This pair of Chinese screens were salvaged from their modern installations. They will go into Mahogany frames, but first the deteriorating areas were mended with adhesives and clamps. There were a few areas with paint loss, and these received a touch of in-painting.
Porte St Denis by Édouard Cortès (1882 – 1969) suffered from scuffs and surface contaminates. The scuffs had resulted in paint loss and were visible when the back of the canvas was held up to light. They appeared as little pin pricks.
The painting has been de-fit and cleaned. Consolidation and in-fill will handle the areas where there were scuffs. In-painting will conceal these areas. A final application of conservation varnish will preserve the artwork for years to come.
Stay tuned for more…
Edouard Cortes was born into a family of artists and artisans in Paris, 1882. His grandfather, Andre Cortes, was famous for his work on the stained glass windows of the Cathedral of Seville and his father, Antonio Cortes, was a painter at the royal court of Spain. In this artistically conducive atmosphere, Edouard showed exceptional talent early and decided at a young age that he was destined to be a painter. He once stated, “I was born from and for painting.”
In his youth, Cortes trained at his father’s studio and was also given advice and encouragement from his brother (also a painter) and other local artists. Surprisingly, before undergoing his formal education at the National French Art School in Paris, a sixteen-year old Cortes first exhibited his work at the national exhibition of the Societe des Artistes Francais in Paris, 1899. His large painting, Le Labour, was a great success and the French press lauded the young phenomenon of the French art scene.
Edouard eventually became a member of the French Artists’ Society, exhibiting his works every year as his reputation began to grow. In 1901 Cortes began his long tradition of painting different vignettes of Paris. He also painted familial interiors, landscapes, and seascapes but achieved his greatest fame through these masterly and expressive Parisian scenes. In 1915, he was awarded the Silver Medal at the Salon des Artistes Francais and the Gold Medal at the Salon des Independents. He also received numerous awards at the Salon d’Hiver during his artistic career.
Cortès’ beautiful depictions of Paris were always in demand and he continued to paint them until his death in 1969.
We wanted to highlight the range of frame options we are able to provide.
Here’s a recent Otto Palding (1887-1964) winterscape that we made a custom frame for. It’s a Modernist American Step with primitive qualities that make is similar to a Hicks Frame and that we think make it aesthetically match with the subject matter. We used black and yellow clays, and finished it with white gold. The painting measures 34″ x 20.”
This antique frame had extensive degradation to the ornamentation caused by dehydration and buckling. Molds were made from composition and then casts were used to reintroduce the lost ornamentation. New gesso, clay, and gilding married the new portions to the old. Micro vacuuming removed surface contaminates.
Custom 22K Duch Modernist frame prepared for a long-time client and local artist, Dawn Stafford. Basswood is cut to dimensions in our woodshed with a custom blade and then mitered and joined. Sanding prepares the surface for gesso, and then clays and a touching of steel wool finalize it before it comes to the studio. Gilding gives the frame a decadence and interplays with the tonal aspects of the subject matter. Basswood is one of our preferred wood types as it is usually devoid of resin and thus favorable for gilding.
This family document of Montana issued Immigration papers from 1894 had been stored with the papers folded. Creases formed that caused these areas in the paper to become very fragile. Substances of candy, shellac, and glue were found across the document. What likely happened was that these substances found their way onto the document at various times, and later, with water damage, these substances moved, pooled, and concentrated in the same areas, represented by the darkest spots in the photos. While difficult to remove, these substances tell a wonderful and rich history and give a glimpse into what the immigration process was like. Acid stains had also led to the deterioration of the paper quality.
Select Chemistry baths helped soften the paper and the glue that held them together. With careful scalpel work and water baths we were able to separate the pages. De-acidification neutralized the acid stains and lifted their discoloration. In-fill with paper of like quality mended the areas of loss, and the small detached pieces were reincorporated with an archival glue.
This Plat Map detailing Grand Haven suffers from numerous creases due to folding, non-archival tape, and widespread acid stains due to the particle board it had been placed on and how it concentrated the sun exposure. This map is 45″ x 58 1/4.”
After carefully removing the tape we’ll support it underneath with a screen while we carefully dip it. This will treat the stains. It will then go through a series of blotter applications to absorb the contaminates and return its shape to plane. New paper of the same quality will be added where losses have occurred. A backing will be given to provide support.
Once complete this map will go on display at the Tri-State Historical Museum, and a facsimile will travel the local school systems as a teaching aid.
These two duck paintings by Arthur E. Schneider (1866-1942) came in with heavy contamination from smoke and dirt particulates. Ducks Landing had a shellac covering that had turned brown and started to run. Ducks and Snipes had two significant dents and a few fingerprints along the right edge that appeared to have been done in paint.
Careful cleaning revealed to have significant results. It was a slow process with the amount of smoke and dirt particulates that we were able to remove. Hydration was another lengthy process, as the paint films were quite dry and this process required many applications combined with waiting periods. Ducks and Snipes had several hits on the surface that were evidenced by the circular craquelures. Hydration and in-painting helped to conceal these areas. Ducks and Snipes was also plagued by weak canvas along the perimeter. It was edge-lined to return strength and allow it to easily fit and hold to the stretcher bar. Ducks Landing suffered paint loss along its edges where it had been under pressure due to the stretcher bar. In-painting concealed these areas.
Preliminary restoration efforts took place back in August of last year. Some projects, due to their condition, need time to slowly be brought back to health. But when they’re complete the satisfaction is immense.
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.
This painting by H. Melville, The Lone Boat, suffered from smoke stains across the surface that were likely due to cigarettes. Its old varnish had yellowed and surface contaminates were also detracting from the natural color tones. The painting was removed from its frame and carefully cleaned which had a dramatic effect. The canvas had been placed on a masonite board that contains acids. Normally we would remove this, but due to the size of the painting (36″x24″) it was decided that it would be better not to disturb it.
The back of the frame contained information that helped us identify the artist as H. Melville, but unfortunately there is very little information available. However, and just as importantly, it allowed us to dissociate the painting with a very similar artist in terms of style, subject matter, date, and last name: Harden Sydney Melville.
This painting by Carl Hoerman (1885 – 1955) is a desert landscape of the Palm Springs region. The primary issues it has includes a dry paint film, specks across the front and back, cupping of the paint film, and the frame joinery of the corners has loosened. There is also some paper-like hive-making material used by hornets that was attached on the reverse and is seen in the video at the bottom where we carefully scraped some of it off.
New linen will be archivally adhered to add foundation strength. Careful cleaning and select chemistries will remove dirt particulates and the specks, some of which are mold. Consolidation will flatten the cupping and in-painting will conceal these areas if losses result. The frame joinery will be redone and a back-up incorporated to help the painting sit without stress within the frame.
Carl Hoerman, born in Germany, emigrated to the United States in 1903, at the age of eighteen. He studied and then worked as an architect in Chicago until 1920, when he built a studio and art gallery in Saugatuck, Michigan. Hoerman, with his wife, Christiana, also an artist, frequently traveled to the West and Southwest where Carl would paint desert, Grand Canyon, and mountain scenes. Later, Hoerman would become known as a “dunes painter,” because of his western Michigan landscapes. Hoerman built multiple homes in the Southwest, including the Casa del Desierto, in 1946, at Rancho Mirage, a small community between Palm Springs and Indio, a close proximity to where this landscape painting is believed to depict. By 1952, deteriorating health, forced Hoerman to forgo travels to the West. Carl Hoerman passed away on November 8, 1955 in Douglas, Michigan.
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…
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.