Albert Bierstadt's masterpiece The Domes of the Yosemite has returned to the St. Johnsbury Athaneum following restoration at ArtCare Conservation in Miami, FL and a 6-month exhibit at the Charles H. Morse Museum in Winter Park, FL. The Domes looks fantastic due to stripping the old, whitened varnish and application of a new, natural varnish. Come see The Domes!
Albert Bierstadt’s The Domes of the Yosemite will be back home at the St. Johnsbury Athenaeum on Saturday, July 14. In October 2017, ArtCare Conservation carefully removed The Domes from its massive frame, rolled it onto a large cardboard tube, and drove it to Miami, Florida. Once there, they repaired a tear in the canvas, adhered the canvas to a liner backing to protect it from future stress, stripped off the old synthetic varnish, and applied a natural varnish which brought out the vibrant colors not seen properly in decades. Then beginning in January 2018, The Charles Hosmer Morse Museum in Winter Park, FL proudly displayed The Domes, the first time it had been seen outside The Athenaeum since its Art Gallery opened in 1873.
The transformation of Albert Bierstadt’s The Domes of the Yosemite is spectacular: what once looked like a valley shrouded in mist now appears as a nearly 3-dimensional view of this glorious natural American landscape. Special thanks to ArtCare Conservation, The Elizabeth Morse Genius Foundation, the USDA, and the hundreds of donors who supported the restoration of The Domes and the installation of a state-of-the-art temperature and humidity control system.
A National Historic Landmark since 1996, The Athenaeum continues its renovations and improvements to maintain its beauty and cultural relevance. Projects include a complete Athenaeum renovation in 2001, renovation of the Fairbanks Children’s Library in 2010, new skylights in the Art Gallery in 2011, and now the restoration of The Domes of the Yosemite. We look forward to additional projects at The St. Johnsbury Athenaeum as we plan a celebration for our 150th Anniversary in 2021.
The Domes of the Yosemite is now on display at The Charles Hosmer Morse Museum in Winter Park, Florida until July 8. Athenaeum Director Bob Joly will be giving a presentation there on Feb. 28 at 2:30 pm. ArtCare has done an exquisite job restoring The Domes; all of us here at the Athenaeum can't wait for its return in mid-July so we can celebrate The Domes coming home!
Great article from Feb. 23 Orlando Sentinel with video HERE.
Nice article about The Domes at the Morse Museum HERE.
Watch a time lapse video about packing up The Domes HERE.
Watch the 5-minute video about packing up The Domes for its Miami move HERE.
See an excellent article about The Domes HERE.
Why is the painting gone?
The canvas is weak at the top edge and needs to be lined with a strong lightweight fabric to reinforce it. Other work includes removing old vanish, repairing a damaged area near the bottom edge, and minor inpainting and consolidation.
How was the painting removed from the Gallery?
On October 11 the painting was rolled, painted side out, around a rigid large diameter tube, and trucked down to Miami. See an example at the Boston Museum of Fine Arts.
Where did it go, who is doing the work, and how long will it take?
Rustin Levenson, Owner and Founder of ArtCare Conservation, will supervise the work at ArtCare’s Miami, Florida facility. Conservation may take three months. http://www.artcareconservation.com/
When will the painting return?
After conservation is completed, the painting will be exhibited at the Morse Museum in Winter Park, Florida through early July 2018. http://www.morsemuseum.org/ Chicago industrialist and Winter Park, Florida philanthropist Charles Hosmer Morse was born in East St. Johnsbury, VT in 1833, and joined the E. and T. Fairbanks Company in 1850. He ultimately became the controlling partner in Fairbanks, Morse & Co. headquartered in Chicago. In 1942 The Morse Museum was founded by his grand-daughter, Jeannette Genius McKean (1909–89), and named for her grandfather.
The Domes of the Yosemite remains the sole property of the St. Johnsbury Athenaeum and will be reinstalled at the Athenaeum in July 2018.