With many different departments working together here at The Conservation Center, we understand the value of teamwork. On certain occasions, this means working hand in hand with other companies and specialists to develop the correct treatment approach for a unique piece. When we received a call regarding a large public sculpture at the Greater Des Moines Botanical Garden that had been struck by a car, we knew right away that engaging some of our trusted vendors to assist our team with the repairs may be necessary.
The Conservation Center is proud to be part of a vast community of individuals and institutions dedicated to conserving the past. We recently had the opportunity to work with such an institution, the Oak Park Public Library, to help conserve a part of their history.
As the skies clear up and bright summer days begin, we felt it was only fitting to feature a landscape that recently underwent a similar experience. When the painting first came to The Center, our conservators quickly noted that the varnish layer had discolored, and the piece would likely brighten significantly if the varnish was removed.
The face of our first president, George Washington, has become familiar due to the immortalizing portrait of him painted by Gilbert Stuart in the mid-18th century. What isn’t familiar is the name Jane Stuart, Gilbert’s daughter, who was a painter herself. Although she created her own compositions and even held her own studio in Boston in the mid-19th century, Jane is best known for the meticulous copies made of her father’s work in an attempt to help keep his legacy alive. Recently, one of Jane's copies came through The Center’s doors with a substantial round tear below the portrait's left eye.
Some works of art are meant to take you by surprise; a sculpture that came into The Center recently did just that. Half deer and half man, this curious ceramic and felt piece came without an explanation or backstory. However, it did come with a broken hoof and several other complications for our conservators to address.
Here at The Center, we are always eager to study new methods of treating objects and learn about advancements in the field. That is why we were honored to host the Chicago Area Conservation Group’s Gellan Gum Mini-Workshop on March 13th. The Chicago Area Conservation Group (CACG) is a local group whose purpose is to promote learning and exchange ideas among those interested in or responsible for the preservation of artwork and archives of all kinds.
Although he is widely recognized for his paintings, Salvador Dali completed a number of series featuring lithographs and etchings. When one of such works came to The Center for care, we were excited to work on such a special piece. This print, titled "Dalinean Prophecy", is number 8 of 25 in a series called “Imagination and Objects of the Future”.
Organization and efficient inventory management are of the utmost importance here at The Conservation Center. It is critical for our staff to properly record each piece as it enters and exits our facility, especially with the recent influx of delicate items from our disaster response efforts. So how do we stay organized?
When this piece first came to The Center, it was rolled on a tube and our client thought it was a painting. However, it wasn't long before the work’s true story began to unfold. Our client had recently purchased the large-scale piece from its long-term owner and knew the work was in need of care. The piece had been on display in a private residence for many years using metal clips at the top two corners. The installation on the wall was similar to how the artist had displayed the work in previous exhibitions. The corners where the sheet had been hung exhibited areas of stress and tears. These same areas exhibited what appeared to be oxidized rust stains that were caused by the metal clips.