BACC conservators were called out of the lab this July to carry out a conservation treatment on an early 20th-century relief mural by a well-known San Diego Impressionist painter. Although the mural is undated it is likely more than 100 years old. Remarkably, it still survives in its San Diego home.
The piece features a tranquil desert scene that was first sculpted in relief on the wall, and then later painted in earth tones with splashes of bright color. When coupled with the beautiful craftsman architectural features of the room, the California Impressionist mural instantly transports one back to the San Diego of the early 20th century.
The BACC team stabilized some local areas of cracking plaster on the mural, gently and safely dusted the piece, and inpainted a few small, scattered plaster and paint losses throughout the room to visually reintegrate them into the greater composition. Now the mural is both structurally stable and visually refreshed. It is complete, once again.
Considering its age, the fact that the mural was found in such good condition is a testament to the generations of careful stewards who have owned the house since its creation. This, of course, includes the current owners of the house, who admirably prioritized the preservation of the mural so that it will continue to live on. This project reveals how it's not only institutions like museums that preserve local art and heritage for future generations, but it's individuals within our community, as well.
Watch this video produced by the Balboa Park Cultural Partnership and learn a few fun facts about BACC. Thanks for featuring us, BPCP!
The Balboa Art Conservation Center's newest initiative, Preserve Community Art! was created as part of the organization’s ongoing commitment to protect important cultural heritage. Through this program BACC provides pro bono art conservation services for culturally significant works that emerge from community-led movements in the San Diego area.
Here is just some of the press coverage that resulted from the program's announcement:
ABC10 News: "Some San Diego County Organizations to Preserve Artwork Following Protests"
Art Daily: "BACC Announces Program to Protect and Elevate Artwork from Social Justice Movements"
KPBS: "Local Art Conservators To Preserve Protest Art"
KUSI: "Balboa Art Conservation Center Begins Social Justice Art Preservation Program"
San Diego Union Tribune: "Column: Why the Balboa Park Conservation Center Thinks Protest Art is Worth Protecting"
Times of San Diego: "George Floyd Murals, Similar Works Sought by Balboa Art Conservation Center"
Learn more about the Preserve Community Art! program by visiting its webpage here.