Article Category: Frames & Gilding

The Importance of Heirloom Conservation

One of the misconceptions concerning work performed at an art treatment facility such as The Conservation Center is that an object or a piece of art must have significant value on the market to qualify for professional care. This is simply not the case. While many of our clients have high-end pieces that belong to large-scale collections and museums, our conservators also specialize in treating family antiques and heirlooms that have sentimental value.

Family heirlooms connect generations in a deep, personal way. From the handed down bible and grandmother’s knitted quilt, to a late 1800s baptismal gown and photos of a relative going off to war—anyone who has found or kept historic pieces in the family knows how moving they can be. These treasured items, passed down through the decades, provide insight into the lives of our ancestors and a richer understanding of our family's history.
 

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Photo Essay: "A Day in the Life" at The Conservation Center, Summer 2015

The weather's heating up, but there are no signs of slowing down at The Conservation Center. From intricate conservation projects to private tours, our staff is hard at work in West Town. To celebrate the new season, we are bringing back our popular "A Day in the Life" photo series. With our camera in hand, we wandered around the lab and captured some amazing images to share with you.

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Triumph of Teamwork: Conserving an Elaborate Spanish Colonial Frame

Our staff at The Conservation Center is always up for a good challenge, so when an elaborate frame surrounding a 17th-century Spanish Colonial painting (most likely from Peru) came to us for repairs recently, we rallied not one, but two conservators from different departments to collaborate on this project. Towering at 6 feet tall by 9 ½ feet wide, the sheer size of this frame is impressive enough before even considering the stunning craftsmanship and details worked into the edges and corners. The Center's Senior Gilder and Frames Conservator teamed up with our Senior Furniture Conservator and worked their magic on this amazing frame.

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"A Day in the Life" at The Conservation Center: Summer Edition

This year’s cool Chicago summer months flew by fast, but The Conservation Center has been brimming with activities. Our warehouse currently has a record-breaking 7,000 pieces currently in storage, waiting to be conserved--keeping our expert conservators challenged by exciting new projects that cross many disciplines. Our "A Day in the Life" photo essay  in January allowed readers a behind-the-scenes peek into The Conservation Center team at work. We’ve once again compiled a series of candid images, capturing a slice of daily life in our work space.

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The Conservation Center to Participate in EXPO Chicago 2014

The art world abuzz as galleries from around the world prepare to descend upon Chicago this September for the third annual International Exposition of Contemporary & Modern Art—or EXPO Chicago as it’s informally known. The Conservation Center is thrilled to announce its participation once again as the art fair’s official conservators and framers.

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Hello New York City! Introducing the Art Conservation Shuttle Service

Start spreading the news: The Conservation Center is truly excited to announce a remarkable partnership with Crozier Fine Arts—New York's foremost fine and decorative arts storage and logistics company. Together, we have launched the Art Conservation Shuttle, fully connecting The Center's interdisciplinary conservators in one the nation's largest art conservation labs to our friends and growing client base on the East Coast. New York's art community can now enjoy museum-quality, art conservation services with an efficient turnaround timetable at competitive costs.

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Expect the Unexpected: Recent Arrivals at The Conservation Center

On any given day, taking a walk through The Conservation Center’s 25,000 square foot facilities, with a 10,000 square foot storage space, is always quite an experience—because you’ll never know what kind of artworks and cultural objects you might encounter. Since our dedicated staff members are all art enthusiasts here at The Center, we love geeking out at the amazing items we work on every day. This spring, we have had the pleasure of either conserving or preserving some unexpected pieces. We’ve compiled a series of visual highlights documenting what makes The Conservation Center such a delightful place to work.  
 

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Gilded Brilliance: New Decorations for a Pair of 19th Century Frames

You may recall a story published in the December 2013 issue of our newsletter that featured Josh McCauley, The Center's Associate Conservator of Frames and Gilding, and his impressive restoration of a Revival-style frame for the Archdiocese of Rockford. Well, Josh sure outdid himself this time around. In the past couple of months, he spent more than 130 hours reconstructing decorations for a pair of 19th century frames, bringing them back to their original gilded brilliance.

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A Refreshed Frame for "Madonna and Child"

Just in time for the holidays, The Conservation Center completed extensive frame work for a beautiful Madonna and Child painting for the Diocese of Rockford collection. Josh McCauley, The Center’s Associate Conservator of Frames and Gilding, carved out new decorations by hand, showing off his true attention to detail and expert craftsmanship. Learn how the Madonna and Child frame was conserved.

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The Financial Lives of U.S. Presidents (and How We Conserved Them): The First National Bank of LaGrange (FNBLG)’s Presidential Checks Collection

The First National Bank of LaGrange (FNBLG) recently brought its Presidential Check Collection--one of the most comprehensive in the country--to The Center for conservation. This assemblage of checks written by 39 of the 43 U.S. presidents captures a unique piece of the American history and gives a glimpse back into the chief executives' professional and private financial lives.

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