This painting suffered from a considerable amount of dirt particulates across the surface as well as a very thin and fragile canvas. Numerous holes had occurred along the edges, including one good-sized hole along the bottom middle, and canvas degradation had greatly compromised the edges of the canvas.
The painting was de-fit and carefully cleaned. We had hoped that cleaning would render the signature more legible, but this was not the case. New archival linen was adhered to the reverse to bolster the foundation. In-fill consolidated the holes along the perimeter and in-painting concealed these areas. It took three rounds of cleaning due to the extreme amount of particulates on the canvas, which also included fly specks that had to be meticulously and carefully treated by a scalpel. A new stretcher bar and new frame with sgraffito with an archival fit rounded out the restoration.
A couple of like-themed watercolors came in with similar issues. Dirt particulates across the surface of the font, and on the back acidic tape and adhesive had transferred acidic compounds to the paper which led to staining. As far as the watercolor paint, both came in with compromised portions. These parts were in-painted to return them to their original state. We prepare some before-and-after to highlight how dramatic this effect can be even for a watercolor.
The watercolor with the two fishing shanties is by Nathaniel Steinberg (1893 – 1976) and the watercolor with the dredge is by an unknown artist. We restored another Steinberg watercolor back in 2017 and you can that blog here.
A quick update here to show the wow factor with some before and after photographs. Some of the “after” photographs are not true finals, and despite that the transformation is still very impressive. We hope you enjoy these as much as we have in making them. Our current has shifted all the way up to the belvedere. Stay tuned for more…
This painting by Wayne Cooper (1942-) came in with heavy dirt particulates across the surface from tar and nicotine, and also a tear in the middle of the canvas. Careful cleaning lifted the particulates, of which there were plenty, but the shift in color tones was not as dramatic as it sometimes can be. We’ve included a halfway cleaned shot where you can clearly see the difference, but the Cooper palette and its Western ruggedness proved to be both thematic and impervious to our cleaning efforts. It’s a stark, weathered landscape with a series of white doors drawing the eye from edge to edge. There is some in-fill we’ve done, also white, along the central building, which is where the tear was and is now where our patch has been sutured to. In-painting will conceal this area. Stay tuned for more…
Wayne Cooper was born in 1942 near Depew, Oklahoma. His talent was recognized at an early age, leading to intense training with Woody Crumbo, the Famous Artist School, Gary Artist League, Valparaiso University, the American Atelier in New York City and the Cowboy Artist of America Museum in Kerrville, Texas and with such well-known artists as Joe Beeler and Howard Terpning.
Cooper’s professional career started in 1964 in Chicago. He lived, painted and sculpted in New York City from 1974 to 1981. He returned to Oklahoma to paint and sculpt Western subjects. Wayne Cooper’s works are represented in collections throughout the world, both public and private. Many museums are proud to include his paintings and sculpture in their collections, including the Will Rogers Museum in Claremore, Oklahoma; the Oklahoma Heritage Museum; and the American Indian Museum in Catoosa, Oklahoma. He has also been commissioned to do several large-scale oil paintings for the Senate in the Capitol Building in Oklahoma City.
Our progress is ramping up. With the fine detail restoration of all the portraits on the wall we now have some new faces watching us work. We also ran PH tests to learn more about the paint. The tricky stairwell has been attacked above and below, and presents a big canvas for us to try more of our marble painting which has turned out rather well on the leading walls. We are very proud and excited by the results so far, but we also humbly know that we have to turn the corner a few times with a project of this size. Enjoy the photographs and video.
This eagle sculpture has quite the lore. Originally, it’s believed that it was going to be installed in a first class smoking room of the HMHS Britannic, a sister ship of the Olympic and the Titanic. However, the HMHS Britannic was refitted as a hospital ship for WWI and the sculpture ended up in a pub known was as the”Britannic Room.” Unfortunately, the HMHS Britannic was sunk in 1916 after reportedly hitting a mine. We don’t know for certain if the sculpture was ever installed on the HMHS Britannic: the ship was laid down in 1911 and launched in 1914 and completed in 1915.
The legend continues that in 2015 or so, the “Britannic Room,” was demolished; it was part of a hotel. And a worker with a keen eye pulled the sculpture from a dumpster. We have one photograph displaying the eagle intact–it is an old, low-resolution photograph without the eagle as the focal point, but our research is ongoing and we hope to find more clues.
We are in the process of putting together this “jigsaw puzzle,” and with further research we hope to find some evidence as for the exact composition whereby we’ll recreate the missing pieces, re-attach all parts, and then apply finishing colors to marry all of the sections together.
This oil on canvas depicting a landscape scene with a house reminiscent of the famed Isaac Potts House, otherwise known as Washington’s Headquarters at Valley Forge, is unfortunately in a condition that looks like it suffered a few winters at Valley Forge. Above the house is a large tear that was easy to note on the first inspection. However, once we de-fit the painting and turned it over, we realized there were many more tears. The canvas is extremely dry and fragile, and the edges are in a poor and compromised state.
We’ve removed the old restoration efforts in favor of something more substantial. A re-line will greatly improve the structural foundation of the painting, and give it the interior and perimeter strength it greatly needs. The previous tear repairs were removed since they involved a thick material, and, after re-lining, this thickness would cause the material to show through to the front, like an imprint. Rather than have that, we carefully removed them, and then re-lined the canvas with an archival linen.
Finishing touches to the front of the canvas need to be carried out. We’ll address the major tear and conceal it with in-painting. Stay tuned for more…
This drawing by Jean-François Millet (1814-1875) came in with foxing on the paper, which caused brownish discoloration. There were also dirt particulates across the surface.
Select chemistry baths lifted the foxing and helped return the original color to the paper as well as halt the future spread. A custom Dutch Frame with white gold was prepared, and a rice-paper hinge was used to secure the drawing to a heavy 8-ply mat. Museum glass, besides filtering UV-light, is also know for how well it handles the glare of lights, as seen in the last photograph, provided the quintessential touch of a restoration: unnoticed. We are very pleased with how the frame compliments the drawing and pulls the viewer’s eye inward, to accentuate the dynamic line strokes of Millet.
Jean-François Millet, (born October 4, 1814, Gruchy, near Gréville, France—died January 20, 1875, Barbizon), French painter renowned for his peasant subjects.
Millet spent his youth working on the land, but by the age of 19 he was studying art in Cherbourg, France. In 1837 he arrived in Paris and eventually enrolled in the studio of Paul Delaroche, where he seems to have remained until 1839.
After the rejection of one of his entries for the Salon of 1840, Millet returned to Cherbourg, where he remained during most of 1841, painting portraits. He achieved his first success in 1844 with The Milkmaid and a large pastel, The Riding Lesson, that has a sensual character typical of a large part of his production during the 1840s.
The peasant subjects, which from the early 1850s were to be Millet’s principal concern, made their first important appearance at the Salon of 1848 with The Winnower, later destroyed by fire. In 1849, after a period of great hardship, Millet left Paris to settle in Barbizon, a small hamlet in the forest of Fontainebleau.
He continued to exhibit paintings of peasants, and, as a result, periodically faced the charge of being a socialist. Letters of the period defending Millet’s position underline the fundamentally classical nature of his approach to painting.
By the mid-1860s, Millet’s work was beginning to be in demand. Official recognition came in 1868, after nine major paintings had been shown at the exposition of 1867. Important collections of Millet’s pictures are to be found in the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, and in the Louvre.
This oil on canvas by Guy Carleton Wiggins (1883-1962) has a very dry canvas which has led to several severe craquelures across the surface, as well as thinning of the canvas along the edges, resulting in a few small holes and a strip of threadbare canvas. Dirt particulates cover the surface, and once those are removed we expect the original paint colors to emerge.
In addition to the cleaning, this painting will be re-lined to give it foundational support. With the method we use, this process will also address the craquelures, laying them flat with the paint surface. In addition, in-filling and in-painting will conceal these areas. We currently have removed it from its stretcher bar and have cleaned the back where a fair amount of dust and debris was waiting for us. Stay tuned for more…
Guy Wiggins, the noted American Impressionist and one of the foremost artists affiliated with the art colony at Old Lyme, Connecticut, was born in Brooklyn, New York, in 1883. He was the son of Carleton Wiggins, a prominent painter associated with the American Barbizon School. He spent the early years of his life in England where he received a grammar school education and traveled throughout Europe.
Following in his father’s footsteps, Wiggins became interested in painting and drawing during his boyhood. His creative and technical abilities were acknowledged at the age of eight, when various New York critics publicly praised a group of watercolors he had done in France and Holland. He received his first serious training in architectural draughtsmanship when he studied architecture at the Brooklyn Polytechnic Institute around 1900. However his artistic inclination proved stronger and he went on to enroll at the National Academy of Design in New York where his teachers included William Merritt Chase and Robert Henri. Recognition and critical acclaim soon followed. When he was age twenty, one of Wiggins’ works had been purchased for the Permanent Collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art. He received numerous awards and prizes on a regular basis, including the prestigious Norman Wait Harris Bronze Medal from the Art Institute of Chicago in 1917. Two years later he was elected a full Academician of the National Academy.
During these years, Wiggins spent most of his time in New York, where he specialized in urban snow scenes, often painted from the windows of Manhattan office buildings. He also produced many landscapes in New England. By 1920, however, he had moved to an old farm in Hamburg Cove, Connecticut, a picturesque area in Lyme Township. His father, a resident of Old Lyme since 1915, had introduced his son to the area during the early years of Wiggins’ childhood, when the family made frequent trips to the colony. Wiggins had also spent various summers in Old Lyme while living in New York, establishing an early connection with the Connecticut Academy of Fine Arts. During the 1920’s and 1930’s Wiggins divided his time between Hamburg Cove and New York. His reputation at that point was based primarily on his winter scenes. However, his Connecticut summer landscapes, fresh and spontaneous in conception, are now considered an important and equally innovative part of his oeuvre.
In 1937, Wiggins moved to Essex, Connecticut, where he founded the Guy Wiggins Art School as well as the Essex Painters Society. He also made frequent painting trips throughout the United States, going as far west as Montana. He remained devoted to the Impressionist aesthetic throughout his long and prolific career, despite the fact that American art had moved in other directions.
Wiggins died while vacationing in St. Augustine, Florida, in 1962. He is buried in Old Lyme. In addition to his membership at the National Academy, he also belonged to and exhibited at the Lyme Art Association, the Lotos Club, the National Arts Club and the Salmagundi Club. Examples of his work can be found in major public and private collections throughout the United Stated including the Chicago Art Institute, the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C. and the Brooklyn Museum.