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.