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Friday, December 18, 2015
December at The Conservation Center: Snowy Scenes, Santa Surprises, and Arsenic (Chicago,IL)
The Conservation Center
Conserving Art Coast to Coast
December 2015 Newsletter
As 2015 comes to a close, we here at The Conservation Center
are looking back gratefully on the hundreds of items to come through
our doors this year. We recognize that every item that finds itself
within our walls has a story to tell.
If we are lucky, we have the privilege to learn those stories and maybe
even share some of them with you. Many of these items capture a place
and time in our communities, like this month's featured painting
treatment of a turn-of-the-century snow scene in Oak Park, Illinois. Others represent very personal memories, such as the treasured childhood tricycle
whose story we share this month as well. While we might not learn the
tale of every item that arrives at The Center, we are honored to become a
part of the history of the artwork or heirloom through the work that we
do. Thanks to all of our clients for making 2015 a year to remember,
and best wishes for a beautiful 2016!
A Christmas Tricycle
we move through the holiday season, our focus turns to family dinners,
quiet snowfalls, and the joyful challenge of finding the perfect gift;
the gift that will be treasured for years to come. And when the years
take their toll on those items, we here at The Conservation Center
consider it a special privilege to help in preserving those family
treasures. This holiday season, we share with you an item brought to The
Center by Mary, who reached out to see if it would be possible to
restore one of her favorite childhood Christmas gifts: a circa 1964
Chicago may be without the standard layer of snow for this time of the
year, we here are The Conservation Center are lucky enough to have
beautiful images around
to remind us of a pristine snowfall. A client recently brought in such a
painting, though it wasn't quite the impeccable snow scene it once was.
Years of grime build-up and thick, discolored varnish had turned the
crisp white snowfall into a dingy, brown landscape. But with some time,
patience, and careful chemistry, Senior Paintings Conservator Amber
Smith was able to bring the original colors back to this Oak Park snow
This month we continue our "Pigment
of the Month" series, detailing the origins, history, and eventual
discontinuation of pigments once common on the artists' palette. In this
next installment, we explore the history of Emerald Green, and the
chemical composition that made it both brilliant and lethal.