To Collect and Conserve: A Behind-The-Scenes Look Into Norm Bobins' Collection

To Collect and Conserve: A Behind-The-Scenes Look Into Norm Bobins' Collection

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.

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Conserving the Condemned: The Last Judgement

Conserving the Condemned: The Last Judgement

There are certain iconic scenes in art that everyone from the casual museum-goer to the serious art collector can recognize instantly.  Scenes including the Last Supper, the rising of Apollo’s chariot, and the triumph of David over Goliath have been depicted by artists across the span of art history, and though the style and medium of these artworks may vary, the scenes remain easily identifiable. Another of these iconic scenes is that of the Last Judgement.  Artworks imagining the moment when the fate of souls is determined for eternity can be seen everywhere from the Sistine Chapel to local church walls. So when a large-scale painting of the signature scene came to The Conservation Center in need of treatment, we were honored to play a role in its conservation and preservation.

I Want To Believe: Conserving Yinka Shonibare MBE's Aliens

I Want To Believe: Conserving Yinka Shonibare MBE's Aliens

Not so long ago in the present galaxy, not so far away,  The Conservation Center conserved a pair of Aliens created by Yinka Shonibare MBE.  

Shonibare was born in London and moved to Lagos, Nigeria when he was three. He later returned to his British origins to pursue a career in Fine Arts. As a painter, sculptor, photographer, and filmmaker Shonibare’s trademark medium is batik fabric, as seen in these Alien sculptures.

 

Marching to the Beat of His Own Drum: The Civil War Drum of John Alexander Parker

Marching to the Beat of His Own Drum: The Civil War Drum of John Alexander Parker

It was in September of 1862 when 15-year-old John Alexander Parker enlisted in the 18th Illinois Volunteer Infantry Regiment of the Union Army. Although the minimum age requirement for enlisting was 18, it wasn’t unusual for younger boys to join. Often referenced as “The Boys’ War,” the Civil War provided a variety of positions for male youths. For John Alexander Parker, his role in the war was rooted in song: he was charged with carrying the Regiment’s drum.

Rebirth of the Jewel (in the Lotus): The Conservation of Buddhist Figures

Rebirth of the Jewel (in the Lotus): The Conservation of Buddhist Figures

January is the time of year that many of us consider new beginnings and fresh starts. Many of us resolve to be more conscientious about our diets, exercise more frequently, and to be more mindful and compassionate in our interactions with others. It is in this spirit of renewal that we feature the recent rebirth through conservation of two Buddhist statues. Purchased by our clients at auction in 2001 the statues, not unlike all sentient beings, had suffered with the passage of time. 

Frame and Fortune: Displaying "Little Lions" Album Artwork

Frame and Fortune: Displaying "Little Lions" Album Artwork

Bill Lear is a staple at The Conservation Center.  Not only have we collaborated on maintaining his extensive collection, his is an active member of our Advisory Board.  Over the years we have come to know that there is always an incredible story with Bill's projects. Past projects have ranged from conserving Army discharge papers from the 1800's to fabricating a display for his commemorative Tibetan yak bell acquired during his summit of Mount Everest.  So when he arrived at The Center with two signed Shepard Fairey pieces to be framed, we knew we had to ask. 

To Have And To Hold From This Day Forward

To Have And To Hold From This Day Forward

Recently, while on a visit to her mother’s house, a client of The Conservation Center rediscovered a photograph that she remembered as a constant fixture in her childhood home. She found the photographic portrait, which had hung in her family dining room, in a box alongside an old marriage certificate. Treasuring her memories of the photograph, and wanting the pieces to last for generations to come, our client entrusted The Center with the conservation of the two pieces, and decided to learn more about the items.

Time For A Tune Up: A Wall Clock Receives A New Face

Time For A Tune Up: A Wall Clock Receives A New Face

One thing that makes The Center unique is our ability to have several departments collaborate to deliver superior results and develop innovative treatments. Recently, a wall clock came to us for treatment that afforded such an opportunity. Upon arrival, it was noted that the frame of the clock was composed of wood, compo, gesso, metal leaf, brown bole, and toner. The clock's glass was broken, and there were nails missing from the decorative brass edging around the glass.

Go, Cubs, Go!

Go, Cubs, Go!

November was an exciting month for the city of Chicago, as Cubs fans celebrated the team’s first World Series victory since 1908. Dedicated fans have waited decades, and families loyal to the team have waited generations to see the Cubs crowned World Series champions. Through all of the ups and downs, fans have stuck by the team, collecting memorabilia every step of the way. It comes as no surprise, then, that over the years The Conservation Center has seen a number of Cubs-related works come through the doors for treatment.

Time Capsule Reveal at Rush University Medical Center

Time Capsule Reveal at Rush University Medical Center

The Conservation Center recently worked with Rush University Medical Center's archivist Nathalie Wheaton to unveil the contents of several time capsules recovered on Rush's campus during an excavation in August. 

The time capsules dated back more than a century, and were recovered from the cornerstones of Presbyterian Hospital's Daniel A. Jones Memorial Building, Rush Medical College's Senn Hall, and Rawson Laboratory. Materials inside the capsules ranged from the 1800s to 1924, and The Center worked with Rush to remove and document the contents inside two of the three recovered capsules.

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