Auguste Musin Golden Rays on Coast at Days End

The oil painting by Auguste Musin (1852-1920), Golden Rays on Coast at Days End, came in with a very poor shape and a dry linen. These two issues combined to create craquelures and cupping. The varnish had yellowed, and there were serval contaminates on the surface, most noticeably those from smoke. On the reverse, there were two small strips of tape that covered three holes: the largest about an inch in size, the smaller two about a quarter of an inch. There was also some poor in-painting that had been executed at some point to try and hide the craquelures. On some of the sails, there was actual paint loss.

Once the painting was de-fit, careful micro-vacuuming was carried out on the front and the reverse. New Belgian linen was archivally adhered to the reverse, which strengthened the foundation. A heat press was used to lay down the paint film, addressing some of the cupping and craquelures, with further hydration administered with spot treatments to return pliancy to the paint film and help consolidate.

The old in-painting turned out to be more extensive than originally thought. All of it was removed. New linen threads were fixed to the reverse to fix the three holes. With the cupping and craquelures consolidated, areas of loss appeared, which is typical. We in-filled and then in-painted to conceal these areas. With the old varnish removed, new conservation varnish was applied.

The original frame had been glazed to hide imperfections. This glaze was removed, and the frame cleaned and conditioned. Broken ornamentation of the frame was repaired, and a back-up given for strength and depth. The stretcher bar was given a lift to help the canvas sit in the frame without undo stress.

Auguste Henri Musin was born on April 4, 1852 in Oostende, Belgium. He was a marine artist, and is known today as one of the top European marine artist of the 19th and early 20th century. His father, Francois Etienne Musin, also a highly noted marine artist, was a teacher for Auguste, but there are more modern approaches that can be seen in the work of the younger Musin.

In 1872, Musin started to participate quite successfully in important European and American venues. In 1889, at The Paris Salon, he was awarded an honorable mention, and a gold medal in Rouen, France as well as medals in London, Lille, Lorient, Periquex, Limoges, Marseille, Dunkerque, Reims and many more. He settled in Brussels and, like his father, became considered one of Belgium’s top marine artists. When he married, in 1872, he settled in England, near London. During the 1880s he worked for the magazines: The Graphic, The London Times, and the L’Univers Illustre.

His marines were painted in Oostende, Belgium and in Holland, Scheveningen, Noordwijk, Terneuzen, Rottendam and Dordrecht. He also painted in Brittany, France and Alicante, Spain. A large number of paintings were sold to the American market through dealers that exported his paintings.

Musin died in St. Joost-ten-Noode on December 10, 1920.

Today, his paintings can be found in private and public collections, worldwide, including in Belgium museums in Bruges, Brussels, Oostende, and Liege. They can also be found in museums in Madrid, Spain, and Reims, France.

 

Dredge on Barge Painting by Unknown Artist

This oil painting came in with a heavy amount of surface contaminates, a mold invasion, and craquelures. Craquelures are the fissure-looking lines that appear due to the layers of the painting, including the canvas, drying at different times, and then rubbing against each other.

After the painting was de-fit, we noticed how brittle the canvas was, and how the stretcher bar had claimed a section of its perimeter. New Belgian linen was archivally adhered to the reverse using a heat press. This greatly increased the foundational strength, which is one of the major causes for the craquelures; the heat press had the added benefit of helping to lay the craquelures flat.

Cleaning progressed until the whole paint surface had been completed. This turned out to be one of those cases that, when you think you’re done cleaning, you find out that there are even more layers. We switched to a secondary cleaning method that, chemically, has certain advantages, and the results were rather impressive in that it seemed like we removed as much dirt on the second cleaning as the first. There even emerged another person, as the derrick operator was rather hard to see before any of the cleaning.

In-filling was used on the areas of loss, which are common when consolidating craquelures. In-painting matched colors to the original. It was decided by the client to not salvage the signature, which had been largely compromised as it was on the extreme bottom-right corner, where it had tucked around the stretcher bar and sat and rubbed against the frame. This painting has lovely qualities, though, and now that it’s clean the intricacies of the brushstrokes and the dynamic play of the colors have brought the painting back to a state that it would now be about ready for the painter to sign it. A frame is forthcoming, but it’s important not to commit to a frame style and color until the painting has been cleaned and the true colors revealed. Stay tuned for more…

Before and After.

Manfred Henninger German Town Landscape

This landscape by Manfred Henninger (1894 – 1986) had previously been re-lined with wax, which is a technique that is seldom needed these days, and this instance of it had failed. On the front there were some cracks in the paint film, which were due to excessive drying.

It was a slow, and noisy, process to remove the old wax reline; but, careful scalpel work eventually got rid of it. New Belgian linen was added with a restorer’s adhesive. This fortified the foundation, which is going to greatly help the underlying issue as to why the cracks in the paint film appeared in the first place. Consolidation brought the cracked areas back to plane. Small, hairline losses were then in-filled and in-painted. There were a number of losses around the perimeter, which were the result of tacks that had been placed, we believe, to help hold the canvas for the wax re-line. This effectively shrunk the size of the painting, but with our new linen, providing a wider hold for the stretcher bar, we were able to undo this.

Born in Backnang, Germany, Henninger studied at the Stuttgart Academy of Fine Arts where Christian Landenberger, a notable landscape artist, was then a professor. With the outbreak of WWI, Henninger volunteered, but he never would never have the taste for war, and thereafter he considered himself a pacifist. In 1929 he co-founded the Stuttgart New Session, which abolished the jury system that had traditionally decided which works would be shown at exhibitions. For political reasons, Henninger emigrated to Switzerland, and then to Ibiza, an island in the Mediterranean which is said to have inspired a flurry of work, some 300 paintings. But war broke out in nearby Spain, and Henninger moved to Ticino, an italian-speaking region of southern Switzerland. Henninger went on to write essays for “Leaves for Art” in which he critiqued French Impressionism. In 1949 he was appointed to the State Academy of of Fine Arts in Stuttgart, where he led the classes for landscapes and portraits, teaching until 1961. His notable students included: Peter Kalkhof, Günther C. Kirchberger, Roland Ladwig and Friedrich Sieber. By the end of his life, Henninger had received many honors: in 1962, he became an honorary member of the Stuttgarter Kunstakademie; in 1975, he received the merit medal of the state of Baden-Württemberg; in 1979, he was given the Bürgermedaille of the city of Stuttgart and the Great Federal Service Cross; and in 1985, he was awarded the Hans Thoma Prize. He died, in Stuttgart, in 1986.

WA Knip Painting

Finally got to do some work outside…

The paper face method was used to lay down the cracking of the dry paint film while allowing the restorer adhesive, applied from the reverse, to seep all the way to the front. This creates a very tight and thorough bond of protection. Our wonderful, and recently fixed, heat press helped with warm temps at a strong atmospheric pressure to further consolidate the paint film.

Willem Alexander Knip was born in Amsterdam 1883. He studied at the artscool in Amsterdam and had painting lessons in Haarlem from J.J.C. Lebeau. He lived in Amsterdam and the surrounding areas, but also regularly worked in France, Italy, and Spain. He was known for his landscapes, harbor- and town-views. He won the St. Lucasperize in 1942 and the Artist-medaille in 1953. His works are the possession of the Rijkscollectie, Stedelijk Van Abbemuseum Eindhoven and the Singer Museum in Laren. He died in Blaricum in 1967.

Three Muses

This a very large painting, 84 3/4″ x 72,” and there were approximately 28 areas where the paint film and gesso layer have cracked and fallen away. This was likely due to it being folded for storage. There are areas where the varnish dripped and they show as more of a golden color. And on the lower right quadrant there are some instances of bat guano.

The painting has been carefully cleaned, and the 28 areas have been repaired and finished with in-painting to conceal them. The drips of varnish were removed and a new conservation varnish was applied. This varnish also has the benefit of not changing color with age. A new stretcher bar was made.

A new frame will be made in the style of Pre-Raphealite, 5 1/4,” with regular gold. A mock-up of the frame was been included as the last picture.

The title, 3 Muses, is our own title as neither it nor the name of the artist is known. However, the work has strong ties with the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood. Their artistic aim was a striving for deep religious feeling and naive, unadorned directness of 15th-century Florentine and Sienese painting. They used sharp and brilliant lighting, a clear atmosphere, and a near-photographic reproduction of minute details. Private poetic symbolism, biblical subjects and medieval literary themes were frequently portrayed.

The Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood lasted short of five years, yet its influence on painting in Britain, and ultimately on the decorative arts and interior design, was very profound.

Upon completion a large moving truck will be rented and the artwork transported back to the client. If you have any information about the artist’s identity, we would love to hear from you. Stay tuned for more…

Zhou Brothers “The Sun Hunter”

This painting from the Zhou Brothers, “The Sun Hunter,” was done in 1990. Mold invasions had strong holds along the bottom of the reverse and along the two sides. This is a mixed media artwork and the more turbulent surface is captured in some of the photographs. These turbulent areas were also capturing quite a bit of surface contaminates.

Da Huang & Shan Zuo have collaboratively painted together their entire art career. Their education includes a MFA in Painting, Fresco Painting at the National Academy for Arts in Beijing, and a BFA in Theater and Art at the University of Shanghai, Shanghai. They currently work from a studio located in Chicago, Illinois. The Zhou Bothers are internationally acclaimed in museums worldwide. Some of their achievements are the Distinguished Artist Award presented by the Organizing Committee of 2008, the United Nations Spring Festival in 2008, the Lincoln Award in 2006, the Golden Lion Award in 2005, and the American Immigrant Achievement Award in 2004.

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.

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.