January 2006--Volume 54, Number 1 

         

Iowa's Historic Paintings Get Some TLC.
           
Lacon Stockton was looking a little worse for the wear. He was filthy and his clothes were a mess. The former Iowa Supreme Court Justice had seen better days.
           
"Paintings like this require treatment because they were not stored in a climate-controlled setting most of their lives," says art conservator Barry Bauman, recalling the conservation work he did on George Harvey's 1890 Portrait of Lacon Stockton owned by the State Historical Society of Iowa (SHSI).
           
Recently, SHSI began sending its paintings to Bauman for cleaning and conservation in a renewed commitment to preserve a part of Iowa's valuable history. Bauman worked for the Art Institute of Chicago and owned the Chicago Conservation Center before opening Barry Bauman Conservation for museums, schools and nonprofit organizations across the country. He does not charge for his services, only the materials.
           
"We've saved about $50,000.00 in conservation fees by working with Bauman," says Pete Sixby, SHSI conservator. "About 90 percent of our collection needs some conservation work, but we haven't had the funds to properly conserve these historic paintings. That's why Barry's service is so valuable to us."
           

Before Treatment

After Treatment

           
Bauman removes dirt, varnish and all areas of non-original work from the paintings before repairing holes, tears or abrasions. He often attaches a new canvas to the back of the original to provide more structural support. To date, Bauman has conserved 14 SHSI paintings, including Charles Atherton Cumming's (1859-1932) Chief Blackhawk and David Gue's (1836-1917) portrait of former Iowa Governor Samuel Merrill. SHSI has more than 300 paintings in its collection; several are on display in State Capitol offices and at Terrace Hill. SHSI plans to make additional paintings available for public viewing as they are conserved.
           
Early in 2006, SHSI will send Bauman two of its most valuable paintings--William Bradford (1823-1892) seascapes--from Montauk, the historic site that is former Governor William Larrabee's residence.
           
For more information about the State Historical society of Iowa visit www.iowahistory.org. View Bauman's work, including the SHSI paintings he has conserved at www.baumanconservation.com.
           


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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