Conservation of Sculpture

Sculpture has existed as an art form since prehistoric times. Many of these pieces were decorated with painting and gilding, finishes which require periodic maintenance.  Whether cleaning, touching-up, or replacement with a new system, we frequently collaborate with other conservators and specialists to develop appropriate treatment programs for each piece.

The Gilders' Studio is well-versed in all types of conventional and high-performance coatings and have used them on commissions across the U.S. and overseas.


Freedom

Freedom

United States Capitol, Washington, DC

Working under a contract from Wilson Conservation, we applied two coats of Incralac to the toned bronze using an HVLP (High Volume Low Pressure) spray system.

Artist: Thomas Crawford


Marconi Memorial

Marconi Memorial

Washington, DC

As part of a community service project in partnership with the Society of Gilders (SOG), we stripped, prepared and primed the "Goddess of Electricity" prior to gilding by members of the SOG in the fall of 2006 with 23.75 KT gold leaf.

Artist: Piccirilli



Darlington Memorial

Darlington Memorial

Judiciary Square, Washington, DC

Prepared and gilded the life size bronze nymph and fawn by C. Paul Jennewein under the auspices of Nicholas Veloz Conservation.

Finish Shown: 23.5 KT gold leaf


Public Spirit

Public Spirit

Department of Justice, Washington, DC

Conserved and restored gilded and toned finishes on eight plaster bas-reliefs by C. Paul Jennewein from the 1930s. Most of the pieces had been painted over with latex and/or aluminum paint, which had to be removed to ascertain the original finish and tone, which was conserved where possible. On those pieces where the original finish was compromised, new gilding was applied, patinaed and toned to match the original.

Finish shown: Aluminum leaf with toning


1st Division Memorial

1st Division Memorial

Presidents Park, Washington D.C.

Sitting atop a 60' tall granite column, "Winged Victory" required an engineered scaffold system to be able to prepare and re-gild the 20' tall bronze sculpture with 23.75 KT gold leaf. We were also responsible for the conservation of the commemorative bronze plaques at the base of the granite pedestal.

Artist: Daniel Chester French


2nd Division Memorial

2nd Division Memorial

Presidents Park, Washington, DC

After stripping the previous gilding and primers to the bronze surface, the statue was stabilized, primed and gilded with 23 KT gold leaf. The associated lettering on the granite tablets was also stripped and re-gilded with 23 KT gold leaf.

Architect: National Park Service
Artist: James Fraser
Finish Shown: 23KT genuine gold leaf


Achievement

Achievement

Nemours Gardens, Wilmington, Deleware

This 16' tall sculpture by Gardet was originally gilded in the late 1920s. Subsequently, it was coated with multiple layers of bronze ("gold") paint and urethane. After testing with various strippers, a methylene chloride was used to remove all the coatings down to the bronze which was then repaired, prepared and gilded with 23.75 KT gold leaf.

Owner: Nemours Foundation
Supervising Conservator: Virginia Naude


Brooklyn Bridge by Red Grooms

Brooklyn Bridge by Red Grooms

Museum of Outdoor Art, Denver, Colorado

Originally constructed in 1978, the 45' long by 18' tall sculpture was disassembled, sandblasted and repainted with over 20 custom mixed colors of Tnemec paints, a catalyzed urethane coating system developed for exterior structures and bridgework. The Gilders' Studio was commissioned to restore the figurative painting on all the figures and the structure itself. This produced a finish that would withstand the rigors of the exterior environment, yet remained faithful to the artist's original intent.

Photo: Jon Kramer


Copperhead

Copperhead

Bridgeport, Connecticut

The steel colonnade by Patsy Norvell stands outside the Federal Courthouse. The columns and coatings had weathered to the point that the paint was failing and the steel was oxidized. The columns were sandblasted then primed and painted with a catylzed system. The Glders' Studio was called in to apply the marbling to match the artist's original intent.


Golden Boy

Golden Boy

Winnipeg, MB Canada

We were responsible for developing the preparation specifications and the onsite gilding of the five meter tall bronze sculpture. Working in a climate controlled environment, we sized and applied an extra heavy weight 23.75 KT gold leaf to this icon of Manitoba. After completion, the sculpture was re-installed atop the Provincial Legislature Building.

Artist: Gardet
Architect: Spencer Higgins Architect right52-icon
Finish shown: 23.75 KT gold leaf


Heroic Shorepoints

Heroic Shorepoints

Washington, DC

Stripped the degraded coatings, repaired the metal and applied a four-coat catalyzed system to the massive aluminum sculpture.

Artist: Rosoti


Hillwood Museum

Hillwood Museum

Washington, DC

The cast lead fountain was stripped, prepared and gilded with 23.5 KT gold leaf as part of the restoration of the museum and gardens.

Finish shown: 23.5 KT gold leaf


Just Landed

Just Landed

Washington, DC

This steel sculpture was sandblasted, repaired and re-painted with a catalyzed urethane system developed for the structural steel industry.

Artist: Jay Coogan


Ring of Remembrance

Ring of Remembrance

ThanksGiving Square, Dallas, Texas

Prepared and gilded the 14' tall aluminum ring with 23.5 KT gold leaf. Applied a catalyzed sealer to protect the gilding from finger traffic and abuse.

Owner: ThanksGiving Square Foundation
Architect: Philip Johnson right52-icon
Designer: Philip Johnson
Finish Shown: 23.5 KT genuine gold leaf with catalyzed acrylic urethane sealer


Trope II

Trope II

Boca Raton, Florida

The Gilders' Studio was commissioned to apply a four-coat catalyzed system to restore the piece to its original sheen and hue.

Artist: Liberman