17th Century Drawing Finished

This 17th Century drawing was one of the longer jobs we’ve had, and we knew this would be the case as the amount of work would be extensive, and we would also need to make some important design decisions.

Areas of loss in the paper and smaller pinhole-sized holes were prevalent across the artwork. On the reverse some asphaltum was adhered, which is a type of tar. Stains had developed and acid contaminates had migrated into the paper.

Chemical baths lifted the stains and neutralized the acid contaminates. Another chemical was used to soften the asphaltum which was then carefully scraped with a scalpel, and then another chemical helped to treat the underlying stains. New paper pulp to fill the lost areas was made and incorporated with water that self-adhered to the rice paper quality of the original.

The new frame we made is a custom Sienese Italian with granito and raised gesso-corners with a feather motif and matching spandrel. We noticed in the cap that there’s a feather, and we brought that decoration into the corners. The granito can be seen around the feathers as the small dots.

Restoration started back in March and we are particularly satisfied with the culmination of what was months of slow progress. As the various aspects matured the anticipation kind of teased us with how they would eventually look together. But when they finally did come together we were thrilled with how the frame and spandrel appear to be the same period as the drawing, and how there’s a shared elegant quality that is still inviting in an introspective, personal sort of way.

Adolf Dehn Central Park Watercolor

Substantial staining and several drips trouble this Central Park snowscape. With the proper treatment and stain removal the discoloration will disappear. This is going to greatly improve the color dynamics, as this is predominately a black and white watercolor. The color tones will also be accentuated with a custom white gold frame done in the Modernist Marin style. Stay tuned for finished photographs…

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.

 

Hoerman Grand Canyon Original American Impressionist 22K Frame

We were very happy with how our original frame turned out and with how it paired with the Hoerman Grand Canyon landscape. The quality that struck us about the painting were the layers of geological progression receding into the distance and how the cloud gave commonality to both the progression and also the distance. We took this quality, and within the American Impressionist vein, simplified it in our corner design with what we’re calling “Mountains and Leaves.” We were also pleased with how the richness of the 22K gold picks up the red tones of the Grand Canyon and gives a warm, open, and inviting quality.

Custom Frame for Mathias Alten Landscape

In case you missed our post about restoring this Mathias Alten (1871-1938) landscape, you can find it here. To match the elegance of the painting, a frame in the style of a reverse-slope modernist Whistler was chosen, and prepared by us. Antique 22K gold over red and yellow clay was picked out to accent the softer sky tones. This was further enriched with a mahogany ebonized liner.

Born in Gusenburg, Germany, Mathias Alten is hailed as the foremost painter of Grand Rapids, Michigan and a second-generation Impressionist whose primary theme was agrarian labor. He was apprenticed to Joseph Klein, a decorative painter in Saint Wendel, Germany and worked on ceiling and wall decorations for churches and theaters.

At 17, he emigrated to Grand Rapids, Michigan, which was a major manufacturing center and vital art community. He studied with Edwin A. Turner and first exhibited his work at the Michigan State Fair in 1896.  Some of his earliest works are floral stilllife, a theme to which he continued to return; he also did figure and portrait painting, but his landscapes defined the direction of his work.

In 1898, he went to France and settled in Paris after spending time painting fishing scenes in Etaples, an artists’ colony on the French coast. He studied at the Academie Julian with Benjamin Constant and Jean-Paul Laurens and won a gold metal for the best figure drawing. Interested in animal drawing, he attended classes at the veterinary school and then traveled extensively throughout France and Italy and other parts of Europe.

Returning to Grand Rapids, he and Constant Fliermans opened a studio and art school together, and then on his own he pursued an active career as a a portrait and figure painter, and also did numerous murals. His figure paintings were unusual for that time because they were not elegant subjects but working class people straining their muscles.

From 1902, after spending time at the Old Lyme, Connecticut art colony, he became increasingly devoted to plein air rural landscape painting with sparkling sunlight and colors of Impressionism. In 1910, he traveled abroad for a year, doing many rural scenes of Holland, and in New York, he saw paintings by and was much influenced by the Spanish Impressionist Joaquin Sorolla whose work became a lasting influence in subject matter and a palette that was more colorful and sunlit than his previous work. In 1912, he traveled in Spain, and much of his work from that time reflected Spanish subjects.

To escape the harsh winters he made trips to southern California in 1929 and 1933-34. His good friend Norman Chamberlain had settled in Laguna Beach. While visiting there he was active with the local art colony and painted coastal scenes and a series of missions. He achieved success in Los Angeles due to his daughter’s promotion of his works.

He died in Michigan on March 8, 1938.

R. Turner Watercolor Restoration and New Frame

This watercolor had been greatly effected by acid burns and other invasive contaminates. Tape was also adhered along the edges, leading to acid contamination. Deep cleaning treated the stains and chemistry baths lifted the acids. Sun damage was addressed by refreshening the watercolor. New museum mat and UV-protecting glass was given to a new custom frame, which we are quite pleased with and think it deserves its own paragraph.

A brand new design with a Spanish reverse slope and basket woven corners and sgraffito in gesso. Two tones of gold were incorporated, silver and regular. We are greatly pleased with how this new design turned out, and with how well it compliments the artwork.

Fish Fertilizer Canvas Banner

This banner for Jarecki Cemical Company’s Fish Manures was actually found in a wall, and was as insulation. Due to this out-of-the-sun storage, the colors of the banner have been maintained quite well. There is a fair amount of dirt contamination, however, as well as some degradation of the fabric. The banner will be micro-vacuumed and dipped in a cleaning solution and then allowed dried with weight to undo the folds. We’re presently sourcing some local barn wood that we’ll use to make a custom frame, the style designed to the client’s liking. Stay tuned for more. . .

The Jarecki Chemical Co. established by Gustav Jarecki in Erie, Pennsylvania in 1881. Gustav Jr, working for his father, was sent to Ohio to start a plant in Sandusky. Located on the foot of First Street, and adjacent to Sandusky Bay, its location made it convenient for obtaining fish, and also for shipping the final product by water. One of the best selling products at the Sandusky factory was a fertilizer made from fish by-products. The plant operated from 1887 to 1920, when it was sold to the Armour Fertilizer Co. (Armour ceased operations in Sandusky in the 1960s.) In the early 1900s, Gustav Jarecki, Jr. moved to Cincinnati where he established another branch of the company.

Van Duren German Fairy Tale

Oil on canvas circa 1870 to 1910 of a German painting of a fairytale by Cornelius Van Duren (1915 – 2013) came with a large tear, other small tears, scuffs that were minor, heavy airborne contaminates, and deep staining to the surface that masked natural color tones. The young women’s dress is meant to be ivory, for instance, and initial cleaning tests revealed the problematic degree of staining. The severity of the tear was due, in part, to the brittleness of the canvas.

The painting was carefully deep-cleaned, and tented to hydrate the canvas. With weights around the tear, we coaxed the canvas back into place, before performing a formal suture on the reverse. To give more strength to the canvas we re-lined with new linen, and in-filled the areas of loss. Conservation varnish finished the restoration, and a new antique custom frame is in production. Stay tuned for more. . .

Cornelius Van Duren spent part of his life in Holland, Michigan and was a decorated war veteran, serving 30 years in the army in WWII, Korean War and Vietnam. He received the combat infantry badge, bronze star media with valor, among other awards. In 1965 he moved to Long Beach, California where he lived until passing away at the age of 98.

The painting depicts Lily and the Lion by the Grimm Brothers.

Dali Bas Relief

These bas reliefs by Salvador Dali (1904 – 1989) were procured from a gallery for a client, restored, and then placed in new frames. Don Quixote is represented in the first bas relief, a common topic for Spanish art and culture. The other is of Lincoln, and is based off a painting Dali had done earlier called Gala Contemplating the Mediterranean Sea Which at Twenty Meters Becomes the Portrait of Abraham Lincoln. A couple versions of this painting were executed, but its inspiration came from a Scientific American article Dali read about visual perception which investigated the minimum number of pixels needed to describe a unique human face. Dali was challenged by that question and set about making the portrait of Lincoln with 121 pixels. In his canvas he pushed this concept of perception and external sight.The double image painting also provided a meditation on the dual nature of things. A well-known lithograph was made, entitled Lincoln in Dalivision. It is one of the the most counterfeited Dali lithographs.

Restoration included cleaning and polishing. The boxes they came in were also conserved: a solution was used to treat a small amount of mold, and the insides were micro vacuumed, and some loose velvet was lain back down with adhesive.

New, custom frames were prepared with white gold on the top and silver on the side. Corners were given sgraffito and raised gesso and carved. The Lincoln frame was also given corner blocks. These frames are one-of-a-kind, much like the artist.

Textile of Washington at Mount Vernon

This family heirloom came in with a fungal invasion, and acid contamination that we believe to have been caused by a stretcher bar. Cleaning, drying, and pressing prepared the textile for an archival mount onto foamcore that was then covered with a single-ply linen mat. A custom frame in the American Hicks style with veneer and black corner blocks was prepared and then given archival glass to finish. Every family heirloom is unique, but this particular textile, with the restoration and custom frame, gave us the opportunity to impart our diverse talents, to what we know will be a cherished keepsake for many years to come.

Christine Sullivan Frames for New Show

We were very honored to work again with the artist Christine Sullivan, framing her artwork for an upcoming exhibition of Cape Cod seascapes. The exhibition opens July 6th, and runs through the 26th, and is at the Oils by the Sea / ROCCAPRIORE Gallery in Provincetown, Massachusetts. We’ve collaborated with Christine for the last three years, and have even designed a personal frame for her that we call the Sullivan Float. For this exhibition, some artwork was given that frame style, and others were given a Modernist Step. Both styles were given white gold.

Sullivan is a representational abstract landscape painter. Her subject matter captures the hard-working, celebrated life on the family farms of rural New York State and the fishermen’s life on the salt waters of Cape Cod and northern Florida. Geography has always been one of her strongest inspirations: “The . . . organic scents and earthy hues found close to the land and sea were embedded upon my soul at a very young age and continue to inform and influence my life and work.”