Madonna Copper Plate

This lovely Madonna oil on copper plate is an intimate object, measuring 9″ by 12 7/16.” There is an old and yellowing layer of varnish on top, and some of the paint film is no longer stable. There is also a fair amount of writing on the back of the plate, but unfortunately it has proven very difficult to read.

With careful cleaning we were able to brighten the color tones back to the original intensity, and this change really gives the painting the “Light” that is at the heart of the subject matter. Based on the sticker for Christie’s auction, we have tracked down where the auction took place, but as is the case with an older auction, the records are not as complete, and this particular lot is not listed. We had hoped this would lead us to the artist’s identity and potentially the age of the painting.

A new custom frame will be prepared and designed to accentuate the subject matter. Stay tuned for more…

ALBRECHT DURER WOODCUT OF SAMSON RENDING THE LION FINISHED

Part 1

After water baths and a treatment in the heat press, this woodcut by Albrecht Durer (1471-1528) was dried with blotters, a lengthy process that took several months. This allowed the paper to carefully stretch back to its original size, a critical step for repairing the middle section where the tear had occurred and left incongruous edges. But, once the paper was back to size, these edges had good alignment, and this helped create a seamless rejoining.

Where paper losses had occurred, new paper was added with similar qualities. In-painting concealed the areas of loss.

A new Austrian/German frame in dark mahogany was prepared, and the print covered with museum glass, a premium type of glass that is exception with delicate images as well as causing minimal to no glare.

To authenticate the print, we compared known Durer woodcuts at the Snite Museum of Art at Notre Dame as well as the Grand Rapids Art Museum. We found the watermarks to corroborate with ours, and thus, verified it as an authentic Durer woodcut that was made during his lifetime.

Albrecht Durer was born in Nuremberg, Germany on May 21, 1471, the second of eighteen children in the family of a master goldsmith. Fifteen of the children died at an early age and Durer’s mother was often sick, especially in the last years of her life. Although his father was not pleased with his artistic ambitions, at the age of fifteen, Durer was apprenticed to a painter.

Durer is arguable the greatest artist in German history. By adopting the new forms of the Italian quattrocento and connecting them to the already robust tradition of the German print, he almost single-handedly provoked the Northern Renaissance. He had an insatiably inquisitive mind and this led him to be an avid travel, which he started in 1490 before he was nineteen. Up to this time he had spent a four year apprenticeship with master painter and engraver, Michael Wolgemut. He then went to Colmar, France to work under Martin Schongauer, but it took him two years to reach Colmar, and by then Schongauer was dead. His wanderings across Europe included two trips to Venice that were capped  by a year-long sojourn in The Netherlands, where he was a celebrity among celebrities.

In moving from Nuremberg to Venice, Durer reversed a whole direction of cultural priorities. The center to which German artists had previously looked were Bruges and Ghent in Flanders, along with the northern Gothic style shaped there by artists like the Van Eycks and Hugo van der Goes. What fascinated Durer was Italian humanism and all that flowed from the discovery of classical antiquity.

Durer married Agnes Frey in 1494, and in the same year made his first visit to Venice. He would return there in 1505 and stay for two years. Meanwhile he built a great house which still stands on the castle hill in Nuremberg. Durer was a rather indifferent and rude husbands. On his own he took his wife’s dowry and setup a graphics workshop, the products of which his wife was tasked with sitting at the markets and fairs and trying to sell them. He seldom traveled with her and many years later, when he did take her on a trip to the Netherlands, he allowed her to accompany him to only one of the many banquets given in his honor. When they did stay at home, she was left upstairs to eat with the maid.

The success of Durer’s work led the way for other German artists, Matthias Grunewald, Albrecht Altdorfer, Hans Holbein the Younger and Martin Luther’s great friend, Lucas Cranach, all of whose work made Germany for half a century the leader of the Northern Renaissance.

István Boldiszár Landscape

This landscape by Istvan Boldiszár (1897-1984) suffered from a mold invasion and dirt contaminates across the surface. Careful cleaning ridded the surface, and select chemistries were used to target and neutralize the mold. A new, custom frame will be prepared in Engelsen style. Stay tuned for more…

Istvan Boldiszár was a Hungarian painter and draughtsman, famous for his impressionistic plein-air motifs of Lake Balaton or the Hungarian lowlands. Boldiszár began his artistic training at the artist’s colony at Nagybánya and was taught by János Thoma, whose assistant he became later on. In 1918 he attended the Academy of Fine Arts in Budapest.

In the years 1919-1924 he lived at various artist’s colonies and had a short stay in Munich. In 1924 he settled in Budapest. From 1941-49 he taught drawing at the local Academy of Fine Arts. As representative of the third generation of artists of Nagybánya, he is regarded as preserver of the heritage of the colony’s heritage.

Boldiszár has been awarded with several prizes, such as in 1929 the bronze medal of the World Exhibition in Barcelona and in 1931 with the landscape award. His works are exhibited at the Alte Pinakothek in Munich, at the Austrian Gallery in Vienna and at the Magyar Nemzeti Muzeum in Budapest.

The Inn at St. John’s: Part 1

The Inn at St. John’s is a luxury boutique hotel and golf resort in the Metro Detroit area. The centerpiece is a wonderful and breathtaking display of old-world craftsmanship, the St. John Chapel. A pair of corridors lead to the entrance, and both are ordained with coffered ceilings that are in need of a bit of repair.

With The Inn at St John’s temporarily closing its doors for the pandemic, the situation subsequently provided the ideal, isolated work-environment for the restoration of these ceilings, a project we were very happy and excited to win.

Work began with thorough cleaning and then transitioned into a condition assessment.

Besides areas of loss, deterioration, and crawling paint with craqueleurs, conditions you would expect to find, we also discovered that the two corridors differed in terms of the finish technique and the color schemes.

The Inn was originally a Provincial Seminary, conceived in 1936, but due to WWII, not constructed until about a decade later. Cardinal Mooney was the forerunner of the stylistic choices, of the Romanesque archways, wide-open spaces, and the grand bell tower. In 1949, classes began, and the seminarians even built their own golf course, and they could play the course as long as they had worked at least 60 hours per yer in maintaining it.

Stay tuned for more…

Judson Tunison Portrait of a Bride circa 1900

This painting had craquelures and a major tear. Surface contaminates were severe and mainly from a wood or charcoal furnace. The tear was sutured from the reverse and in-filled on the front and then in-painted. New conservation linen was added to improve the foundational strength. Careful cleaning and consolidation to the surface was carried out. Conservation varnish supplied the finishing touch, along with an archival re-fit into the client’s period frame.

Judson Samuel Tunison (1868-1937) was active/lived in Illinois and Michigan, and was known for portrait painting, photography, teacher, and art restoration.

The frame is from the Newcomb-Macklin Company: a Chicago frame maker, nationally renown for hand-carved and gilded picture frames. They were in operation from 1883 to 1979.

Beatrice Emma Parsons Watercolor Print Garden Landscape

This watercolor print of a classic perennial English garden by Beatrice Emma Parsons (1870-1955) suffered from acid stains, water damage, and loss near the signature. Chemistries were combined to treat the acid stains and the dirt particulates that were over the surface. In-painting concealed the water damage and repaired the lost areas. For the frame, new UV-filtering glass, fillets, and a back-up were given to allow the print to sit free of the glass.

Beatrice Parsons was an exceptional English garden painter. She studied at the Royal Academy Schools and exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1889-99, but didn’t begin to paint floral/garden scenes until about 1900. Thereafter, her main body of work was in the painting of garden scenes, primarily English but also abroad. She exhibited extensively in Dowdeswell and the Greatorex Galleries, illustrated several garden books, including the Gardens of England (1908) and The Charm of Gardens (1910) and some of her works feature in the Royal Collection.

Theodore Tihansky oil painting of School House on Monhegan Island

This painting by Theodore Tihansky, of the school house on Monhegan Island, came in with a fungal invasion on the reverse, and dirt particulates across the paint film.

A trio of cleaning agents were used to address the fungal invasions. Further protection was given by the Dutch Method that straightened the canvas and, on the reverse, added a layer of gesso. Careful cleaning was conducted on the front.

The Monhegan Island School is a treasured landmark and is still in use today. According to their website their “integrated classroom offers students pre-kindergarten through eighth grade an amazing opportunity to learn in a supportive multi-age setting and is enhanced by a tight-knit community of educators, artists, artisans, writers, poets, photographers, lobstermen, woodworkers, gardeners, business owners and more!

“Our remote location and beautiful seascape allows us to take a holistic approach to our teaching. Our classroom learning extends beyond our one room ~ our students enjoy 12 miles of hiking trails, a skating pond, lush forests, rocky shorelines, beaches, a shipwreck, historic homes, tidal pools, community gardens, lobstering, a museum, a library and more ~ all explored on foot!

Monhegan provides a rich, hands on learning environment for the arts and sciences and plenty of active, outdoor time to supplement our classroom studies.”

Theodore Tihansky (21st Century) received his formal art training at the Art Students League in New York City, Paier College of Art, and Lyme Academy of Fine Art in Connecticut. In 1991, he was awarded the John Stobart Landscape Fellowship with the concurrent opportunity to show at the Lyme Academy Fine Art Gallery.
Four years later in November, he opened the Theodore Tihansky Fine Art and Performance Gallery on Franklin Street in Newport, Rhode Island. At that time, he received wide recognition for his “Collaboration of the Arts” production.  Returning to Maine, Tihansky spent his first winter as a stern man on a lobster boat. In his free time, he was painting the harsh and splendid scenes of the island.

In his words, “The paintings are the end products; what is important to me is the moment, the experience that I have because of my painting. The people I meet and the things I do are the reason.”

 

Louis Icart Etching Mimi Pinson

This Mimi Pinson print by Louis Icart (1888-1950) was on an acidic mount that had been attached heavily with glue on the reverse. Acid stains had worked their way to the front. We carefully removed the mount and used chemistry baths to target the stains. Blotters and weights then dried and flattened the work on paper. Mat and frame options are being discussed with the client. Stay tuned for more…

Louis Icart (French, 1888–1950) is considered to be a symbol of the Art Deco movement through his brilliant sketches and prints. He was born in Toulouse, France, as the first child of Jean and Elisabeth Icart. His interest in art began at an early age; he was particularly drawn to fashion sketches and designs. This was a time when the fashion industry was undergoing a revolution from the conservative 19th-century designs to the clingy simplicity of the early 20th century. Icart worked in major fashion studios where his L.I. initials on women’s clothing were highly regarded. He continued to sketch on every available surface while fighting in the First World War to ward off the anguish and agony of the war. He moved to Paris after the war to concentrate on painting and produced beautiful etchings. Icart’s prints were aquatints and drypoints elaborately done with great skill. They portrayed women in sensual, erotic poses with an implication of direct sexuality.

By the 1920s, the Art Deco movement had gained great popularity in Paris, France. Icart’s etchings and paintings, though largely influenced by Impressionists such as Claude Monet, were synonymous with the Art Deco era. His drawings also reflect the brilliance of Symbolists such as Gustave Moreau. However, Icart preferred not to be identified with artistic movements. Icart’s success financially and artistically came in the late 1920s.

His work was featured in fashion publications and design studios in Europe and the United States. His immensely popular images, which were considered phenomenal by 1925, included Laziness and Spilled Milk. His work has been exhibited in shows such as Paresse at RoGallery in Long Island, NY, and the Le Cachet in Binningen, Switzerland. His paintings are also featured at the Modern and Contemporary gallery in Fort Myers, FL. Hand-signed colored engravings by Icart can also be found at the Fine Arts Gallery Alte Kunste in Vienna, Austria, and at Zygman Voss Gallery in Chicago, IL. Icart died on December 20, 1950, at his home in Montmartre, France.

Source: Artnet

Lemon and Chalice Still Life by Unknown Artist

This painting came in with flood damage that had warped the canvas and caused extensive dryness. The dryness then lead to craquelures, cupping, and areas of loss. Furthermore, on top of the paint film, the flood also left behind a residue that was obscuring the natural colors.

After the painting was de-fit, new linen was lined on the reverse to provide a strong foundation, which is important when the paint film is dry. Hydration was applied to the cupped areas and then weights were used to flatten them back into plane. The craquelures were in-filled and in-painted, and then careful cleaning removed the residue and brought out the original colors.

Although the signature became more apparent after cleaning, and although we had hoped to figure it out, we were ultimately unable to identity the artist.

A new custom frame in the style of Roma Vintage was prepared with silver leaf.

Marriage Certificate from 1884 Renewed

This marriage certificate from 1884 came in with a mold invasion and problematical masking tape along the edges. The tape was carefully removed and a series of chemistry baths neutralized the mold. Some areas of the paper were compromised and failing. These areas were removed and replaced with new paper. Further areas had paper loss, and new paper was incorporated to these. The ink had faded and it was touched up to darken the lines.