Out of This World: The Tale of One Lucky Photograph

Out of This World: The Tale of One Lucky Photograph

Here at The Center, we are used to seeing all sorts of artwork and family heirlooms come from worldwide locations, but we’ve never had an item come to us from out of this world! This particular story started off a little something like this…

The countdown began; ten, nine, eight, seven.  The family watched as the space shuttle was about to lift from the launch pad; three, two, one, Blast Off! 

Yosegaki Hinomaru: The Good Luck Flag

Yosegaki Hinomaru: The Good Luck Flag

Made of delicate fibers, folded, and carried in the pockets of soldiers, Japanese “good luck flags”, commonly known in Japan as yosegaki hinomaru, were parting gifts for soldiers deployed into battle. These flags are evidence of a long standing tradition among Japanese servicemen. The Japanese National Flag, commonly known in Japan as hinomaru, was used to facilitate these messages of prayers and well-wishes from loved ones, so that the soldier could endure the difficult times ahead; yosegaki, refers to the gathered writing, often inscribed in a pattern radiating from the center of the flag.  A yosegaki hinomaru experienced only a fraction of the harrowing perils of war experienced by the soldiers who carried them to the front lines. It is remarkable that these flags have survived to continue the story of the soldiers who brought them into battle. 

When Lake Michigan was Lac des Puans: The Cartographic Origins of the Great Lakes

When Lake Michigan was Lac des Puans: The Cartographic Origins of the Great Lakes

When Greg brought his map into The Center, he wasn’t seeking conservation work - the map was already in great condition. What it needed was quality framing to properly display it in Greg’s home and keep it safe for another 373 years. That’s right - dating back to 1643, this map of the Great Lakes by Jean Boisseau may not be helpful for travel these days, but will take you on an interesting trip to the past.

Saving Superman

Saving Superman

When Joe went down into the basement of his girlfriend’s house to repair a leaking pipe, he would have never guessed that within hours he would be at The Conservation Center’s doors with a striking, but severely deteriorated, painting of Superman in hand. It was wet, stained, moldy, and even had insects living behind the frame.  Fortunately, The Center’s team was at the ready to stop this kryptonite before it could do its worst.

Common Culprits of Damage: Causation and Prevention 101

Common Culprits of Damage: Causation and Prevention 101

Given The Conservation Center’s history of treating artworks that have succumbed to fire and flood damage, it may surprise you to know that a few of the most common culprits of damage are poor materials, framing, and storage techniques. Luckily, with proper foresight and preparation, most of this damage is preventable. In this article we will examine some of the common "red flags" to look for in consideration of your own framed art and heirlooms.

Painting With Wine: A Romantic French Work Conserved

Painting With Wine: A Romantic French Work Conserved

Recently, The Conservation Center was introduced to a little-known, yet charming, oil painting entitled The Musician by a French artist named Louis-Armand Dupont. "I believe Dupont started an art school. I don't know his other artworks; all I know is he loved to paint," shared Alice Morales, the painting's owner, as she discussed the background of the work she brought to us. "I discovered he was actually a wine producer." With a little research, we found the winery is still active and has a portrait of Louis-Armand proudly displayed on the wall. Located in the Pays d’Auge region of Normandy, the Louis Dupont Family Estate is run by the living descendants of Dupont, though their research found records of their family in the area as far back as 1703. 

From Russia With Love: Portrait of a Military Officer

From Russia With Love: Portrait of a Military Officer

“This is an important piece of our family history,” commented Cindy Egoroff Alexander while discussing a portrait of her grandfather, Emil Egoroff. Cindy and her family recently entrusted The Conservation Center to treat and reframe a black and white photograph of Emil. “We know very little of our grandfather’s life in Russia,” she explained, emphasizing how precious the few details they uncovered were to understanding and remembering her family’s past. Cindy graciously shared the history passed down through the family with our team, shedding light on the story behind this handsome portrait.

The Importance of Heirloom Conservation

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.

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

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.

Hello Pretty "Yellow Lady": Shedding Light on an Ed Paschke Painting

Hello Pretty "Yellow Lady": Shedding Light on an Ed Paschke Painting

Well before Matt Groening’s Marge Simpson character became pop icon, artist Ed Paschke (1939–2004) created his own version of a Yellow Lady in 1969. In the same way that the bizarre appearances and situations as depicted in “The Simpsons” comment on pop culture, Paschke’s manipulations of mass media aim to do the same. The technicolor tones and flat background aim to dissociate the woman from her body and her surroundings; the addition of the admiring man takes on the role of the consumer and the viewer, aiming to make the voyeur uncomfortable. While only minor conservation was needed for this vibrant painting, the private collector knew very little about its history, causing us to reach out to the Ed Paschke Foundation and even the artist’s daughter, Sharon Paschke. Neither was familiar of the piece’s existence, and Sharon, especially, was excited to see a new example of her father’s early work. In order to discover more about this very special Yellow Lady, we studied the canvas under ultraviolet light and found some surprising details. With these new findings, The Conservation Center was able to shed new light on this painting for its owner as well as the Paschke family. 

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