Progress on construction of LDS temple in Rome as of May 2012
This isn’t really about art conservation but it might be indirectly connected later on! On May 28th we were in Rome and on that Sunday evening we went to the site where the new LDS temple is being built. We climbed up on a wall for some photos but a security guard came up to us and said, My partner inside the fence wants you guys down off this wall! He’s crazy too, has a gun and will shoot you!” We started laughing so hard at this implausible scenario we about fell off the wall! Anyway, so we went across the street and found a perfectly legal access up to the roof of the giant shopping mall where we got a fantastic view of the entire construction site.
Here’s a short video bringing you up to date on the progress.
I’m trying to see if I can wiggle my way into the installation of the new murals into the temple, that will be painted in a couple of years. We’ll see.
Pass the video around?
Scott M. Haskins
p.s. If you’d like to see another interesting art conservation related activity we had (but not Mormon art related) while we were in Rome go see this video I made of the behind the scenes tour of the collection of Historical Royal Carriages of the Italian White House:
I was asked for a quick update on the progress of the mural by Robert Oliver Skemp we removed from the Hyde Park Chapel in London, England: We are cleaning the reverse side of the glue etc that stayed on the back of the canvas of the mural when we pulled it off the wall.
Removing vinyl paste adhesive from the back of mural.
Here it is laid out, face down, as we go through the difficult task of getting the adhesive off the back without damaging the mural. This is something that must always be done when removing a mural from a wall.
This Thursday, the admin from BYU Idaho will come to Fine Art Conservation Laboratories (FACL, Inc.) in Santa Barbara to see the mural for the first time (its been donated to BYUI) and to discuss the treatments and the options for mounting it on a wall at the university. Should be a nice viist. We are all looking forward to it.
Here’s the video about the removal process in London:
Brigham Young in Nauvoo, IL about 1843. From the collection of DUP
We have the engine at FACL running on all cylinders this week: Mural work at the Salt Lake temple for the LDS Church, large paintings to be cleaned on site at the Daughters of Utah Pioneers (DUP) Museum in SLC, a Post War Expressionist Abstract painting by Jay De Feo examination and reports at Utah State University for the Whitney Museum of American Art in NY, inspecting a “pile” of newly discovered historic paintings, meeting with private clients in SLC and Las Vegas PLUS picking up and delivering gorgeous paintings in Los Angeles (Beverly Hills) and Carmel… and all our other stops! Give us a call.
Whew! We love it!
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A new oil painting by Minerva Teichert has found its way into the collection of the Church History Museum. Above is a portion of the painting. To see Zoram and other details, you will need to wait till the Church History Museum releases its official image (use of this image is strictly prohibited).
I looked it over when it was yet to be acquired to help give a professional opinion as to the condition. It has been previously worked on by someone who knew just enough to be dangerous. Fortunately though, it had not been damaged in the process of the previous “restoration.”
We have enjoyed having this painting in our lab very much. It has reminded me of when I worked on the 40 or so preparatory drawings, colored with oil paint that Minerva did in preparing her Book of Mormon illustrations. I worked on these for the Teichert Family back in about 1982. They allowed me to obtain two of them. This is one that I own:
Ammon Defending The Flocks of King Lamoni by Minerva Teichert
The full sized paintings in oil on masonite are owned by BYU and we often on exhibit in the Harold B. Lee Library.
Back to the Law on the Plates of Brass that we just deilvered back to the Church History Museum: Minerva often painted a “tribal” or ethnic frame around the perimiter of her paintings and she did it opn this one too:
The decorative border on the Plates of Brass
Our art conservation treatments included undoing everything that had previously been done, cleaning, lining, new stretcher bars, varnish. The colors popped and new details were even visible. It really was a wonderful transformation.
Art conservation questions? Call Scott M. Haskins 805 564 3438
Art appriasal questions? Call Richard Holgate at 805 895 5121
I just spoke with Jerry Griffin at BYU Idaho who is choreographing the arrangements among the university administration and the campus departments for the mural’s use and display. There will be a meeting next Monday where the proposal on how to proceed will be presented. I referred Jerry to my video on reattaching detached murals that I made for Texas State University on YouTube ( http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JofT2RqFi94) to help them see the options.
In a meeting with the Church History Department last week it was hoped that the mural wound be available in the future for displays in SLC by the Church. So, our art conservation treatments will be focused keeping the murals portable, somewhat.
I’m gratified that all with whom I’ve spoken realize the importance and benefits of the mural and want the art conservation work to be the highest quality possible. I’ll be reporting on progress and maybe we’ll make another quick video if there is something interesting to show you. So, sign in for updates in the upper right part of the side bar so that you’ll when I post on this blog. There’s a lot of interesting news coming!
Art conservation questions? Call Scott 805 564 3438
Art appraisal questions? Call Richard at 805 895 5121
I’m in Utah meeting with private collectors and The LDS Church History Department. We’ve delivered the Minerva Teichert that I posted about at http://www.fineartconservationlab.com/projects/in-lab/painting-by-minerva-teichert-glued-to-plywood-removed-why/ I’ll post about it in a couple of days.
Monday will be full day! I’m meeting with engineers and architects who are evaluating the “systems” (air flow, plumbing and electrical) in the Mormon SLC Temple. Some future work this next year will impact the historic murals rooms and they are talking to me about what it will take to preserve and restore. I’m really glad they are thinking about this!
Whew! We are doing a lot of very cool projects for the LDS CHurch History Dept and the Museum right now. I could blog daily! Sorry I don’t have the time to share everything I’d like to about these really great projects, artists and stories. But here’s a quick update on the conservation work I’ve reported on in the past:
This painting of Pioneers is one of two murals on this subject my Minerva Teichert. They hang in the Museum of Church History and Art at the entrance to the main gallery.
Minerva Teichert's murals of pioneers
I call them murals because they were designed to be murals, I think. But, you know the definition of a mural, don’t you? “A painting on a wall.” Well, technically, these aren’t murals anymore since they are not on a wall but are framed moveable paintings now.
Anyway, this painting was glued down to a really poorly constructed backing of plywood and there were bubbles and distortions starting to show. So, the Museum sent it to us to remove it from the plywood, readhere it onto a quality honeycomb panel, clean (can you see the cleaning test along the top border, right side?) and revarnish it.
Preparing new honeycomb panel for mounting the painting of pioneers by Minerva Teichert.
In the above photo the adhesive is being laid on the white interleaf which is already adhered to the panel. You can see the painting wrapped around the large tube in the background.
The cleaning made a nice difference in color from a smoggy day to a nice baby blue sky. Here’s a photo of cleaning:
Minerva Teichert Cleaning
You will notice the shiny left 1/3 side with the varnish still on it. The middle 1/3 has undergone a 1st cleaning but you can see in the sky that there is still a grimy look to it. The right 1/3 looks the cleanest. This process of going through a double cleaning was required to safely clean the painting. The first layer came off with one solvent and the second layer came off with another solvent. If we had tried to clean everything off in one effort, we would have removed original paint and damaged the artwork (which we NEVER do!).
I tried to post a quick video clip of the cleaning technique but I can’t get it to play so, sorry about that…
The painting is now mounted onto its new honeycomb panel, cleaned and newly varnished. Next Monday it will be packed up and next Wednesday, Oct. 26 it will be delivered to the Church’s Museum along with the conserved Odgen Temple mural (still as yet to be remounted into the new temple, obviously) and a newly acquired, newly discovered painting by the Church that I’ll blog about too. Also being delivered is a very nice old sacrament table (c. 1900) that was donated by someone in LA. We fumigated it and will be sending it up to SLC also.
Minerva Teichert's pioneers
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Some of you may already know that the Provo Tabernacle that burned in December last year, December 18, 2010 will be restored on the outside to it’s historic appearance but that its use and purpose will change. The LDS Church announced in its General Conference last week that the building will be rebuilt into the second temple in the Provo area. Here is a photo of the interior as it looks, more or less, today:
The Provo Tabernacle interior as it appears today.
You may remember that the Church History Dept. asked me to do some tests on some original decorative painting that was discovered after the fire burned off several layers of wall paper: http://bit.ly/nXzuJR Here’s what those newly discovered original historic decorations look like. I don’t think they have ever been seen before by the public:
Newly discovered original historic decorative painting in Provo Tabernacle
While the LDS History Department was trying to have them incorporated into the rebuilding of the tabernacle, now that it is going to be a temple, I’m not sure what the plan is for these original details. Of course, if I hear something, I’ll let you know.
Another subject that has been on people’s minds has been “What has been the ultimate fate of the miraculous survival of the print of Christ?” Well, the print has been saved by the Church History Dept. but there is no plan to do anything with it immediately. But I have a plan that may work towards getting it preserved. For now, its “a secret” until the idea gets pitched. you may remember though that I solicited a survey of what people though should be done with the print. See the super short video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2qygVKHiEF4
The overwhelming, almost 98% opinion was to preserve the print as is but not to restore it so that it looked perfect. Then, after it is preserved, to put it back in the tabernacle as a historical artifact of the fire and the history of the tabernacle.
That’s all for now on this subject. But stay connected by signing up for updates cause there will be a lot to tell you about this month! Please tell others about the super insider, incredibly interesting blog! This is worth spreading around I think.
Questions? Call Scott Haskins 805 564 3438
Art appraisal questions? Call Richard 805 895 5121
Well, it was a whirlwind of activity last week: I was asked on Tues. by the History Department of the LDS Church to be at the Hyde Park Chapel in London England for a 3 pm meeting on Thurs. to discuss the removal of the mural. That meant, of course, taking the red eye flight on Wed. (btw, I enjoyed taking New Zealand Air for the first time, non stop from LA to London).
I made it, just in time, to my meeting on Thurs. by cutting through Hyde Park (a really nice park) and the first thing I saw when coming out of the park was the Victoria Albert Concert Hall and the Price Albert Memorial… I knew I wasn’t in Kansas anymore.
The Patient under examination, as I discussed in Part 1, is the famous mural that was a focal point in the Mormon Pavilion at the 1964 World’s Fair in NYC.
In 1962, Elder Harold B. Lee of the Council of the Twelve was appointed Executive Director of the Mormon Pavilion and he gave the charge that a film depicting “the three great questions of life: where we came from, our purpose and reason for being here upon the earth, and what happens to us after death” be produced. Many of us remember the film that was made for the fair, Man’s Search For Happiness. The mural depicts the
phases of life illustrated in the film. Visitors who came through the pavilion at the World’s Fair commented. One wrote, “For about a half hour after we left the theatre, we hardly spoke to each other. …“My wife broke the silence by asking: ‘Can you believe it?’ “I knew what she meant by ‘it.’ ‘It’ referred to your Gospel and the message we got from the movie. My response—‘Yes, I can believe it and it is a wonderful thing to believe …’
During and after the Fair, the mural was used in films, filmstrips, teaching illustrations and PR images internationally and, perhaps was one of the best recognized images of the church in the 1960′s and 1970′s. Once the fair was over, it was mounted on a wall in the Hyde Park Chapel. It has been there ever since.
Testing the possibility of removal, once I got there, brought a sigh of relief to me: I could see that I could make happen the separation of the canvas from the wall in a safe and cost effective way… and that brought a sign of relief from the people who sent me to London! As I said in the first blog post, prior to seeing the mural first hand, I had no way of knowing if this project was going to cost $10,000 or $250,000 by simply hearing descriptions over the phone. I mean, by goodness, I wasn’t even given the right dimensions of the mural. It turns out it was 1/2 the size I thought it was going to be.
So, given the positive results from my testing, it was decided to remove the mural immediately, while I was there. It was a 2 day process. Once again, as I said before, the mural was removed because of the impending extensive renovation involving demolition. The LDS History Department is gratified that events have worked out to save such an important and fondly remembered mural from destruction.
Here is the video I shot of the removal of the mural from the wall.
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