The 12th president of Hope College, Dr. John C. Knapp, served from 2013 to 2017. It was a tenure that saw the launching of “Hope for the World: 2025,” a 10-year strategic plan to grow the college as a place of academic excellence, faith development, inclusiveness, and global engagement. He furthermore established the Presidential Colloquium lecture series that brings notable speakers to address national and global issues. And in 2016, the college joined the World Affairs Council of Western Michigan as an educational partner to bring international experts to the campus through the council’s Great Decisions Global Discussion Series.
The portrait artist was Larry Blovits (1936-). He is known for oil and pastel portraits, as well as landscapes. He has received numerous awards and honors in national shows since 1962.
We prepared an American Impressionist frame with 22 karat gold, detailed with a leaf motif, after the Twachtman style, and installed it professionally at Hope College. All but three of the frames in the portrait room were made by us, and the others we were restored by us. We are very grateful to be able to lend the portrait an esteemed quality, as well as an overall theme of tradition and excellence for the leaders of such an important and local institution.
With a French mat prepared in the handmade manner: attaching watercolor paper to museum board and then with a ruling pen, creating lines and panels, and with watercolor washes incorporating color tones connected with the art, we gave this George Catlin (1796-1872) print an archival fit. A new American Impressionist frame with feather and ripple carving, gilded in 22 Karat gold, was created to complete the conservation of this magnificent print. We are very happy with the results, taking the artwork from a state of discolored foxing and staining, to accenting its qualities with a French Mat, and then making it the centerpiece of a grand and ornate, gilded frame.
George Catlin Catching the Wild Horse Cleaning
George Catlin Catching the Wild Horse
Ruling Pen and Case.
With the help of our new space, and its extra room, we were able to easily fit these wonderful textiles into shadow box plexiglass frames. Another variable caused by their size, was transportation. To return them we ended up renting a delivery truck, and then carefully installed them in the client’s home–a beautiful home that superbly presents these textiles. The shadow boxes are mahogany with custom liners covered in black linen with wool felt as a conduit to safely attach the textiles. This was our first large project in our new space and we couldn’t be happier with the space and with what it allows us to do.
This collage series by Ben Patterson (1934 – 2016) is fun and playful, and yet still provocative. It came in for cleaning and for the pieces to be re-secured. We devised a Velcro system for the weighty Duck Family Dreamland, and thoroughly cleaned the series with a restorer’s solution and quite a few cotton tips.
Benjamin Patterson was born in Pittsburgh in 1934, and graduated from the University of Michigan, in Ann Arbor, in 1956 with a degree in music. He was a virtuosic double bassist but as an African American he could not find a job in the United States, so he played with various orchestral groups in Canada, including the Halifax Symphony Orchestra and the Ottawa Philharmonic Orchestra (as principal bassist). In the ’60s as a member of the Fluxus movement, Patterson sought to “open people’s minds, ears, and eyes, not necessarily with shock technique, but with surprises and unexpected things so they become more aware and sensitive to the world around them.” By the early ’70s the first of three Patterson children was born, and as a result the art pursuits for Patterson were largely put on hold; as he said “Family was coming along, and papa needed to earn money.” He worked various jobs, and earned a master’s in library science from Columbia University, but in ’87, once his children had finished university he was able to return full-time to art and worked extensively, staging performances and shows around the world. “Artists are like old cowboys; they die with their boots on,” Patterson would say to Interview magazine in 2013.
Restored sacred objects placed in new, modern sanctuary.
It was a very hectic job site at the client’s unfinished home. Once the scaffolding was assembled to provide access to the upper walls, we were able to work in conjunction with the electrician, installing the paintings centered under what would be the accent lighting for the pieces. French cleats were used to secure the paintings to the wall.
It was a real honor to work with the artist, the interior designer, the construction contractor, stonemasons, and master carpenters. Our contribution of art installation and frame making expertise, helped create an inspiring environment, one the homeowner and family will undoubtedly enjoy spending time in.
This sculpture, called “Anne,” is an aluminum cut-out by Alex Katz, the American painter, sculptor, and printmaker. Miller Fenwood restored the sculpture and then designed a base for its installation in a new location.
A marble bust by Hiram Powers dating to 1846 required cleaning and restoration. The base had been cracked and otherwise damaged, and the bust itself was quite soiled.
To restore the bust, a thorough cleaning included treatment to remove contaminants. Old repairs were removed, and losses were restored.
To be replaced in its home in the library at Hope College, an abrasion-resistant vitrine was created, with an oak plinth. Read more about the sculpture here, in an article from the Hope College Libraries.