Adolph Dehn Collection Restored

We are quite proud to continue our work for the Adolf and Virginia Dehn Foundation. This recent group involved five paintings and our efforts included restoration and building new custom frames. The landscapes received Marin and Dutch Modernist frames with black and silver, and Prudent and Scarlet received a Reverse Modernist frame in metal leaf. Restoration involved removing dirt particulates and addressing the areas of the paint film where it had suffered a loss of integrity, either due to scuffs and scraps, or dryness. These paintings were done on boards and several of the corners were broken and damaged and needed repairs. 

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. In 1951, he published a book called Water Color, Gouache and Casein Painting.

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.

Dame a la Chandelle and American/English Colonial Frame

This portrait masterpiece from 1778 suffered from dirt particulates that had accumulated on the surface and in the layers of the older varnish. The paint film was dry and this had led to craquelures and cupping. Furthermore, the canvas was brittle and had a low thread count. Numerous instances of old restorations added to the difficulty, as well as asphaltum on both sides.

After de-fitting, the painting was carefully cleaned and then re-lined with Pecap, a see-through material that will allows the signature on the reverse to still be visible. To coax the craquelures and cupping, further hydration was administered. Once the paint film was pliable, it was easier to return to plane. Losses were then in-painted, matching new colors to the original. Conservation varnish to finish. The stretcher bar had extensive beetle damage and was treated for the invasion and for dry rot, and given a Dutchmen to strengthen the weak areas.  A lift was added to keep painting further from the wooden structure.

An American/English Colonial frame made out of oak was hand-carved and gilded, and given a baguette fit and styled with a black clay inner liner. The gilding was done in 23 karate gold.

Pointe-à-Callière Museum in Montréal, Canada has included this painting in a chapter about “Lighting” for their upcoming publication of FIRE, which is part of a five volume book involving: Air, Water, Earth, Fire, and a final installment presenting artifacts from the Province of Québec.

 

Francois Beaucourt (1740-1794; also known as Francois Malepart De Beaucort) is known as the first Canadian artist to receive European training. His father was also a painter, and was likely the first teacher of Francois, though records at the time are hard to come by. What is known is that the father, Mallepart De Grand Maison, was a soldier who was believed to have gone to New France with the colonial regular troops. At this time, New France extended from Northwest Canada down to New Orleans, spanning into the present day Midwest, and skipping the Atlantic seaboard, which was controlled by England. Mallepart married in 1737, the wedding certificate described him as a “sergeant in the troops of the company of M. de Beaujeu [Louis Liénard].” It’s believed that by 1740 he had given up the military career to become a painter: the Montreal baptismal papers for his four children describe him as a painter. The first born was Francois, and subsequently the only living child of the marriage. Mallepart died 17 years after Francois was born, and his wife remarried to Corporal Lasselin, who may or may not have relocated the family to France. However, it was in Bordeaux, in 1773, where Francois married Benoîte, the daughter of Joseph-Gaëtan Camagne, a theatre artist and decorator.

Eleven years later, Francois departed for America; unfortunately, all the artwork he created in Bordeaux has been deemed lost. The next known trace of the artist was in 1792 when he surfaced in Philadelphia and published an advertisement in the General Advertiser. The same advertisement would appear in the Montreal Gazette, but in this case he changed the description of himself from a French painter to a Canadian one. Francois would go on to create a substantial amount of religious paintings and portraits, and it’s the latter where his talent seems to have found its strongest definition: his warm colors imbuing the subjects with a life-like quality.

He died in Montreal in 1794.

Francois Beaucourt

 

Portrait of a Young Man

This Portrait of a Young Man had been previously restored, but its condition had continued to degrade, leading to a flaking paint film, some areas of loss, some areas where it had been hit, and a dry and weak canvas that had been cut to the painting size, which can be an indication of severe damage that was simply amputated.

New archival linen was adhered using a heat press. Besides improving the foundational strength, the heat and pressure had the added benefit of consolidating the paint film. In-painting concealed areas of loss and conservation varnish finished the restoration. A custom hand-carved Dutch Modernist frame was prepared to complete this artwork.

Based off the information on the reverse, and the subject matter, style, and color palette, we believe this to be the work of Henry Hannig (1883-1948).

Born in Hirschberg, Germany on February 27, 1883, Henry Hannig emigrated to America with his parents at the age of seven. He received his formal eduction from the Chicago Academy of Fine Arts under the mentorship of Lawton Parker.  To make ends meet, he worked in industrial design and illustration.

By 1908 he was a pupil in the School of the Art Institute of Chicago where students followed the traditional European drawing curriculum, beginning with the copying of master engravings and drawing after plaster casts, then concentrating on the nude figure.  Students worked toward the goal of winning various academic prizes. One of Hannig’s fellow students was Louis Ritman. Hannig’s paintings reflected the mainstream American style of the early twentieth century — broadly executed impressionism.  Like so many others, he worked with a high-keyed palette and shingle-like strokes of broken color. Consequently, the same spontaneous “on-the-spot” image is found as the basis of many of Hannig’s drawings.

Unfortunately, Hannig had no wealthy patron who might have subsidized his career and he remained dependent on his various jobs as a commercial artist. Eventually he became art editor for the South Town Economist, a Chicago newspaper.  Meanwhile, he was involved with Chicago’s German community, in the Steuben Society.  He executed pen drawings that are quite within the stylistic boundaries of illustration, yet many are more powerfully rendered than a usual illustrator’s work.  Sometimes he executed Western subjects — cowboys at work and play.

Around 1939 Hannig moved to Charleston, West Virginia to work at the Union Carbide Company. He died on December 22, 1948.

Castle Over Mosel River by Frederick Trapp

This painting by Frederick Trapp suffered from an old and yellowed varnish with dirt particulates across the surface. The linen and paint film were dry, and the frame had lost some ornamentation and had become compromised at the joinery.

After careful cleaning and removal of the old varnish, the painting was relined onto new archival linen. This gave a substantial improvement to its structural integrity. New conservation varnish finished the restoration. The corners of the frame were re-joined and the small areas of ornamentation-loss were recreated. A lacquer application was used to match the color tones.

Encyclopedia Britannica: The Mosel river is a west-bank tributary of the Rhine River, flowing for 339 miles (545 km) across northeastern France and western Germany. Rising on the forested slopes of the Vosges massif, the river meanders past Épinal, Pont-Saint-Vincent, Toul, Frouard, Metz, and Thionville before leaving France to form the frontier between Germany and Luxembourg for a short distance. The river enters Germany and flows past Trier to its confluence with the Rhine at Koblenz. In this sector of the valley (German: Moseltal) are the vineyards from which the famous Moselle wines are produced. The Moselle River’s chief tributaries are the Madon, Orne, and Sauer (French: Sûre) on the west and the Meurthe, Seille, and Saar (French: Sarre) on the east. Above Metz the Moselle has been navigable to 300-ton barges since the 19th century. It connects at Toul and Frouard with the Rhine-Marne Canal. From Metz to Thionville the river has been navigable by 300-ton barges since 1932; below Thionville it was not navigable until the inauguration in 1964 of the Moselle Canal from Metz to Koblenz, built to take barges up to 1,500 tons. The canal is administered by a tripartite authority representing France, Germany, and Luxembourg. There are several iron and steel plants and power stations along the waterway.

Pastoral Landscape with Sheep and River by Edwin Cole

This pastoral landscape by Edwin Cole (1868-c.1935) suffered from a dry linen that had led to paint loss in one area, as well as dirt particulates across the surface. The original frame in a Louis XV  style, had suffered structural and ornamental losses.

New linen improved the foundational strength of the painting, and in-fill and in-painting concealed the area of loss. Deep and careful cleaning had a dramatic effect on the colors, enriching them back to their original shades. The frame was cleaned, backed-up, and re-fortified to return its structural stability. The degradation of the ornamentation was left as is, per the customer’s bidding.

Edwin Cole was born in Shrewsbury in 1868, the son of artists T.W. Cole and Mary Elizabeth Lewis. Be is best known for landscapes and Shropshire scenes. He began his career as an heraldic artist and painter of church windows, but then became Shrewsbury’s most successful painter. Several works of his are in the National Collection, including Untitled Landscape (Shrewsbury Museum), Lloyd’s Mansion (Shrewsbury Museum) and Abbey Church from West, 1886 (Shrewsbury Museum).

Koepf Collection and Miller Fenwood Frames

We’re excited to showcase some of the Koepf paintings that been restored and housed in our custom frames. In case you’re not familiar with Werner Koepf (1909-1992), we are in the process of changing that: by working with the Koepf estate we are restoring and framing the collection and then jointly pursuing auction. The paintings included below not only exhibit the range of Koepf as an artist, but they also give us the opportunity to use our own framing prowess to marry the painterly qualities in a way that enhances both.

Naugatuck River Valley measures 36″ x 18″ and it received a Whistler 314 frame.

 

This triptych comprised of Still Life, Industry, The Catch, all received Modernist Dutch frames. Each painting is about 18″ x 30.”

 

Wellfleet (Cape Cod) received a Modernist white oak frame. The painting is 24″ x 30.”

 

Dry Docks #5 received a Marin Modernist frame. The painting is 40″ x 26.”

Werner Koepf was born in Neckarsulum, Baden-Württemberg, Germany and emigrated with his parents and brother to the United States in 1929. During the Great Depression he worked as a house painter. In 1937 his work was prominently mentioned in the New York Times’ review of The Society of Independent Artists 19th Annual Exhibition. With his talent he gained many connections in the art world: Morris Kantor, a trustee of Contemporary Arts arranged three scholarships for Koepf at the Art Students League from 1937-1939, and Daniel Catton Rich, the Director of Fine Arts at the Art Institute of Chicago paved the way for his inclusion in the Institute’s 52nd Annual Exhibition of American Paintings and Sculpture in 1941.

Koepf served in the US Army during World War II. Starting as a translator, between 1942-1945, he was then transferred to the European Theater where he served with the 496th Heavy Automotive Ordnance Company. In November 1945, he returned to the United States and settled in Derby, Connecticut.

In 1952 he was accepted into Yale University where he was awarded the prize for outstanding achievement in the School of Fine Arts for 1952-1953 by Josef Albers. Maintaining his European contacts, Koepf showed numerous paintings, including one man shows in Paris, Stockholm, and Bremen.

Werner Koepf died at his home in March of 1992.

Landscape Restored

This painting suffered from a dry canvas that eventually led to paint loss, and unfortunately it occurred in the lightest, most noticeable area of the painting, the patch of sky.

After careful cleaning and re-lining, to improve the foundational strength, in-fill and in-painting concealed the areas of loss. The stretcher bar was given a lift, allowing the canvas to sit free, and the original frame backed-up to accommodate the new dimensions.

While the signature was done a nice legible color, we were not able to decipher the spelling and could not, no matter the scope of our searches, identity the artist.

Chaung Che Figure & Landscape No. 2

This diptych, Figure & Landscape No. 2, by Chuang Che (1934-) is the seventh work by the artist that has come through our studio in recent years. Oriental art is very popular right now, and Chuang Che has a fascinating global biography, including Michigan connections, as you might have guessed by the number of his works that have passed through our doors. Be sure to read about his globetrotting below, and also at the very bottom, the last photograph, which gives a wonderful summation of his artistic aim and journey. Figure & Landscape No. 2 was executed in 1970 and measures about 34 1/2″ x 95.”

Chuang Che was born in Beijing, China. His father was the Vice-Director of the National Palace Museum and a calligrapher. He was a great influence on Chuang and the unlimited access to the treasures of the Museum had a lasting impact on his work. The family moved to Taiwan in 1948 where Chuang enlisted in the Taiwan Normal University to study Fine Art. He was taught by the likes of Chu Teh-Chun and other modernist Chinese artists who encouraged the influence of the West. In 1958 he became a founding member of the Fifth Moon Group, whose aim was to fuse the traditional practices of the East with modern techniques of the Western avant-garde. Chuang became immersed in the modernist movement which was flourishing in Taiwan at the time.

In 1966, Chuang won the J.D. Rockefeller III scholarship to travel to the US. The following year, the Cleveland Art Museum and the Detroit Institute of Arts purchased some of his works. In 1968 he visited his teacher Chu Teh-Chun in Paris, where he also met Zao Wou-Ki, with whom Che found a strong artistic connection. He also travelled to Spain and met abstract artist Antoni Tapies.

Chuang moved to Ann Arbor, Michigan in 1972 and finally settled in New York in 1988, where he became an assistant to abstract expressionist sculptor Seymour Lipton.

Chuang Che was greatly inspired by Monet’s Nymphéas series. His own paintings are a combination of traditional Chinese landscapes and his influences from Western Abstract Expressionism. As a result, Chuang Che is labelled as a pioneering figure in Chinese Abstraction. His adaptation of Eastern technique to western materials enables him to fluidly combine these two influences.

Chuang Che’s work has been shown in museums worldwide such as at the Hong Kong Art Museum, National Museum of History, Taipei and Saginaw Art Museum, Michigan. In 1992 the Taipei Fine Arts Museum held his first major retrospective and most recently held another in 2016.

Chuang Che lives and works in New York.

Édouard Cortès, Porte St Denis, De-fit and Clean

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.

ARTHUR SCHNEIDER DUCK PAINTINGS FINISHED

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.