Mural Removal, Restoration, Reinstallation as part of Historic Preservation
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Mural Removal, Restoration, Reinstallation as part of Historic Preservation

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Mural Removal, Restoration, Reinstallation as part of Historic Preservation. Saving Minerva Teichert. Lombardy regional art conservation center: a modern scientific lab in a 800 year old monastery complex The first week of Italian art conservation school, I climbed up the scaffolding and sat nose to nose with a mural dated 1365 on a wall of an 800+ year old monastery.Overlooking an ancient marble quarry, I was in the pre-Alpine Dolomite mountains west of Garda Lake. Sitting next to me was Paolo Bacchin, a legend in international art conservation circles for the life threatening mural restoration projects he had done for UNESCO in temples in the jungles of Burma (now Myanmar). He was my instructor and introduced me to mural conservation. Since that time in 1975, I have had mural restoration projects come to me from all over the United States. It seems that I have earned a reputation for solving difficult problems and as one committee for the City of San Francisco put it, “We needed someone whose workwas beyond reproach.” Even further afield geographically are the consultation jobs I am asked to undertake. Some of the projects have been high profile and others, like this project, were highly meaningful for a small rural community. These murals are by Minerva Teichert a fire th ball of 19 century activity, attitude and talent!

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Published 02 March 2015
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Mural Removal, Restoration, Reinstallation as part of Historic Preservation. Saving Minerva Teichert.
Lombardy regional art conservation center: a modern scientific lab in a 800 year old monastery complex The first week of Italian art conservation school, I climbed up the scaffolding and sat nose to nose with a mural dated 1365 on a wall of an 800+ year old monastery.Overlooking an ancient marble quarry, I was in the pre-Alpine Dolomite mountains west of Garda Lake. Sitting next to me was Paolo Bacchin, a legend in international art conservation circles for the life threatening mural restoration projects he had done for UNESCO in temples in the jungles of Burma (now Myanmar). He was my instructor and introduced me to mural conservation. Since that time in 1975, I have had mural restoration projects come to me from all over the United States. It seems that I have earned a reputation for solving difficult
problems and as one committee for the City of San Francisco put it, “We needed someone whose workwas beyond reproach.” Even further afield geographically are the consultation jobs I am asked to undertake. Some of the projects have been high profile and others, like this project, were highly meaningful for a small rural community. These murals are by Minerva Teichert a fire th ball of 19 century activity, attitude and talent! I love Teichert's work for the Impressionistic style she adopted while studying in France at the end of the 1800’s but also for her unsurpassable spirit and faith.And I’m amazed at how financially valuable her art has become as Historical LDS Art or Early Mormon Art. These two murals were appraised for more than the value of the entire building in which they are they are located!
This convention center in Montpelier, Idaho (a “tabernacle of the LDS Church) was built in 1918 and
needed an upgrade to the systems of the building: asbestos and lead abatement (click here to see a short video of our training and experience when working with the presense of toxic materials), 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 paintings on canvas glued to the walls were removed, brought back to our lab in Santa Barbara to receive cleaning and other conservation treatments(click here to see video) and then reinstalled back into the original building. Actually, the paintings were not original to the building but were added, I’ve heard, 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. At the end of this article is a quick video of the removal process of the mural 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 mural 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 I feel a deep connection with her work. I've been working on her paintings my whole career and ought to do a webpage featuring the art conservation projects involving her works that my labs have performed since 1978. Stay tuned... Here’s a 2 minute video summary. Click on the image:
Question? Call Scott M. Haskins 805 564 3438 or faclartdoc@gmail.com
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