WOLCOTT GRAND LAKE ASHLAND DAMEN
The Paintings Department appreciates the importance of being a custodian of art and strives to do its part to preserve paintings by using the least invasive treatments possible for each piece.
 

The conservators recognize that a work of art is more than the sum of its parts and can only be enjoyed by respecting the original intent of the artist. While a work of art can be timeless, the materials used are vulnerable to age and environmental conditions. Many types of damage occur to paintings including: paint losses and flaking, tears, discolored varnish, degradation of previous restoration campaigns, and accumulation of layers of grime and dust. 

Equally important to treating the paint layer is paying meticulous attention to the support on which it was applied. The support, or the structure of a painting, includes canvas, panel, board, and stretchers or strainers. The Center treats all material aspects of paintings using conservation-grade solvents, adhesives, and paints for the treatment of each individual work. 

Conserving the canon: A biblical scene revealed

treatment gallery
 

Fanny Hewitt Fearn, Herman Herkomer. Oil on canvas. Damaged by Hurricane Katrina.

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Archbishop, J.F. Kaufman. Oil on canvas. Impact damage.
 

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On Parade, Edouard Detaille. Oil on canvas. Age-related damage.
 

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Portrait of a Man, Unsigned. Oil on canvas board. Flaking paint and age-related damage.

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Church in a Valley, James Topping. Oil on canvas. Grime and age-related damage.

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Blue Skyline, John Button. Acrylic on canvas. Heavy grime and age-related damage.

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stories related to paintings conservation:

The Conservation of a Civil War Painting for Southern Illinois University

 

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This year marks the 150th anniversary of the end of The Civil War. Like any thread in the fabric of our cultural heritage, this point in our collective memory was captured countless times by the artist’s eye. With photography still in its infancy, fine art and literature still serve as major artifacts for this defining time period in American history. While many of the artist’s names have been lost over the years, the importance of their work stands as a testament to this era. One of these remarkable works is a painting titled Steamboat U.S.S. Switzerland on River(artist and date unknown), belonging to our friends at The University Museum at Southern Illinois University (SIU) in Carbondale, Illinois. The museum recently engaged The Conservation Center to preserve this piece of Americana, and also taking the opportunity to educate its audience in the importance of art conservation.

painting with wine: a romantic french work conserved

 

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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. 

I Can See Clearly Now:                                                                   Bringing a Family Heirloom Painting Back to Life

 

When The Conservation Center encounters an heirloom piece that has extraordinary sentimental value to our client, we always like to learn more about its history and the meaning of the piece for the family. Recently, Mary Anne Keane brought us a reproduction of Jean-François Millet’s (1814–1875) The Angelus that was on display in her living room. “Ever since my childhood, I’ve always had fond memories of this painting hanging in my grandparents’, and eventually my parents’ home,” said Mary Anne. “After inheriting The Angelus, I realized if I didn’t take good care of the artwork now, though it had made it a century so far, it would not be around much longer for my family to appreciate.” Mary Anne also began investigating its provenance to better understand the origin of the piece.


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