Lambrite Iles Petersen House Secco Fresco 4-story Entryway

Down in Davenport, Iowa, the Lambrite Iles Petersen House built in 1856 resides in the Hamburg Historic District. Its designer, architect J.C. Cochrane, is also known for the Renwick Mansion and Davies Mansion In Davenport, and the Scott County Courthouse, and the Iowa statehouse in Des Moines, and the Illinois statehouse in Springfield.

The Lambrite Iles Petersen House stands as the first residence built in the city to use the Italian villa style, and is named after three of its previous owners: Jospeh Lambrite, Dr. Homas Iles, and John H.C. Peterson. The current owners have sought out our expertise in secco fresco restoration to return its 4-story entryway, that culminates in an impressive belvedere overlooking the Mississippi River, back to its original splendor. A preliminary trip was made to the sight and, as is documented in the photographs below, the projects looks like it will be equal parts spectacular and challenging. We will be sure to post updates as we go.

 

Joseph Lambrite was a partner in Davenport’s largest sawmill, a major industry in the city’s early history.The mill was located on the Mississippi River between Scott and Ripley Streets.

Thomas Iles was a physician in Midway, Kentucky. He married Maria Louisa Nuckols and together they had eight children, seven boys, and a girl. In 1862 the family moved to Davenport. He served as the chief surgeon of the Civil War Confederate prison camp located at the Rock Island Arsenal. Iles became a prominent doctor in Davenport after the war, and he owned the house until his death.

John H.C. Petersen’s was born in Schleswig in present-day Germany and went to school until he was 16 when he was apprenticed to a dry-goods seller. Petersen married Johanna Elsbeth Hansen in 1844 and they had ten children together. The family immigrated to the United States in 1860 and settled in Scott county, Iowa  where he initially worked as a farm hand. In 1872 he established the business by which he would be known for the rest of his life. The J.H.C Pertersen’s Son’s Store was located at 219 Second Street. As the business grew he added the building at 220 Second Street and then later 217-217½ Second Street.The store became one of the foremost mercantile establishments in Davenport. In 1916 it was sold to Charles J. von Maur, R.H. Harned, and Cable von Maur, who owned their own store. Thereupon, the two stores merged into a new store named Petersen Harned Von Maur in 1928. In 1989 the store’s name was shortened to Von Maur.

Female Portrait by Alex Katz

This work on paper by Alex Katz (1927-) suffers from foxing and from folds in the paper. It measures 24″ x 40″ and is an excellent example of the Katz style. Stay tuned for more…

The son of Russian immigrants, Alex Katz was born July 24, 1927 in Brooklyn, New York and raised in Queens in a liberal, Bohemian setting. He is a figure painter of realistic portraits of friends and family, and his figures are usually relaxed close-ups from a frontal perspective and appear in a flattened manner. With his artwork, he strives to convey the feeling that it is good to be alive.  It has been said that his style highly influenced the popularity of New Realism in the 1970s. Along with his associates Al Held and Philip Pearlstein,  and others who were struggling against the ‘titanic presences of Pollock and de Kooning’ and other abstract expressionists.

Castle Over Mosel River by Frederick Trapp

This painting by Frederick Trapp suffered from an old and yellowed varnish with dirt particulates across the surface. The linen and paint film were dry, and the frame had lost some ornamentation and had become compromised at the joinery.

After careful cleaning and removal of the old varnish, the painting was relined onto new archival linen. This gave a substantial improvement to its structural integrity. New conservation varnish finished the restoration. The corners of the frame were re-joined and the small areas of ornamentation-loss were recreated. A lacquer application was used to match the color tones.

Encyclopedia Britannica: The Mosel river is a west-bank tributary of the Rhine River, flowing for 339 miles (545 km) across northeastern France and western Germany. Rising on the forested slopes of the Vosges massif, the river meanders past Épinal, Pont-Saint-Vincent, Toul, Frouard, Metz, and Thionville before leaving France to form the frontier between Germany and Luxembourg for a short distance. The river enters Germany and flows past Trier to its confluence with the Rhine at Koblenz. In this sector of the valley (German: Moseltal) are the vineyards from which the famous Moselle wines are produced. The Moselle River’s chief tributaries are the Madon, Orne, and Sauer (French: Sûre) on the west and the Meurthe, Seille, and Saar (French: Sarre) on the east. Above Metz the Moselle has been navigable to 300-ton barges since the 19th century. It connects at Toul and Frouard with the Rhine-Marne Canal. From Metz to Thionville the river has been navigable by 300-ton barges since 1932; below Thionville it was not navigable until the inauguration in 1964 of the Moselle Canal from Metz to Koblenz, built to take barges up to 1,500 tons. The canal is administered by a tripartite authority representing France, Germany, and Luxembourg. There are several iron and steel plants and power stations along the waterway.

Pastoral Landscape with Sheep and River by Edwin Cole

This pastoral landscape by Edwin Cole (1868-c.1935) suffered from a dry linen that had led to paint loss in one area, as well as dirt particulates across the surface. The original frame in a Louis XV  style, had suffered structural and ornamental losses.

New linen improved the foundational strength of the painting, and in-fill and in-painting concealed the area of loss. Deep and careful cleaning had a dramatic effect on the colors, enriching them back to their original shades. The frame was cleaned, backed-up, and re-fortified to return its structural stability. The degradation of the ornamentation was left as is, per the customer’s bidding.

Edwin Cole was born in Shrewsbury in 1868, the son of artists T.W. Cole and Mary Elizabeth Lewis. Be is best known for landscapes and Shropshire scenes. He began his career as an heraldic artist and painter of church windows, but then became Shrewsbury’s most successful painter. Several works of his are in the National Collection, including Untitled Landscape (Shrewsbury Museum), Lloyd’s Mansion (Shrewsbury Museum) and Abbey Church from West, 1886 (Shrewsbury Museum).

The Wake by Mike Morgan

This painting suffered from scratches on the surface as well hair that had become somewhat troublesomely attached to the paint film due to hair products. Careful cleaning removed these impediments and conservation varnish preserved the surface and was also used to conceal the scratches.

Mike Morgan was born in Whangarei, New Zealand in 1952. He is one of New Zealand’s most iconic artists whose vibrant oil paintings are instantly recognizable for their immense detail, technical precision and humorous or satirical bent. People appear everywhere in his paintings and are usually depicted doing something rather strange, almost as if they were characters in a circus, thus adding to a surreal dimension. Rene Magritte and Salvador Dali are strong influences as well as artists much closer to home, Michael Smither and Brent Wong, being particularly influential during the 1960s and 1970s. His accomplished works are highly collectible as well as being, just like the man himself, so much fun.

A playful and gregarious character with an incredibly likeable personality, Mike is a well known and much respected artist who lived on Waiheke Island for many years and whom now resides in Waihi. His paintings frequently comment on the community with references to local activities, people and events. He has a particularly serious fondness for hotrods which often manifests itself in his art. As such many people will recognise his beloved hotrod called ‘Lucy’, named after the famous Beatles song Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds, which appears in a significant number of paintings.

For many years Mike worked in the steel fixing industry but finally realised his dream of painting full time when he moved to Waiheke Island in 1991. He is a well established artist in New Zealand who has been consistently exhibiting for over twenty years and also exhibits regularly in New York where he is highly regarded. His paintings have an international audience including the famous band U2 who in 1989 bought five of his works, with one member of the band then commissioning another. His art is sought after by the corporate sector and is included in the collections of many corporate Head Offices in Wellington and Auckland.

 

Koepf Collection and Miller Fenwood Frames

We’re excited to showcase some of the Koepf paintings that been restored and housed in our custom frames. In case you’re not familiar with Werner Koepf (1909-1992), we are in the process of changing that: by working with the Koepf estate we are restoring and framing the collection and then jointly pursuing auction. The paintings included below not only exhibit the range of Koepf as an artist, but they also give us the opportunity to use our own framing prowess to marry the painterly qualities in a way that enhances both.

Naugatuck River Valley measures 36″ x 18″ and it received a Whistler 314 frame.

 

This triptych comprised of Still Life, Industry, The Catch, all received Modernist Dutch frames. Each painting is about 18″ x 30.”

 

Wellfleet (Cape Cod) received a Modernist white oak frame. The painting is 24″ x 30.”

 

Dry Docks #5 received a Marin Modernist frame. The painting is 40″ x 26.”

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.

Landscape Restored

This painting suffered from a dry canvas that eventually led to paint loss, and unfortunately it occurred in the lightest, most noticeable area of the painting, the patch of sky.

After careful cleaning and re-lining, to improve the foundational strength, in-fill and in-painting concealed the areas of loss. The stretcher bar was given a lift, allowing the canvas to sit free, and the original frame backed-up to accommodate the new dimensions.

While the signature was done a nice legible color, we were not able to decipher the spelling and could not, no matter the scope of our searches, identity the artist.

Prudence and Scarlet by Adolph Dehn

This painting suffered from an old, discolored varnish, and a covering of dirt particulates. The corners had lost integrity of the paint film.

Cleaning was a little trickier than normal. We had to modify our solution to be gentle with the paint film, but still pick up the varnish and dirt particulates. The type of paint used was a casein variant. Consolidation returned the integrity at the corners.

Adolf Dehn (1895-1968) was born in Waterville, Minnesota. He began creating artwork at the age of 6. His student and early professional life began with a dedicated pursuit of black and white topics as a natural and expressive watercolorist. By 1920, after formal training as an illustrator and lithographer, he began to create ink drawings and lithographs, the sales of which supported him though the depression.

In the early 1920’s, Dehn moved to Europe, and developed his imagery of cabaret, park scenes, burlesque, and European landscapes of the roaring 20’s. He returned to the Midwest during the depression and by 1936 he started to work in the watercolor medium. He discovered a fondness for its characteristics of finish, fluidity, and adaptability for effects that could be either deliberate or spontaneous.

It seems watercolors also agreed with Dehn’s open, effusive, and passionate character. During the 30’s and 40’s, his favorite subjects were Midwest and Northeast farmscapes. His eventual home of New York City also became a frequent subject matter as he captured the essence of the city’s burlesque, Central Park, Harlem nightclubs, industrial yards, and areas of high society.

He died in New York City in May 1968, and left behind a vast body of lithographs, watercolors, drawings and prints, which are in the permanent collections of nearly 100 museums across the United States and Europe.

Chaung Che Figure & Landscape No. 2

This diptych, Figure & Landscape No. 2, by Chuang Che (1934-) is the seventh work by the artist that has come through our studio in recent years. Oriental art is very popular right now, and Chuang Che has a fascinating global biography, including Michigan connections, as you might have guessed by the number of his works that have passed through our doors. Be sure to read about his globetrotting below, and also at the very bottom, the last photograph, which gives a wonderful summation of his artistic aim and journey. Figure & Landscape No. 2 was executed in 1970 and measures about 34 1/2″ x 95.”

Chuang Che was born in Beijing, China. His father was the Vice-Director of the National Palace Museum and a calligrapher. He was a great influence on Chuang and the unlimited access to the treasures of the Museum had a lasting impact on his work. The family moved to Taiwan in 1948 where Chuang enlisted in the Taiwan Normal University to study Fine Art. He was taught by the likes of Chu Teh-Chun and other modernist Chinese artists who encouraged the influence of the West. In 1958 he became a founding member of the Fifth Moon Group, whose aim was to fuse the traditional practices of the East with modern techniques of the Western avant-garde. Chuang became immersed in the modernist movement which was flourishing in Taiwan at the time.

In 1966, Chuang won the J.D. Rockefeller III scholarship to travel to the US. The following year, the Cleveland Art Museum and the Detroit Institute of Arts purchased some of his works. In 1968 he visited his teacher Chu Teh-Chun in Paris, where he also met Zao Wou-Ki, with whom Che found a strong artistic connection. He also travelled to Spain and met abstract artist Antoni Tapies.

Chuang moved to Ann Arbor, Michigan in 1972 and finally settled in New York in 1988, where he became an assistant to abstract expressionist sculptor Seymour Lipton.

Chuang Che was greatly inspired by Monet’s Nymphéas series. His own paintings are a combination of traditional Chinese landscapes and his influences from Western Abstract Expressionism. As a result, Chuang Che is labelled as a pioneering figure in Chinese Abstraction. His adaptation of Eastern technique to western materials enables him to fluidly combine these two influences.

Chuang Che’s work has been shown in museums worldwide such as at the Hong Kong Art Museum, National Museum of History, Taipei and Saginaw Art Museum, Michigan. In 1992 the Taipei Fine Arts Museum held his first major retrospective and most recently held another in 2016.

Chuang Che lives and works in New York.