The Center has been involved in hundreds of disaster response scenarios over the last 33 years, and we wanted to share a few recent stories that impart how incredibly rewarding and humbling this type of preservation work can be for all who are affected and involved.
The staff at The Center could not have been more thrilled when a former employee, Megan, brought in a James Jeffrey Grant painting for conservation. It was a lovely, serene landscape painting of cows grazing in a luscious green field. Before finding its current home, the painting hung above a fireplace in Megan’s relative’s home for over 30 years where it was exposed to extreme fluctuations in temperature. Due to this environment, the paint layer was severely compromised and exhibited significant areas of flaking paint overall. This lead to numerous areas of exposed canvas and hundreds of tiny puzzle-like paint pieces that were no longer adhered to the painting’s surface.
Dear Friends of The Center:
I am familiar with sharing stories about the life of an object of art but not about the life of a person. It is with great sadness that I share with you that Bob Glick, one of the long standing and dedicated contributors to The Center’s Advisory Board team, recently passed away on April 15, 2017.
The RCA 648PTK television cabinet was announced on August 27, 1947. With 992 units produced in 1947 and 2,500 units in produced in 1948, the television set was a marvel of technology for its time, boasting a 15” x 20” picture, 13 channel coverage, an FM sound system, and Phono input. Marketed as a “striking ‘show-piece,’” the technology was all housed in a sleek, contemporary wooden cabinet, that would “add pride to ownership” for anyone who purchased the piece.
At The Conservation Center, we are always excited to treat pieces that utilize a wide range of our conservators’ skills, and help to preserve important moments in our cultural history. So, when a RCA 648PTK television cabinet came to us from the Children’s Museum of Indianapolis with water damage, we were excited to discuss the treatment options available for the conservation of the piece.
At The Conservation Center we are very fortunate to be surrounded by amazing art everyday. It is an extraordinary opportunity to work so intimately with many great pieces created by artists you have studied your whole life. However during the day-to-day we often find ourselves focusing more on the physicality of the pieces as opposed to having discussions about the many artists that sparked our interest in this field in the first place. Read on to the end of this article to find out which artists are some of our team's favorites! Recently, we had the opportunity to conserve and frame one of our regular favorites, Alphonse Mucha.
After years of storage in a basement and, later, a garage, an old photo album our client acquired had fallen into disrepair. “The pictures were in disarray and I was devastated. I was just so sorry I didn’t take the proper care,” our client shared. The photographs of her mother, father, and young brother were taken in Virginia between 1935 and 1942. While in storage, they had become discolored and distorted from age and exposure to moisture and temperature fluctuations. Motivated by a desire to restore the photographs and share them with her family, Shirley brought the album to The Conservation Center.
The Conservation Center recently had the privilege of conserving two lithographs that were damaged by Hurricane Katrina. Our client inherited A Midnight Race on the Mississippi by Currier & Ives and J.J. Audubon’s Purple Martin (Calabash) from their parents in New Orleans. The pieces had been living in a second-floor storage unit when Hurricane Katrina blew through and ripped the roof off the facility, causing water to seep into the unit.
The Center recently had the remarkable opportunity to work on a large tapestry created by Marc Chagall. The piece, which is one of only three works by the artist in Chicago, remained unfinished at the time of the Chagall's death. Created and commissioned with the intention to uplift and inspire, the work features a unique and vibrant blue that, for the artist, symbolized hope.
Click here to watch the video.
At The Conservation Center, we have the distinct privilege of seeing a remarkable variety of artworks and heirlooms come through our doors. We also have the privilege of getting to learn a bit about varied passions of the many dedicated collectors that seek conservation, and what it is that makes each of their collections unique.
To watch the video, click here.