Pratically, every week or so, I wind my way past downtown LA to Orange County where our lab enjoys a wide variety of professional art conservation activities. I started out my schedule today in South Laguna Beach at The Redfern Gallery where I delivered two completed art restoration projects and picked up a Swiss Alpine scene by Edgar Payne, done about 1920 that hasn’t seen the light of day for about 75 years. Click here for an interesting time-lapse video cleaning of a very similar Edgar Payne. Also, while at Redfern’s, unframing and examining a sweet portrait of a young girl gave us a couple of surprises… see the short video below:
Then, I made my way through the heavily infested area of downtown Laguna Beach where hordes of tourists on foot bring never ending automobile traffic to a standstill. I finally made it up the coast through to the next beach towns of Corona Del Mar, Costa Mesa and Newport Beach where I picked up a respectable pizza to go at Settebello Pizzeria Napoletana (una quattro stagione) while on my way to meet a private collector in Huntington Beach.
Busted up Early American Art
I couldn’t believe the valuable collectibles I found in a pile of stuff a couple of weeks ago! I was amazed!! Besides the unexpected treasures, I also found neglect and bad judgment of packers and shippers had damaged some really valuable works of art… obviously completely avoidable. All it takes to avoid this heartbreak is being careful and doing “it” right… something to watch out for if you are hiring, moving, storing collectibles etc. Check out the short art restoration testimonial from Las Vegas collector at the end if you are thinking you need help with something.
So, when I saw this, I just shook my head in disbelief. I was amazed and jazzed to paw through the pile…
I blogged in January about two murals that we worked on that had a special social message to tell. One is on the Army base in El Paso, Texas and the other is in Houston. The only thing that really connected them to me was their problem of flaking.
The worst flaking I’ve ever seen on a work of art.
In El Paso, Texas you can clearly see Juarez, Mexico on the other side of the freeway… besides the drama of the wall, Juarez’s reputation for lack of law and order are famous and its very interesting to imagine all that goes on over and around that border. Adding to that “vibe” we were feeling was the purpose of our work in El Paso; our mural on the Army Base, Fort Bliss, by World War II prisoner of war, Austrian Crpl Rudolph von Ripper in 1943 entitled “One Nation Indivisible With Liberty and Justice For All” an ideal to be held in the heart of every generation. His perspective was, in part, a product of his hate for the Nazis who had forced him into military service (and his gratitude to be a POW).
Our lab just finished cleaning up the graffiti vandalism defacing a heartfelt public work of art mural painted in 1987 by Russell Carlton, The #BlueMoonTrilogy. The mural was dedicated to the life saving and disease battling efforts of the AIDS Project Los Angeles in 1988 with a bronze plaque embedded into the mural… and still, though the mural was an emotional icon to saving lives, it was defaced with no respect.
Upon returning to our art conservation laboratory, we were honored by the visit of an international celebrity…
A 3rd of the mural “Blue Moon Trilogy” by Russell Carlton 1987 Before Restoration. See full image of mural After Restoration and video at end of blog post.
This public mural memorial monument located by the Hollywood Bowl was originally funded by AIDS Project of LA. The bronze plaque, from the dedication in 1988 on the mural will outlive us all. It reads:
Blue Moon Trilogy
Art Nouveau mural restoration and over-paint removal project rediscovers acres of original 1904 decorations and art! This amazing work is part of the complete restoration of this Grand Hotel in San Pellegrino (BG), Italy which has stood abandoned since the early 1970s. A behind the scenes look where tourists can not go – A 1904 Art Nouveau Jewel
Beginning in about 1890, Art Nouveau was an international style of art, architecture and especially the decorative arts, that was most popular at the time the Grand Hotel was built. It’s graphic designs of natural forms particularly the curved lines of plants and flowers were thoroughly embraced by the upper society of the Gilded Age. English uses the French name Art Nouveau (new art) but the Italians used the term Liberty Style.
Infrared and x-radiography were utilized to unravel the changes in the Old Master painting of the video below, revealing also interesting historical details and perhaps insights into the political views of the renown artist. This article demonstrates methods of interesting analysis with both scientific and intellectual value.
It wasn’t really brought up in this article, but this type of pre-art-conservation-treatment analysis also allows for much more informed, accurate preservation and restoration treatments. This artist was one of the most important artists in northern Europe in the middle 1500s. Here is the NY Times article: