Press Release
August 28, 2006
           
Restored historic paintings unveiled at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library
           
Artwork includes Battle of Bull Run painted by Civil War
veteran, portrait of Illinois' first territorial Governor
           
           
Springfield, Ill. ­ Two historic paintings belonging to the Lincoln Library Collection are now on display in the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library after undergoing extensive restoration. The "Battle of Bull Run" was painted by Civil War veteran James Paul Sarver. Sarver painted the scene in 1919 at the age of 79. At the time of the Civil War, Sarver enlisted in the 20th IL Infantry. The painting depicts Civil War soldiers in combat at the Battle of Bull Run. The painting was donated in 1954 by the Women's Relief Corp. The other painting is of former Illinois Whig legislator and Illinois' first territorial Governor, Ninian Edwards. Library records indicate the Edwards portrait may have been done by George P. Healy (1813-1894). The exact year of the painting is unknown. Both paintings were restored by conservator Barry Bauman.
           
"Barry Bauman, a highly esteemed conservator of paintings, has provided a wonderful service in adding new life to these two paintings," said Thomas F. Schwartz, interim Executive Director of the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum. "For years, the paintings sat in storage, damaged and unappreciated. The expert care of a world-class conservator reflects the beauty and visual power intended by the original artists in these restored paintings." "The Ninian Edwards portrait was in critical condition when it came to me for treatment," said Bauman. "It had been harshly overpainted in the past and the paint was flaking throughout. First, all of the paint was secured. Then the surface was cleaned to remove dirt and several layers of discolored varnish. A new canvas backing was then applied to offer strength and support. All areas of former loss were retouched to match the original to both value and hue. A final non-yellowing varnish was applied to protect the paint against fluids and air pollution."
           
Bauman also had his work cut out for him restoring "The Battle of Bull Run." Bauman says the surface of the painting was so layered with discolored films, the image had a nighttime appearance. All of these layers were masking the original color relationships and flattening the three-dimensional quality of the scene. By cleaning it, he was able to return the painting to its original visual appearance. The painting was originally created on several large paper sheets that were seamed together. The paper was attached to a canvas backing using an aqueous glue. The glue had dried unevenly causing surface "bubbles" and distortions. Each paper section was separated carefully from the backing and all of the glue was removed. The backing process was then redone onto Belgian linen using a non-aqueous adhesive. All of the seams and former losses were filled with gesso and retouched to match the original to both value and hue. Bauman applied a non-yellowing varnish to protect the paint against fluids and air pollution. Bauman spend five months treating both paintings.
           
Bauman is the former Associate Conservator of Paintings for the Art Institute of Chicago and the founder of the Chicago Conservation Center. After 20 years of ownership, he sold the company in 2003 and now works exclusively for museums at no charge. Both paintings were treated for only the price of materials ­ all of Bauman's conservation services are donated. Over the last three years, he has treated 300 paintings for 70 institutions. Conservation service donations have now reached over one-million dollars. Both paintings will be on display in the Presidential Library.
           


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Barry Bauman Conservation
Contact: Mr. Barry Bauman
1122 N. Jackson Ave., River Forest, IL. 60305
Ph.(708)771-0382  Fax.(708)771-1532
e-mail:barrybbc7@yahoo.com