Painted around 1865 and purchased as part of the original Crocker Art Museum collection, The Harem Taking a Walk by 19th Century German painter Wilhelm Gentz needed a lot of love and attention when the BACC was asked to breathe renewed life in to it. A grant from the National Endowment for the Arts funded the careful restoration work required to address the 140 years of gallery time and the painting's long stint in storage.
During the process, technical imaging and analysis revealed the artist had done something unusual to the painting, having scraped and repainted portions of the background, notably in the top left corner. It’s unknown why Gentz returned to the work in such an impromptu manner, but the result brings detail that may have been missing before. Especially beautiful, colorful reflections in the foreground water were revealed by the conservation, as well.
The Crocker Art Museum developed a curriculum enrichment guide around this restoration to help introduce students to the process of art conservation. It can be viewed here.
(Text adapted from the Crocker Museum of Art Facebook page)