They’ve been painting out murals for centuries… in fact, one of my first mural conservation projects was uncovering Renaissance murals in a church in Northern Italy that were drop dead gorgeous, but over the centuries were painted out!! Here’s a photo of the church after the overpaint was removed.
Removing overpaint from Renaissance murals in Northern Italy.
And… it still happens. Every once in awhile a historic WPA mural is thoughtlessly painted out. I’ve been quoted as a national expert on mural conservation in both CNN’s and The New Jersey Herald’s articles reporting on the debacle of a recent covering over of murals in a school: https://edition.cnn.com/…/new-deal-mural-painted…/index.html
Luisa Pari and Anna Frassine have been our professional associates for 35 years. Here they collaborate inpainting the damage on WPA mural in City Hall, Cedar Rapids
In-house, I have always valued the team effort that has come together in our private painting conservation practice. And I have always preached that professional service companies, like ours, require collaboration with other professionals (many in parallel specialties that can compliment your own work). One of the strategies to “up my game” is to associate with other successful business people and let their smarts “rub off” onto me.
At another professional business conference in Porto, Portugal on street art conservation issues.
Before Conservation, The Contribution of Negro Women in American Life and Education
This amazing public art, painted in the South in 1953, addresses the several, then, unpopular themes of women’s rights, equality of rights for all races including access to public education, freedom of speech, land ownership. “The Contribution of Negro Women in American Life and Education” was, of course, honoring and remembering the sacrifices of those known African American women in this struggle on behalf of their communities and families. This heartfelt recognition and plea sends a message about human rights equally applicable for all women of all races in all countries.
Our set up for the mural preservation and restoration work
I’ve been doing mural conservation since 1975 and got my start in Italy. Since then, I have enjoyed working on wonderful historic and artistic murals in historic buildings and public places all over the United States and internationally. I love a good road trip and legislation about the transportation of toxic materials over the years has turned many of my travels into road trips in my car in order to transport all the supplies for these public art restoration projects.
My current road trip across the southern part of the western United States from the Pacific coast to Houston have brought to mind a couple of historic murals that I know intimately with wonderful, patriotic and humanistic themes:
Last night I stayed in El Paso, Texas where you can see Juarez, Mexico on the other side of the freeway. We recently worked on a mural painted by an Austrian prisoner of war (held on the military base) who loved the United States and painted at Ft. Bliss a mural of “One Nation Indivisible With Liberty and Justice For All.”An ideal to be held in the heart of every generation. He obviously had compelling examples as a past conscript in the Nazi military and obviously did not take for granted personal freedom. Continue reading
Even though this house didn’t make it, other houses in the area “only” got smoked badly and the meaningful contents of family history, collectibles and memories can be salvaged, saved, restored and preserved.
As with any natural disaster, while there are homes etc that are at ground zero and get obliterated from which you cannot salvage anything except melted metals, there are 1000’s of homes in the surrounding area that got hit marginally and have the chance to save and protect the items they deem important, or treasure or are of some value.
Such is the case, as you can see, that as we made our first salvage efforts and pick ups in Malibu yesterday after the fire a few days ago, the scene is apocalyptic… but there is much to save, protect and restore. Not all is lost.
Short Video of Anoxia Tent Treatments – Oxygen Deprivation for
Smoke Damaged Art, Antiques And Collectibles
Malibu and Thousand Oaks Woolsey Fire
In the aftermath of fire in residential areas, once everyone and their pets have been accounted for and taken care of, the next human concern turns to finding and caring for items that represent the history of the person and/or family, their history and legacy. Items of value follow close behind in importance. How do you take care of your “stuff.” With 100,000’s of people evacuated, you can imagine the heightened concern for the safety of these types of close to the heart items. Once again, I don’t want to minimize the greater importance of life but, our specialty, expertise and profession are specific to helping you save, protect and restore your cherished family history items, collectibles, and art objects of value.
After the Thomas fire, not even 12 months ago, and the following mudslides in Montecito, CA the disaster response division of Fine Art Conservation Laboratories wrote up 60 proposals for insurance companies to estimate and propose the clean up and restoration procedures of 7,000 – 8,000 art related items of value.
The mural was painted in 1937 by Suzanne Miller under the auspices of the Work Project Administration Federal Art Project (Federal Art Project -- FAP, Works Progress Administration -WPA).
Long Beach WPA Murals Before Conservation