Art Installation

New artwork installed at a client’s home. We just wanted to highlight this service as it’s something that can be more complex than you’d think. And it’s something we have a great deal of experience with, and we’ve even mastered the ability to do it over stairs.

The square artwork is by Jacob Hashimito (1973-) and the the round artwork is a woven wooden circular and the artist is unknown.

The Cabinet du Roi: “Ceiling of the Great Staircase of the Palace Versailles”

At the Palace of Versailles, The Great Stair, also called the Abassador’s Staircase, was built in 1674-1679 to provide a ceremonial access to the king’s state apartment. Its walls and ceiling were lavishly decorated under the supervision of Charles Le Brun. Polychrome marble, gilt bronzes, and paintings all lit by its glass roof were some of its features. The decor celebrated the victory of the king in the Dutch War (1672-1678) and, on the landing, several illusionistic paintings celebrated the military glory of Louis XIV. Unfortunately, in 1752, to renovate in favor of additional apartments for Louis XV’s daughters, The Great Stair was destroyed. Only one painted panel escaped destruction, but a complete visual record in black and white exists thanks to more than thirty large and intricate prints created between 1679 and 1725.

Coinciding with the construction, an extravagant publishing project was undertaken that would become known as the Cabinet du Roi (King’s Cabinet). Colbert, the kings Minister of Finances, supervised the project collecting the best French printmakers to produce hundreds of large and detailed engravings of the royal collections and accomplishments. Beginning in 1670, some of these print series were combined with descriptive texts and published as books, while others remained without text and were bound and distributed as needed.

This copy of The Cabinet du Roi is believed to have been made around 1710. It does contain a number of expected maladies: staining, fungal invasions, and fingerprints. However, the paper quality is phenomenal and it will clean up exceptionally well. The book totals about 90 pages, of which 22 two-page spreads contain prints. A number of these are in shapes that fit together, comprising an outer circle with a central image. The plan is to deconstruct the book, restore the pages, and create a box frame to showcase the entire production. A reproduction of the shaped images fitted into place will be produced separately and presented as its own image.

ERNEST DREYFUSS STILL LIFE WITH MANDOLIN FINISHED AND FRAMED

Delamination issues caused large portions of paint to lift from the canvas of this still life by Ernest Dreyfuss (1903-1977). By a process of restorer’s adhesive and weights, we were able to delicately return these areas to the canvas. New linen was added to the reverse to provide a stronger foundation, which is going to help the delamination issue. The original varnish was old and it had yellowed. With it removed the natural and more vibrant colors reappeared, and a new layer of conservation varnish was applied.

A custom American Modernist Reverse frame was made with Spanish origins and gilded with silver.

Ernst Emmanuel Dreyfuss was born in Frankfurt, Germany on January 1, 1903. He trained as a painter and became a disciple of Max Beckmann and Ugi Battenberg. Dreyfuss survived Buchenwald and fled from Nazi Germany in 1940, spending a year in England, and then immigrating to the US in 1941. He settled in Hyde Park, Chicago, IL, where, as an eccentric neighborhood painter, he allegedly served as the inspiration for a character in one of Saul Bellow’s Chicago Stories. Dreyfuss ceased painting in 1971. He married and subsequently divorced Ms. Anne Battaglia, and was survived by one cousin, which at the time of his death in 1977 resided in South Africa.

Jacobsen B.W. Morse Maritime Painting

This is a maritime painting of the B.W. Morse by Antonio Jacobsen (1850-1921). As you can see from the photographs it has been through some rough times. About 13 major tears trouble its surface with an additional 9 minor tears. Scotch tape is adding some support on the reverse, and the surface is quite dirty. Most peculiar is the fact that nails were driven from the front of the frame, through the painting, and into the stretcher bar; a few actually stick out on the reverse. This was done shortly after the painting was made, and in that time some of the glue from the frame and solvents from the painting lodged in that area where the painting and the back of the frame were pressed against each other, and made a rather tight seal. With diligent nail removal and careful releasing of the canvas from the frame we were able to de-fit the painting. Initial cleaning tests have had remarkable results. Once that step is complete, the next thing will be to suture the tears. 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.

TC Steele Landscape Restoration

Due to paint stability issues, this TC Steele (1847 – 1926) was re-lined with wax. This caused a number of problems on its own that were detailed in our initial assessment.

With the painting de-fit we were able to undertake the arduous journey of removing the wax re-line with gentle heat and a sharp scalpel. On the front, the surface was carefully cleaned, with the old varnish removed along with the dirt contaminates and the black dots. With the amount of heat used in the wax-reline process, some of the paint was flattened which compromised the rich texture–one of the strong points of this painting. We reconstituted these areas, matching the original brushstrokes, and then injected adhesive to consolidate the cupping areas. Heat and pressure allowed them to lay flat and consistent with the rest of the paint film. Old in-painting was removed and new in-painting was performed to correct these areas, the areas with craquelures and cupping, and the areas with loss once they were in-filled. Conservation varnish finished the restoration.

The new frame is a custom American Impressionist 424 styled frame with hand-carved panel, rounded corners and herringbone detail along the corners and outer railings. It was gilded with 22 karat gold. We hope to have all the finishing touches done for Thursday, so check back for finishing shots…

Theodore Clement Steele is considered to be one of the finest of the American Impressionist painters to work in the Midwest. A leading member of the Hoosier School painters, Steele was a native in Indiana who studied at the Indiana School of Art, as well as the Royal Academy in Munich. Upon returning to the U.S., Steele co-founded the Indianapolis School of Art with William Forsyth. In these early years, Steele’s paintings were very much in the dark, dramatic style of the Munich School. It was only after Steele began exploring the Indiana countryside for inspiration that his palette would brighten. By 1893, Steele was showing, to critical acclaim, Impressionist landscapes at the Chicago Exposition. In 1906 Steele settled in the remote region of Brown County, Indiana, where he painted exclusively in the pure Impressionist style he’d adopted.

Eagle Wood Sculpture from Taiwan

This is an eagle carved from camphor wood, and was made and purchased in Taiwan. We believe it to be from the 1950’s-1970’s.

At some point the left wing suffered a complete break. Crude restoration attempts combined screw supports with adhesives. While this did at least reattach the wing, it left a sizable seam along the break, almost like a scar.

We have been able to detach the wing without causing any damage. This allowed us to see the internals and get a better understanding of the issues. We plan to remove all of the poor in-fill. With a clean wood surface, pegs and restorer’s adhesive will joint the wing back to the body. The restorer’s adhesive has properties that allows it to breath and move with the natural expansion and contraction of the wood. To hide the brake we’ll combine wood in-fills with finishing stains. Stay tuned for more…

 

 

Ernest Dreyfuss Still Life With Mandolin

This still life by Ernest Dreyfuss (1903-1977) was suffering from significant delimitation issues. Large areas of paint had lifted from the canvas, and some had even fallen off. The original varnish had yellowed which greatly altered the color tones.

The painting was de-fit and then where delamination had occurred, hydration was applied in the form of a restorer’s adhesive. This required the use of a syringe as pockets of paint film had lifted and it was important to address the whole pocket and not just the edges. Lost paint film was fitted back into place, and blotters weighted the areas to give a firm bond for the adhesive.

To strengthen the foundation, Belgian linen was attached to the existing linen, and then deep and careful cleaning removed the surface contaminates and the yellowed varnish.

The painting is now in the final stages, only a few places left that need to be in-painted. A custom frame is also being decided upon. Stay tuned for more…

Ernst Emmanuel Dreyfuss was born in Frankfurt, Germany on January 1, 1903. He trained as a painter and became a disciple of Max Beckmann and Ugi Battenberg. Dreyfuss survived Buchenwald and fled from Nazi Germany in 1940, spending a year in England, and then immigrating to the US in 1941. He settled in Hyde Park, Chicago, IL, where, as an eccentric neighborhood painter, he allegedly served as the inspiration for a character in one of Saul Bellow’s Chicago Stories. Dreyfuss ceased painting in 1971. He married and subsequently divorced Ms. Anne Battaglia, and was survived by one cousin, which at the time of his death in 1977 resided in South Africa.

Lee Krasner Update

After the re-line and re-stretch this Krasner painting has been rather cooperative with the restoration. The previous stretcher bar was too narrow, and it clipped about half an inch from the right and left edge. So far the crease marks left behind are all but gone, and only a minimal amount of in-painting will be needed. Frame ideas are still being discussed will the client but we’ll share photographs once it’s finished.

Born to a Russian immigrant family living in Brooklyn on October 27, 1908, Krasner decided early on to pursue a career in the arts. Enrolling at the Cooper Union in 1926, the young artist struggled to find the appropriate artistic milieu to encourage her talent. Beginning in 1928, she studied for a brief time at the Art Students League, then at National Academy of Design from 1928-1932, and subsequently at City College in 1932-33, where she obtained a teaching certificate. However, the teachings of the influential artist Hans Hoffman at his renowned school in Greenwich Village had the greatest impact on Krasner’s artistic development.

In the 1930s, Krasner became acquainted with Harold Rosenberg, who would become one of the most influential art critics of his generation. In 1934, Krasner was appointed to the Public Works of Art Project, and the following year she and Rosenberg were assigned to Max Spivak’s mural project (for the Federal Art Project [FAP]).  Their positions—more as de-facto personal assistants than artistic collaborators on the project since Spivak preferred to work alone—allowed for ample conversations and lively debates about art, leftist politics, and intellectual developments. Rosenberg, an aspiring poet, introduced her to the work of Baudelaire and Arthur Rimbaud.  The French Symbolist poet Rimbaud provided a tremendous source of inspiration for the artist, particularly in his poem “A Season in Hell,” which Krasner excerpted and inscribed on the wall of her studio in 1941.

In 1940, Krasner joined the American Abstract Artists (AAA), a group dedicated to creating international abstract art whose slogan announced their aims “For Peace, for Democracy, For Cultural Progress.” Her participation in AAA exhibitions from 1940 to 1943, her outspoken attitude and involvement in protests organized by the Artists Union, and her affiliation with Hofmann’s school increased her reputation in the early 1940s. She received a public mural commission for the New York radio station WNYC (which was never executed), and also participated in several group exhibitions. These included French and American Painting, a show organized by John Graham that opened in January 1942 at McMillen Inc. design studios.

French and American Painting marked the first occasion where Krasner and Pollock exhibited their work in the same show. Indeed, after receiving the offer to participate in the exhibition, Krasner visited Pollock’s studio to introduce herself, not realizing that she had had met Pollock previously. In 1945, the couple both contributed paintings to A Problem for Critics at Howard Putzel’s Gallery 67.  They were married later that year in an intimate ceremony in The Springs, Long Island, where they had purchased a farmhouse not far from the home of Harold Rosenberg and his wife May Tabak.

In 1946, Krasner launched her Little Image series, which got their name from how little her studio was. These paintings incorporated an all-over compositional technique using variously short dabs, dense webs of dripped paint, and grids of ciphers and hieroglyphic forms. The Little Image paintings were informed by Krasner’s religious training as a child, when she learned Hebrew, and also by post-war Zionism.  More broadly, Krasner’s calligraphic paintings revealed the artist’s exploration of symbols and sign systems; she explained, “I thought of [my unconscious messages] as a kind of crazy writing of my own, sent by me to I don’t know who, which I can’t read, and I’m not so anxious to read.” It was a period of artist growth that Krasner said she was waiting for something to happen, confident that the repetition of familiar pigment and canvas would eventually make something. These works were not executed on an easel, but on the floor or a table. This marked the only time she ever worked looking down on her canvases.

In 1953, Krasner began to destroy both Pollock’s and her own work to generate small collages composed of the fragments of sliced canvases. The collages that resulted from this process of destruction and recombination displayed complex interlocking forms, realizing in both a material and visual way the tension of opposing forces encouraged by Hofmann years earlier. These works also reveal the painter’s appreciation for Matisse’s lively color. Krasner combined the principles of Hoffman and Matisse with her admiration for Cubist drawing.

Following Pollock’s death in 1956, Krasner responded with a group of works called Earth Green. The series featured monumental painterly explosions addressing themes of renewal, such as harvest, fertility, and growth. Sometimes referred to as “autobiographical,” these Abstract Expressionist figurative paintings often depict hybrid, gender-neutral personnages within carefully structured canvases that balance horizontal and vertical forces. In 1959 Krasner launched another series inspired by death. These works, referred to collectively as “Night Journeys” are part of her larger Umber series and are characterized by their limited palette of blacks, whites, ochres, and browns. Also distinctive are their mixed use of sprayed and spattered paint and the intense emotions they evoke. In 1958 Krasner also produced a large-scale mosaic for the Uris Building in New York utilizing some of the same forms as her collages.

In the mid-1970s, Krasner’s work came full circle. After rediscovering several portfolios of the charcoal Nude Study from Life drawings in 1976, she saved (and likely signed and dated) those she wished to keep, giving some as gifts to friends and colleagues. The remaining drawings she cut into abstract forms and sliced and pasted these fragments onto large canvases. Painting on top of the collage, she titled the series, Eleven Ways to Use the Words to See. These works expressed the artist’s interest in both Cubist design and Fauvist color, as well as her career-long engagement with drawing, painting, and collage.

That decade also witnessed the ascendancy of Krasner’s national reputation. Her work was exhibited in several major exhibitions that celebrated the varied aspects of her oeuvre, including Lee Krasner: Large Paintings at the Whitney Museum of American Art, organized by Marcia Tucker, and the traveling show Lee Krasner: Collages and Works on Paper, 1933-1974 initiated by the Corcoran Gallery of Art. Two other important exhibitions were Krasner/Pollock: A Working Relationship, curated by Barbara Rose, and Lee Krasner: Works on Paper at the Brooklyn Museum of Art.  After suffering from arthritis and battling various illnesses since 1962, Krasner died in 1984.

Photograph of Mrs. Dean

This photograph of a Grand Rapids resident, Mrs. Dean, had been stored in the attic of her home. After the home changed hands, the new homeowners discovered this photograph, fell in love with it, and brought it in for restoration.

The photograph’s composition was very dry, the result of no AC in the attic, and there were surface contaminates across the front, the painting and frame had actually been under soot. Despite this situation, the photograph was in remarkable shape.

Micro-vacuuming and a feather duster cleaned the photograph surface and removed the dry particles. About half of the frame’s ornamentation had been lost, and the remaining half was very dry and close to falling off. With casts and molds, the lost ornamentation was replaced. Clays and gilding resurfaced the entire frame and dirty shellac was added to match the old and the new. The original, antique glass was conserved.

TALLMADGE AND WATSON ARCHITECT SKETCH FINISHED

This first edition sketch by Tallmadge and Watson Architects of the Saugatuck Woman’s Club is ready to be returned. Chemistry baths lifted the stains that came from acid contamination, of which there was quite a bit. Besides the stains, there was widespread mold invasion. Another round of chemistry baths neutralized these. Careful cleaning across the surface removed dirt contaminates and returned a clarity to the image.

The frame is original, and what’s typical of this period, for architect sketches, is to use a gilded, natural-wood frame. After cleaning, we saw that in the recesses, the frame did at one time have this aesthetic. Once cleaning was complete, we returned this finish in the period standard. To finish, UV-filtering glass was added to help protect this lovely piece of local history that we were very grateful to be able to work on.

In 1905 Thomas Tallmadge decided to start his own architectural firm with draftsman Vernon S. Watson. Although Watson was the chief designer, Tallmadge became the face of the firm due to his commitment as a historian and teacher. He taught at the Armour Institute of Technology from 1906 to 1926. Tallmadge is credited for coining the term “Chicago school” in an article for Architectural Review to describe the recent trends in architecture pioneered by Burnham, Louis Sullivan, and others. Tallmadge took sole control over the firm after Watson retired in 1936. They were best known for their Prairie School works.