He also made frequent painting trips throughout the United States, going as far west as Montana. He remained devoted to the Impressionist aesthetic throughout his long and prolific career, despite the fact that American art had moved in other directions.

Wiggins died while vacationing in St. Augustine, Florida, in 1962. He is buried in Old Lyme. In addition to his membership at the National Academy, he also belonged to and exhibited at the Lyme Art Association, the Lotos Club, the National Arts Club and the Salmagundi Club. Examples of his work can be found in major public and private collections throughout the United Stated including the Chicago Art Institute, the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C. and the Brooklyn Museum.

 

Guy C. Wiggins, c. 1910

Christ Wooden Sculpture

This wooden sculpture of Jesus came in with several fingers that had detached, including a couple that were lost. Before it came to us a rudimentary attempt had been made to fix them. This effort was reversed. We then married the wooden pieces, to create a nice fit. A restorer’s compound reattached the fingers and allowed us, with some shaping, to replace the missing ones. They will continued to be shaped and then colored to match the original wood. There is a crack at the base, but this in character of the wood and will not be touched. Stay tuned for more…

Moving Along: LAMBRITE ILES PETERSEN HOUSE SECCO FRESCO 4-STORY ENTRYWAY

Restoration efforts are in full swing. We’ve made a lot of progress and our very satisfied with the results; however, there remains to be a fair amount of work to do. To give a sense of the scale of the project, both the height of the ceilings and the complexity of the stairs, there is a video at the bottom. Within it, you’ll also see how much progress we’ve made, which is coming along very nicely on the first floor and includes the cleaning, consolidation, and repair of the decorative chandelier. Stay tuned for more…

Nautical Harbor Scene

This painting suffered from a considerable amount of dirt particulates across the surface. The canvas is also quite fragile and thin, particularly around the edges, and also has a few holes. Cleaning is at the halfway point, and what a transformation we’re seeing. Hopefully, you’ll enjoy the pictures as much as we do and ultimately our client will. After the cleaning is complete, re-lining will improve the foundational strength to help maintain the integrity of the paint film. Cleaning might also help us decipher the signature. Stay tuned for more…

Koepf Watercolors

This collection of Werner Koepf watercolors includes 16 works. They are in good condition and for the most part only need de-acidification and surface cleaning; a few do have scuff marks that need to be addressed. They are on the smaller size, about 5″ x 7 3/4.” Each watercolor will be matted and framed. We love the playful nature represented in these works combined with their clean, rich color tones, charmingly held by Koepf’s abstract composition choices. Compared to his oil paintings, these works represent a more playful, whimsical take, and they give a deeper look at the imagination of Koepf as several represent variations on the same subject matter. The executions of these works reminds us of Hans Hofmann and Paul Klee. Stay tuned for more…

Werner Koepf was born in Neckarsulum, Baden-Württemberg, Germany and emigrated with his parents and brother to the United States in 1929. During the Great Depression he worked as a house painter. In 1937 his work was prominently mentioned in the New York Times’ review of The Society of Independent Artists 19th Annual Exhibition. With his talent he gained many connections in the art world: Morris Kantor, a trustee of Contemporary Arts arranged three scholarships for Koepf at the Art Students League from 1937-1939, and Daniel Catton Rich, the Director of Fine Arts at the Art Institute of Chicago paved the way for his inclusion in the Institute’s 52nd Annual Exhibition of American Paintings and Sculpture in 1941.

Koepf served in the US Army during World War II. Starting as a translator, between 1942-1945, he was then transferred to the European Theater where he served with the 496th Heavy Automotive Ordnance Company. In November 1945, he returned to the United States and settled in Derby, Connecticut.

In 1952 he was accepted into Yale University where he was awarded the prize for outstanding achievement in the School of Fine Arts for 1952-1953 by Josef Albers. Maintaining his European contacts, Koepf showed numerous paintings, including one man shows in Paris, Stockholm, and Bremen.

Werner Koepf died at his home in March of 1992.