Glackens pen and ink with American Whistler Frame

This pen and ink drawing by William James Glackens (1870 – 1938) suffered from acid stains, due to the mount it was on, and a covering of dirt particulates. Once removed from the mount, baths of select chemistry were able to lift the stains, returning a clearer complexion to the drawing. Blotters were used to dry the artwork, as well as square the dimensionality of the paper and lay it flat.

Its new frame is a custom American Whistler with white gold, over yellow, red and black clay, which we think looks rather stunning with the drawing, and should keep the Sherwood Sisters happy and dancing for quite some time.

William James Glackens graduated from Philadelphia’s Central High School with John Sloan, and in 1891 became an artist-reporter for the “Philadelphia Record.” From 1892 to 1895 he held the same position for the “Philadelphia Press”. He studied with Thomas Anshutz at the Pennsylvania Academy where he formed a strong friendship with John Sloan, George Luks, Everett Shinn and Robert Henri; later he shared a studio and traveled in Europe with Henri. He spent a year in Paris where he painted many scenes of life in the parks and cafes.

Glackens settled in New York, worked as an illustrator, and in 1898, went to Cuba as an artist-reporter for “McClure’s” magazine of the Spanish-American War. He became part of “The Eight,” a landmark exhibition of urban realists, led by Henri, at the Macbeth Galleries.

The early work of Glackens followed Henri’s lead and maintained “strong ties to Edouard Manet’s darkened palette and brushy style of realism.” After 1910, Glacken began to brighten in response to his strong admiration of the work of French artist, Pierre August Renoir.

In 1912, he went on an extensive art-buying trip in Europe for Albert Barnes, a friend from high school who had amassed a fortune from an antiseptic gargle solution. Barnes built a huge home and museum in Merion, a suburb of Philadelphia, and established the Barnes Museum. The many works of Renoir, Degas, Van Gogh and Cezanne that Glackens purchased for Barnes became the center of the Museum collection. This project also firmed Glackens’ interest in the Impressionists, especially Renoir.

He died suddenly in 1938 while visiting Charles Prendergast in Westport, Connecticut.

 

Some Recent Frames We’ve Made

Here are some frames we’ve recently had the pleasure of making. Photographs show the process in reverse, and the captions have some insights into the process, but we thought the pictures should do most of the talking.

American Impressionist 22k frame for an oil and canvas by TC Steele (1847 – 1926).

 

American Impressionist 22k frame with Greek Key motif for oil on canvas by our good friend, Nigel Van Wieck (1947-).

 

Florentine High Front with white gold for watercolor by Vincenzo Loria (1850-1939).

 

Charles Dwyer Portrait of Girl with Custom Frame

This pastel and watercolor came in troubled by a few acid stains and loose pastel. A seal was applied to keep the pastel from moving, and chemistry baths neutralized the stains. Further protection was given by an archival mount and by incorporating oversized conservation glass. The frame is a custom Modernist Dutch with 12 karat white gold.

Born in West Bend, WI, in 1961, Charles Dwyer discovered his artistic leanings at West Bend East High School. Later he received a scholarship from the West Bend Art Museum and then went on to major in Fine Art at the Milwaukee School of Art and Design. He graduated as Valedictorian.

Directly after college, his work was featured in a one-man exhibition. With money saved from the show, he backpacked with friends through Italy, Austria, Germany and Greece. Dwyer recalls being most impacted in Vienna where the Austrian artists and the moodiness brought on by frequent rain moved him. To this day, the overwhelming beauty of Europe remains an underlying inspiration.

After his European sojourn, Dwyer pursued painting, conservation and restoration work in the Wisconsin. “This job was pretty influential in introducing me to all sorts of imagery and media like the spiritual, astrological, and classical.” explains Dwyer. “I did a lot of mural restoration, trompe l’oeil, marbleizing, and mosaic. This was one of the few jobs you could get and really apply your artwork skills to.”

Commissioned to create the official poster for Chicago’s ARTEXPO ’93, Dwyer has continued to experiment and push the borders of art making, most recently reinterpreting the techniques of printmaking and photography. His spectacular, original works on paper and canvas, which incorporate such diverse techniques as oil paint, pastel, collage, and fabrics, make Dwyer one of the most important living American artists of our time.

Unveiling of Portrait for Former Hope President Voskuil

The 13th president of Hope College, Rev. Dr. Dennis Voskuil, was appointed in 2017 to serve while a search was conducted for the successor to Dr. John C. Knapp, who left to become president of Washington & Jefferson College in Pennsylvania. President Voskuil began his career at Hope as an assistant professor of religion in 1977. He became an associate professor of religion in 1982 and a full professor of religion in 1988. He was tenured in 1983 and became chair of the religion department in 1984, serving as chair until 1990 and again from 1992–94.

Voskuil will be succeeded on July 1 by Matthew A. Scogin ’02, who was named president-elect on Dec. 7.

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.

It was our honor to prepare an American impressionist frame in 22 karat with a Greek key motif. The motif symbolizes the bonds of friendship, love, devotion, as well as the flow of life. The Rev. Dr. Dennis Voskuil is blessed with a joyful personality, which we believe is accentuated by the rich, resplendent quality of the gilding.

We are honored to have crafted all 13 of the frames for the Hope College presidential portraits. Here is a Holland Sentinel article that details the collection and the work we’ve done to it: Miller Fenwood completes Hope College art renovations.

Tiger Stadium Peanut Vendor Apron

This is an apron from Tiger Stadium believed to have been worn by peanut vendors. Grease stains were along the front and part of the embroidery had been lost. We cleaned the apron and re-stitched some of lettering to match the original. Vintage postcards from Tiger Stadium were placed with the apron in a new maple shadow box frame with a fabric mount.

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.

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.

Antique Quilt Collection

In age, these quilts range from the Post-Revolutionary War to the Civil War to the Great Depression. There are five in total, three of which are going into custom frames. One thing these quilts have in common is that they are quite large–the largest being 105″ x 85.”

Using our large waterbath we’ll use a very safe and dilute formula to clean the stains, adding extra strength with a conservation paste that we’ll gently scrub into the problem areas. Storage in wooden chests turned out to be the culprit for acid stains. They show as a light yellow and luckily will not be as difficult to remove. Afterwards the quilts will be carefully dried and blotted with wool felt. This step will also give us the chance to help square the dimensions.

In the areas of loss, period fabrics will be used to in-fill, with an emphasis placed on salvaging as much of the original fabric as possible.

Three of the quilts will be sewn to a mount and placed behind UV-filtering OP-3 plexiglass in a shadow box frame.

The oldest quilt is the Sally Campbell Quilt, the first in the photographs. It comes from the Federal style within The Young Republic age of American history. It also happens to be the largest, and it has an interesting asymmetrical design that we are still in the process of figuring out what type of furniture it was meant for. If you look closely you’ll notice the smaller, blue stars flank two sides, but share a corner, and at a third edge it stops midway through the larger stars that are encircled with the blue background. We expect to uncover some fascinating history with these quilts. Information that we’ll surely pass on. Stay tuned for more…

ADOLF DEHN CENTRAL PARK WATERCOLOR FINISHED

Substantial staining and several drips troubled this Central Park snowscape. With the proper treatment and stain removal the discoloration disappeared. This treatment greatly improved the color dynamics, which is one of the rewarding treats we typically find when working on a snowscape. These new, softer color tones were accented with a custom Modernist Marin 258 frame.

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.

 

A couple of works by W.E. BAUM Finished

This pair of W.E. Baum (1884 – 1956) artworks, along with their frames, were recently restored. The first is a pastel from a place he knew well, Sellersville, Pennsylvania, and the second is an oil painting that actually depicts the view from his studio.

The pastel required a substantial amount of in-painting, as the dryness of the pastel had led to flaking. The board had introduced acid contaminates, but it was an artist’s prepared board, and that allowed us to “skin” it so we could easily de-acidify it. A new archival board was adhered, and an archival spray was used to consolidate the pastels.

The oil painting was also given a better backing, our honey-comb panel, which is very sturdy and provides excellent support. Upon investigation, we discovered an area at the bottom that had been gauged out and badly repaired, and there were also losses occurred where nails had been driven in. These areas were filled and then in-painted.

Museum glass was given to the pastel frame. It was also backed-up to allow the glass and paint surface to sit clear of each other. Before this wasn’t the case and it had actually led to some rubbing and loss of pastel. Motifs on the oil frame had areas of loss. These were remade through casts and adhered.