HAHS Program Manager on The Art of Preservation

The Art of Preservation

By Valerie Balint

Conservator Margaret Saliske in-painting the plaster relief. | Credit: Image courtesy of Margaret Saliske and Chris Mills

Conservator Margaret Saliske in-painting the plaster relief. | Credit: Image courtesy of Margaret Saliske and Chris Mills

Artists’ homes frequently represent a unique combination of a domestic environment and a laboratory for experimenting with new modes of artistic expression. At home, unfettered by the need to satisfy patrons, the artist is free to try their hand at architecture, landscape design, decorative interiors—or all three. Sculptor Daniel Chester French’s summer retreat at Chesterwood in Stockbridge, Massachusetts, is an example such an environment—one personally conceived by the artist, where inspiration meets the ultimate in DIY. These homes allow visitors to witness creativity firsthand and gain insight into the aesthetics and impulses that inform artistic practice, but they can be challenging for those of us who steward their continued preservation. Artists or their colleagues frequently create unique sculpted or painted elements in situ, often with experimental materials. These are both distinct artworks by professional artists and architectural elements that cannot be separated from the overall buildings. The recent conservation and rehabilitation of the breakfast porch at Chesterwood is an excellent example of the balance of artistry and science required in the conversation or restoration of such sites. Read the full article…

 
 

Daniel Chester French Sculptures (Flickr)

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