The first mural ever that I did art conservation treatments on was in my graduate program in Italy. The first week of school I was put onto scaffolding and sat down in front of a mural dated 1365 on a wall of a monastery built about the year 900. I sat next to Paolo Bacchin, a legend in international art conservation circles for work he had done for UNESCO on murals in temples in the jungles of Burma (now Myanmar). He was my instructor and introduced me to mural conservation.
Since that time, I have had mural restoration projects come to my labs from all over the United States, even internationally. Some of the projects have been high profile and others, like this project, were highly meaningful for a small rural community.
I happen to love Minerva Teichert’s work for the boldness of the style but also for her unsurpassable spirit and faith. Its amazing how commercially valuable her art has become within the affluent Mormon community. (Search historic LDS art or historic Mormon art) Such that these two murals were appraised for more than the value of the entire building they are located in!
The Tabernacle of the LDS Church (a convention center) in Montpelier, Idaho was built in 1918 and needed an upgrade to the systems of the building: new plumbing, electrical, sprinklers etc to bring the public facility up to code. Of course, with all the demolition going on, the two murals were at risk and so the oil on canvas’ glued to the walls were removed, brought back to our lab in Santa Barbara to receive cleaning and other conservation treatments (see video) and then reinstalled back into the original building.
Actually, the paintings were not original to the building but were added, I think, by Minerva in the 1950s’ when Minerva was in her early 60’s. Originally, they were painted, for a client in Wyoming, perhaps in the 30’s. That’s a supposition on my part, giving the mural’s some time to be installed in their original location, be part of that location and then for whatever reason moved to this location in Idaho. However, they could have been painted for a client that never took possession of them and then later the artist found this opportunity to have them installed close to her home town in a prominent location.
Here is a quick video of the removal process of the murals from the wall. All went smoothly and safely for the murals (which is why someone hires us!!). There’s a quick view of the work at Fine Art Conservation Laboratories and then we show the innovative anti-seismic reinstallation of the murals back into their previous locations. Perhaps people don’t think of eastern Idaho as an earthquake area but driving through the ancient lava fields in the area should give a clue. The architects and project manger of the work wanted the additional protection in case of this potentially catastrophic emergency.
All went very well with the work. It felt very satisfying to save and preserve this valuable cultural artwork and do something meaningful for this community in terms of historic preservation. I was also very happy to contribute to the saving of Minerva Teichert’s opus as she is one of my favorite artists of all time (Wow! That’s a bold statement.). I’ve been working on her paintings my whole career and ought to do a webpage featuring the art conservation projects of her artwork my labs have performed since 1978. Stay tuned…
The work of extensive renovation of the tabernacle received high praise from the community, the State of Idaho and preservation orgs nationwide. The Preservation Idaho Award named the mural restoration work as part of the Orchid and Onion Preservation Award. Here is more about that: https://www.fineartconservationlab.com/murals/the-preservation-idaho-award/
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Scott M. Haskins, Art Conservator
805 564 3438
Scott M. Haskins, Minerva Teichert, mural conservation, mural restoration, art conservation, mural conservation, historic preservation, Mormon Art, LDS Art, Fine Art Conservation Laboratories, Montpelier Idaho, LDS Church, Orchid and Onion Preservation Award, Idaho Preservation Award
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Removing a mural seems like a lot of work and honestly, work that I never knew could be done. I might have a project or two that needs some attention. I will be contacting you shortly.
Have you worked on other paintings/murals by Minerva?
Yes, Donald, I’ve been working on her paintings since I opened the art conservation lab at BYU in 1978. See this short video of our clients in Utah: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=COuMshFt9ek
Thanks for this video of the removal and installation of the murals. Very interesting and unusual.
Thanks for leaving a comment Diana.
Imagine this, if the artists of old had access to the restoration technologies of today – I am sure they would have employed them to restore their damaged paintings and dozens, possibly hundreds of paintings would have been saved. I wish we were able to restore all the works of art were damaged in the past.
Kristen, actually, artists make horrible restorers as they find it very difficult to control their urge to change and “improve” things they work on. This characteristic is, obviously, counter productive and destructive when preserving original works of art.
I’m aware you guys received the Idaho Historic Preservation Award for the work you did on this project. Congratulations!
Thanks Piya, yes, it was very unexpected and appreciated.
Congratulations for a job well done and thank you for your contributions to saving the art in this building. Its an important historic building for several surrounding communities.
Thanks. Yes, we heard from many people in the community who were very anxious that the murals be properly treated and preserved.
Its great to see careful professional efforts used to save this art. You guys rock.
Can you guys come to South-Africa? I have a project for you.
Yes Belinda, we travel far and wide to help on mural restoration projects both for consultation and mural conservation treatments. Here is a link to a project we are just beginning in Italy: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ldQSxjAzSUA Call me, Scott M. Haskins, at 805 564 3438 or write at firstname.lastname@example.org
I’ve had a look at so much of the work done by Fine Art Conservations such as the uncovering of the murals in the Cedar Rapids City Hall and the restoration of one of William Kendall’s portraits. In every case the results looks magnificent and vibrant, as though the artwork has come alive.
Thanks for the nice comments Victoria. For those interested, here’s our webpage showing the work on WPA murals in Cedar Rapids Iowa: https://www.fineartconservationlab.com/wpa-mural-restoration-in-city-hall-of-cedar-rapids-iowa/
You guys get around. I’ve seen your videos of projects all over the country. Cool work! I want to do what you do!!
Yes we do get around!! In fact, as I writ this I’m in SLC, UT to meet with clients. Here’s a short video introducing our consultation services for murals conservation: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BeHMxDh0pvA
Love your videos! Always interesting.
Thanks Gerrard. Stay connected!! More to come.
Wow, This is truly historical, really amazing. Great work guys!
Thanks Emma… and thanks for leaving a comment.
Please, Can I get a quote for the exact costs of mural removal, restoration and reinstallation?
Of course you can Kathy! Of course we need to discuss some details. Perhaps you would find informative this video I made discussing some of the issues when removing a mural that I made specifically for contractors and contracting agencies: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9iOiL2urctM Then give me a call at my office 805 564 3438 or on my mobile 805 570 4140
When you removed the murals from the walls, did you find any interesting hidden details?
On the back of the painting of the pioneers there was an inscription of the artist that appears to document that the painting(s) were painted for a hotel in Wyoming.
Isn’t it weird to have a painting with a religious subject in a convention center (maybe not in Europe but in the USA)?
This community was settled by members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (http://www.mormon.org) back in Brigham Young’s time, I believe. So, they would have been particularly interested in art focused on their pioneer heritage and faith. I think, if you went to a historic community that was settled by members of any faith, you might find similar public evidence of their beliefs and heritage.
You make me rethink an opinion I’ve had. Initially I used to think that restoration work always distorted the painting and that we are only “beautifying” the art in the pretext of restoration. But Fine Art Conservation Laboratories removed this mural and restored it perfectly… I will recommend.
Thanks Eric for the nice comments.
Wow! The quality of the repairs are excellent! Initially it looked impossible. But after the work was complete, the painting looks as though nothing happened. Great work guys!
Thanks for the compliment and comments.
You guys are the go to people for restoring and conserving any piece of art and I’ll definitely recommend you to anyone who needs restoration done.
Thanks Greg! Stay connected for future blog posts by signing up in the side bar.
I’m really impressed at the techniques and technology Fine Art Conservation uses. Most people don’t know, or even think about, that art can be restored better with less damage than ever before with modern techniques and know how.
Thanks Nathalia. Its true, todays professional art conservation services are generally far superior to 75 years ago even though art restoration has been done for 1000s of years.
I think that Minerva’s work has been validated in many ways; she is now appreciated by the Church, she is an avidly collected artist and her works of art bring stellar prices. Her work is known also among “non art people” (in the church) because of the extensive use of her images. In all, a complete vindication of her decision to focus on doing art grounded in her faith instead of staying in France and being seduced by the world.
Thanks for the good words Wilt. Thanks for leaving a comment.