Artifact & Decorative Object Conservation—Decorative and Propaganda Arts
Mural from Alameda Naval Air Station
This artwork triptych was composed of a delicate technique known as reverse glass painting, where an image is created in reverse and viewed through glass. Fabricated as part of the WPA during WWII for the Alameda Naval Air Station in the San Francisco Bay Area, all three panels were severely affected by paint cracking, lifting and loss, most likely the result of a poorly aged paint backing that had been applied sometime after the works were made.
Lifting paint was consolidated and set down using a low viscosity conservation grade consolidant, chosen for its stability, easy flow, and clear drying properties. Areas of paint loss were inpainted with acrylic paints and areas with platinum leaf loss were infilled with silver leaf. In order to prevent further damage from the failing previous backing, a layer of Japanese tissue paper was applied to the back surface using a reversible water based PVA adhesive to provide flexible support in the event that the extant paint continued to fail in the future.
||Charles Houghton Howard and Clay Edgar Spohn, 1942
||Mural from Alameda Naval Air Station
Three-panel reverse painted glass mural
||November – December, 2017
||Oil, tempera, platinum leaf, glass
||46” (H) x 190” (L) x .25” (W)