Informal by Tadeusz Kantor

This oil panting by Tadeusz Kantor (1915 – 1990) called Informal came in not needing a whole lot of work–it’s on its way to auction. We did address the surface contaminates that were across the painting. You can see how much we were able to get based on the pictures with the cotton tips. Kantor used very interesting techniques with translucent gel-coatings that are similar to vanish but have pigments that create a skin-like surface. Due to this we exercised caution and conservatism when cleaning the painting.

Tadeusz Kantor (6 April 1915 – 8 December 1990) was a Polish painter, assemblage artist, set designer and theatre director. Kantor is renowned for his revolutionary theatrical performances in Poland and abroad.

Born in Wielopole Skrzynskie, Galicia (then in Austria-Hungary), Kantor graduated from the Cracow Academy in 1939. During the Nazi occupation of Poland, he founded the Independent Theatre, and served as a professor at the Academy of Fine Arts in Kraków as well as a director of experimental theatre in Kraków from 1942 to 1944. After the war, he became known for his avant-garde work in stage design including designs for Saint Joan (1956) and Measure for Measure (1956). Specific examples of such changes to standard theatre were stages that extended out into the audience, and the use of mannequins as real-life actors.

Disenchanted with the growing institutionalization of avant-garde, in 1955 he with a group of visual artists formed a new theatre ensemble called Cricot 2. In the 1960s, Cricot 2 gave performances in many theatres in Poland and abroad, gaining recognition for their stage happenings. His interest was mainly with the absurdists and Polish writer and playwright Stanislaw Ignacy Witkiewicz (also known as “Witkacy”). Stage productions of Witkacy’s plays The Cuttlefish (1956) and The Water Hen (1969) were regarded as his best achievements during this time. A 1972 performance of The Water Hen was described as “the least-publicized, most talked-about event at the Edinburgh festival”.

Dead Class (1975) was the most famous of his theatre pieces of the 1970s. In the play, Kantor himself played the role of a teacher who presided over a class of apparently dead characters who are confronted by mannequins which represented their younger selves. He had begun experimenting with the juxtaposition of mannequins and live actors in the 1950s.

His later works of the 1980s were very personal reflections. As in Dead Class, he would sometimes represent himself on stage. In the 1990s, his works became well known in the United States due to presentations at Ellen Stewart’s La MaMa Experimental Theatre Club, which inspired Lower East Side cultural leaders such as the Nuyorican poet Giannina Braschi.[1]

Throughout his life, Kantor had an interesting and unique relationship with Jewish culture, despite being a nominal Catholic, Kantor incorporated many elements of what was known as “Jewish theatre” into his works.

Kantor died in Kraków.

Fish Fertilizer Canvas Banner Waterbath

Time for “catch and release” for this fish fertilizer banner. We had it swimming around in a large water bath at our new studio. We used our filtered water and select chemistry to get at the dirt contaminates, which came off so easily they clouded the water. We captured some of this on video. This guy’s not quite ready to be released fully. Check back 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.

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.

JOHAN FRIEDRICH LUDWIG NAUTICAL PAINTING FINISHED

This work by Johan Friedrich Ludwig (19th Century) had suffered a substantial tear, and two lesser ones. There was also mold growing in the paint film, and had unfortunately spread beyond the varnish; in our initial assessment we had hoped that  it was contained.

From the reverse all of the tears were sutured to provide minimal abrasions to the front. In-fill and in-paint were carried out on the front with original colors to conceal the areas. All active mold was taken care, which did leave some residue behind that could have only been removed if the paint film itself was removed. A sheet of aluminum backing was adhered to the stretcher bar to give maximum stability. The date of the painting is 1928, and its canvas was a lightweight material and had started to deteriorate. Careful cleaning lightened the color of the paint film, as well as the frame.

 

 

Winter Landscape

A thick layer of smoke covered the paint surface of this Snowscape with Creek. Initial testing revealed the extent of the damage, and how transformational the removal would be. Careful cleaning removed these contaminates from the front, and micro vacuuming cleaned the reverse. Conservation varnish finished the restoration.

The artist is Claire Polmateer. She worked in the Traverse City area in the 1930’s, and is documented as serving as an art judge by the Traverse City Record-Eagle newspaper.

Joseph Warner landscape of Longfellow Mountains

This oil on canvas by Joseph Warner (1876 – 1908) was very dry and ready to break from the linen. Tar and nicotine stains covered the entire front surface, and there was some mold on the painting. Deep cleaning removed the tar and nicotine stains, having a dramatic effect, and re-lining gave the painting a stronger foundation, helping support the canvas and give a good foundation to repair a few small holes on the surface. More support was added through hydration, which we were able to apply directly. This was followed with in-painting to conceal the holes and the areas of loss. The original frame was cleaned and backed-up to allow the painting to sit in a way that placed less stress on it.

Joseph Warner was an American bird’s-eye view artist and publisher active in the late 19th century. Warner appears to have worked with the prolific view artist Albert Ruger. Little is known of Warner’s life and only three known views bear his imprint: Portland, Maine; Fenton, Michigan (1880); and Zeeland, Michigan (1907). Two of these were published by Joseph Stoner. He is further known to have worked as an agent for Ruger in the publication of Ruger’s 1879 view of East Saginaw. There is little else known of his life or work. The August 22, 1879 issue of the Daily Courierof Saginaw, Michigan had a mention of the artist, “Mr. Joseph Warner is in the city canvassing for subscribers for a bird’s eye view of East Saginaw.”

Cora Bliss Taylor Floral Finished

Finishing touches to this Cora Bliss Taylor (1889-1986) painting included a re-line and infill with in-painting. The brushwork employed by the artist is on thicker side, which makes it more difficult to capture a clear shot for how the cleaning brought out fuller and richer color tones. A large amount of surface contaminates were removed, however, and this improved the clarity which is important for a delicate subject matter that also contains strong contrasts in color. Infilling provided the new surface to return lost areas with in-painting.

Cora Bliss Taylor was born in Cincinnati, Ohio, on April 14, 1889. Her father was a veteran of the Civil War and passed away when she was 1 years old. During her childhood, the family traveled around the United States, and France when she was 11 years old, which is where she received her first art lessons.

Cora visited Saugatuck, Michigan, which was to become her home, on her honeymoon in 1914, with her husband, James W. Taylor, a Chicago attorney. She studied painting at the Art Institute of Chicago with Leon Kroll and Leopold Seyffert; Charles W. Hawthorne, Provincetown, Massachusetts; Andre L. Hote in Paris; Morris Kantor, Art Students League, New York; and Vance Kirkland, Denver University. She was a contemporary of Georgia O’Keefe.

Her paintings are hanging at Hope College, Holland, Michigan; Saugatuck Masonic Lodge, Chicago Public Schools, a number of Women’s clubs, Emerson Unitarian Church, Houston, Texas; Sheridan Public Schools, Sheridan, Texas; and many private homes in Chicago, Western Michigan, and other areas of the country.

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.

Hoerman Capri Harbor

This Carl Hoerman (1885 – 1955) oil painting suffers from a brittle canvas that lacks strength, as well as a contaminated paint surface from tar and nicotine. Located through the signature is a bad scrape. In one of the windows, there is an area where the painting was hit, and two more scrapes exist in the sky on the right-hand side. The stretcher bar needs more lift to support the canvas, and the frame is contaminated with dirt, has cornering issues, and would help the canvas if it was backed-up. Therefore, it will also be restored.

Across the internet this painting has been called the Italian Harbor and was given a date of 1937. With a little cleaning we discovered the date, right next to Hoerman’s signature, is clearly a 27, and, after some investigation on the internet, we believe that, more specifically, the harborscene depicts a part of the island of Capri, based on the color of the buildings, the mountain structure in the background, and the landmark clocktower on the right hand portion of the painting that appears to be the Piazza Umberto I.

Stay tuned for more. As you can see from our cleaning tests, there is plenty of contamination that needs to come off.

Cora Bliss Taylor Floral

This oil painting suffers from paint loss and surface contaminates. Early cleaning tests have revealed the underlying color tones to be much brighter than what’s shown in its current state.

We would like to extend a sincere thank you to the Saugatuck Woman’s Club and the Saugatuck-Douglas Historical Society for hosting our lecture yesterday evening. It was a great experience to share our restoration abilities and what effects they can have on artwork, and the response we received was truly overwhelming. We strongly believe in community outreach and broadening culture, and we feel very fortunate for the opportunity we were given.

Cora Bliss Taylor was born in Cincinnati, Ohio, on April 14, 1889. Her father was a veteran of the Civil War and passed away when she was 1 years old. During her childhood, the family traveled around the United States, and France when she was 11 years old, which is where she received her first art lessons.

Cora visited Saugatuck, Michigan, which was to become her home, on her honeymoon in 1914, with her husband, James W. Taylor, a Chicago attorney. She studied painting at the Art Institute of Chicago with Leon Kroll and Leopold Seyffert; Charles W. Hawthorne, Provincetown, Massachusetts; Andre L. Hote in Paris; Morris Kantor, Art Students League, New York; and Vance Kirkland, Denver University. She was a contemporary of Georgia O’Keefe.

Mrs. Taylor won the Chicago Woman’s Aid Prize, Edward B. Butler Prize, and Fine Arts Building Prize from the Art Institute of Chicago where she exhibited a number of times. She also was accepted for a number of exhibitions at the Detroit Museum of Arts and won several prizes, including the American Association of University Women’s prize for her watercolor, “Abandoned”. In 1945, she won Honorable Mention for a painting exhibited at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts. She exhibited at the Chicago Galleries Association and other private galleries. Cora was a member of the Michigan Academy of Science, Arts and Letters, and is listed in the original edition of “Who’s Who of American Women”.

In 1931, she founded the Taylor Art School on Holland Street in Saugatuck, a summer art school, with visiting instructors. The Taylor Art Gallery attracted 2,000 visitors who signed the guest register that first year. In 1931, as Art Director of the Saugatuck Chamber of Commerce, she was instrumental in attracting many Chicago people to the Saugatuck area. Mrs. Taylor continued to teach painting for many years, specializing in children. Quite a few of her students went on to make a career in art.

Her paintings are hanging at Hope College, Holland, Michigan; Saugatuck Masonic Lodge, Chicago Public Schools, a number of Women’s clubs, Emerson Unitarian Church, Houston, Texas; Sheridan Public Schools, Sheridan, Texas; and many private homes in Chicago, Western Michigan, and other areas of the country.

Cora Bliss Taylor passed away at the age of 97 on April 21, 1986.