Werner Koepf Collection

A couple years in the making, the Werner Koepf collection is now available at Armstrong De Graaf International Fine Art located in Saugatuck, Michigan, as well as our Holland studio. More information at www.adgifa.com.

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.

Picasso Peace Dove in Custom Spanish Ear Carved Corner Frame

This work on paper suffered from dirt particulates across the surface and acid stains stemming from tape adhesive. Over time the condition of the paper had turned dry. Careful cleaning removed the dirt particulates and select chemistry baths neutralized and lifted the stains while also adding hydration to the paper. The tape and tape residue was carefully removed.

A new custom hand carved frame was prepared in the Spanish style with carved corners gilded in golden and the columns gilded in white gold.

Georges Braque Works on Paper

These prints by Georges Braque (1882-1963) had been glued onto the reverse of their top mat and had suffered from heavy foxing. The print with the white bird also has fungal and mold invasions, and is also peculiar in that a shellac-like material was applied to the surface but not the back. This means that water will absorb on the reverse and not the front, and these different absorptions rates are notorious for causing wrinkles.

Restoration is ongoing with the white bird print, technically known as L’oiseau de feu (Oiseau XIII). Each bird received its own water (chemistry) bath, and soon they’ll be able to migrate back home with new mats and archival hinging.

Georges Braque was born on May 13, 1882, in Argenteuil-sur-Seine, France.  He grew up in Le Havre and studied evenings at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts from about 1897 to 1899.  He left for Paris to study under a master decorator to receive his craftsman certificate in 1901.

From 1902 to 1904 he painted at the Académie Humbert in Paris, where he met Marie Laurencin and Francis Picabia.  By 1906 Braque was doing work which was no longer Impressionist but Fauve in style.  After spending that summer in Antwerp with Othon Friesz, he showed his Fauve work the following year in the Salon des Indépendants exhibition in Paris.

His first solo show was at Daniel-Henri Kahnweiler’s gallery in 1908. From 1909 Pablo Picasso and Braque worked together in developing Cubism; by 1911 their styles were extremely similar.  In 1912 they started to incorporate collage elements into their paintings and to experiment with the papier collé (pasted paper) technique.  Their artistic collaboration lasted until 1914.  Braque served in the French army during World War I and was wounded; upon his recovery in 1917 he began a close friendship with Juan Gris.

After World War I, Braque’s work became freer and less schematic.  His fame grew in 1922 as a result of an exhibition at the Salon d’Automne in Paris.  In the mid-1920s Braque designed the decor for two Sergei Diaghilev ballets.  By the end of the decade, he had returned to a more realistic interpretation of nature, although certain aspects of Cubism always remained present in his work.  In 1931 Braque made his first engraved plasters and began to portray mythological subjects.  His first important retrospective took place in 1933 at the Kunsthalle Basel.  He won first prize at the Carnegie International, Pittsburgh, in 1937.

During World War II, Braque remained in Paris.  His paintings at that time, primarily still lifes and interiors, became more somber.  In addition to paintings, Braque also made lithographs, engravings, and sculptures.  From the late 1940s he treated various recurring themes such as birds, ateliers, landscapes, and seascapes.  In 1954 he designed stained-glass windows for the church of Varengeville.  During the last few years of his life, Braque had ill health which prevented him from undertaking further large-scale commissions, but he continued to paint, make lithographs, and design jewelry.

He died on August 31, 1963, in Paris.

Mick Jagger 138 by Wandy Warhol in Custom American Vinyl Frame

This is one of the 10 Warhol prints of Mick Jagger that were done in 1975. Warhol and Jagger had met in 1964 at a party in New York during the Rolling Stones’ first US tour at a time when both parties were beginning their rise to fame. They would go on to become close friends and to collaborate several times during their careers, including the Rolling Stones cover for Sticky Fingers that Warhol designed.

This print is known as Mick Jagger 138 and had unfortunately not been archivally hinged. Due to this, there were 16 places were acids had migrated from cardboard fillets and affected the internals of the framing. The frame was also not sealed, and over time air-borne contaminates had made their way inside.

After a careful de-fit the print was dipped in chemistry solutions to neutralize the acid contaminants and then dried flat with blotters. Archival hinging techniques and materials then placed the print in a our new, custom American Vinyl Frame that swapped the original frames silver color for a more arresting black that accentuated Jagger’s eyes and hair. To top off the framing, an 8-ply white rag with foam core and museum glass and an extra deep fillet were going. We’re very glad to get Jagger back into rockin’ shape.