Amadeo Modigliani and a couple of very entertaining adventures in my career

Amedeo Modigliani is probably the most famous Italian artist of the 20th century and he was born today July 12th, 1884 in Livorno, close to Pisa. We’ve had a few “run in’s” in my art conservation career related to his work which have added to the intrigue of our art conservation detective work over the decades…

While growing up in Livorno, he developed a passion for painting from Gugliemo Micheli while still very young and was nurtured by his first teacher, maestro Giovanni Fattori, also from Livorno and one of the leaders of the internationally acclaimed plein-aire impressionists group known as the Macchiaioli.

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“That’s Texas for you!” Is it the type of job… or is it me?!

I had something happen to me and I’m not sure what to think about it… whether it’s odd or funny or…?

As you can see from previous posts, we are working on the side of a freeway in Grand Prairie (Dallas), Texas to save, preserve and restore perhaps the longest mural in the America. Actually, the mural is located along the on ramps and off ramps and in the underpass of Belt Line Rd at the I-30.

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Mural Restoration Experts From FACL Conserve Longest Mural in USA, Located in Grand Prairie, Dallas, Texas

One of the biggest works of art in the USA is right here in Grand Prairie, in plain view. In fact, you may have driven past it and not really known much about this iconic public work of art in the Dallas Area that is now getting some love after 17 years of severe exposure to the elements and car exhaust. (see video at end of this article)

The environmental-prairie-themed mural is located along the Interstate 30 on the walls of the underpass of Belt Line Rd. that was painted in 2003-2004 by local artist Tommy Weddle to commemorate the Breeder’s Cup Thoroughbred Horse Race at Lone Star Park in 2003.

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WPA Murals On US Postage Stamps A Weird Idea

As you read this, our team is working to preserve and restore an “environmental mural” painted on the side of a freeway that is 1/2 mile long!!! (not the freeway, the mural!) in Grand Prairie, Texas (Dallas – more on this next week).

Which got me thinking how weird- stupid it is to take a picture of a mural… which is a giant painting… and shrink it down to an US postage stamp! Artwork created to be huge, shrunk down to postage stamp size! But then I was thinking…

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Protecting The Kobe Bryant Memorial Mural 2020 With An Anti-Graffiti Coating

I was in downtown Los Angeles this morning for the memorial of Kobe Bryant and to inaugurate the completion of a memorial mural of Kobe by renowned artist Paul Daniels​. A couple of weeks ago the artist brought us on to his team to consult about techniques and materials for outdoor murals and how to protect it from vandalism. Here’s a short video about this mural:

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Preparing for the Henrietta Berk Retrospective at the Hilbert Museum of California Art at Chapman University

This article is about preparing newly rediscovered important  artwork from the 1960s Post WWII Abstract Expressionist Bay Area for the Henrietta Berk Retrospective at the Hilbert Museum of California Art at Chapman University. Collaborating and consulting experts for the exhibition are Steven Stern Fine Art, Debra Solon and Fine Art Conservation Laboratories. Here is a short intro video:

It is, essentially, the rediscovery and relaunch of the reputation of an exceptional artist and over the last few years, FACL, Inc. has been excited… even thrilled to be included in the art conservation preparation of the body of work for an exciting upcoming exhibition and publication!

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Preservation Houston Award for Mural Conservation Treatments of Historic National Treasure in 2020

The restoration of the John Biggers mural at the Blue Triangle Community Center in Houston Texas received the Good Brick Award for excellence in historic preservation. The mural conservation treatments by Fine Art Conservation Laboratories, which saved the badly damaged mural work, was recognized during the presentation. Preservation Houston Executive Director, David Bush, produced an a/v program also highlighting the mural restoration efforts and credits.

The high profile mural conservation efforts were discussed and monitored at the highest levels of historic preservation professional circles, even in Washington DC. The mural conservation treatments and the quality of results was applauded by consultants and professionals within the Houston Museum of Fine Arts systems, from the board of directors of the Blue Triangle Community Center, and among historic preservation proponents in Washington DC.

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Keith Haring and Banksy in the House!! Saving, Preserving, Restoring, Conserving Street “Art?”

One of the other street/graffiti artists that is well known besides Banksy is Keith Haring. We just had a paste-up come into the lab for preservation treatments (it doesn’t really need much in the way of “restoration”). It was obviously authenticated, having been sold in a public sale, I believe. If you’ve followed this Facebook page of our art conservation activities for awhile, you’ve seen our work with street art and contemporary artists. In fact, I’ll be speaking at the Museum of Contemporary Art Santa Barbara on February 19th

Keith Haring Paste-up

A long time associate of ours in contemporary art is speaking on Keith Haring. Will Shank and Antonio Rava are highly experienced conservators who work on large scale artworks all over the world. They are visiting Melbourne to consult on the complex conservation issues of the Collingwood Keith Haring Mural. They will speak about the technical, ethical and community issues in the conservation of indoor wall paintings, murals and street art. Examples of artworks they have worked on in the USA, Italy, Spain, other parts of Europe, China and Cambodia will be discussed as well as Will’s work with the Rescue Public Murals initiative. https://events.unimelb.edu.au/events/14090-conservation-of-wall-paintings-murals-and-street-art-an?fbclid=IwAR01F9z6hdfab4MGBb7_nF8ebxHkxr857ZKgIF8iIwXntusOaVLf9mTyXnI

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Art restoration in Pasadena, CA of a gorgeous garden mural of a peacock and flowers

Expert painting restoration treatments saved a gorgeous outdoor mural in Pasadena CA (Los Angeles area) this week… and the mural isn’t even that old. Painted in 2004, the mural was painted onto a covered garden wall over a paint layer that wasn’t stable. So, once again, contemporary art is more temporary art than it should be due to the lack of knowledge and craftsmanship of the artist.

But it is a gorgeous painting of a peacock in a garden setting that most anyone would love to have on their wall in the garden. The surrounding features in this garden makes the whole “art presentation” very special and zen-like. Bougainvillea surrounds the mural which also has the flowering vine depicted and the receding perspective that takes your eye back into the distance makes the mural look like a passageway into another part of a manicured garden.

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Santa Barbara Mission’s Original 1786 Lienzo Discovered Lost In Storage, Art Restoration Expert Tells Story

Its story of earthquake destruction and its art conservation

SB Mission Lienzo (wall covering mural) Photo Pre-1925

This last year it was with great excitement that a very important historic and exciting decorative element of the original 1786 mission was rediscovered rolled up and unrecognizable in storage. It was the backdrop or type of mural-like theater curtain that was at the front of the chapel to give depth and design to the otherwise flat front chapel wall. The “Lienzo” (Spanish for “canvas” but, in ethnohistory, a lienzo is a sheet of cloth painted with indigenous Mesoamerican pictorial writing) lays out the architecture of a more formal church with Catholic saints, probably painted with indigenous help. What a treasure, an original design element and an important part of the original historical Santa Barbara Mission Chapel!! Cudos to Executive Director Monica Orozco and her team for saving the treasured art feature. But read ahead for the odd story about what happened to this important element of the church.

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