Tuesday, March 26, 2013
A Piece of History A Case for Conservation
Featured Artifact: Ralph Savage painting “Origin of the Hudson River, No. 4”, painted in 1881. Donated by Mrs. Sydney Hammersley in 1972. This is one of only two Savage paintings in our collection.
Recently we had our two Savage paintings looked over by a conservator to get recommendations for their long term care. Both works of art need attention and we are presenting the larger painting of the two to our membership in search of some sponsors to help pay for the work needed. First I would like to tell you a little about Ralph Savage.
Ralph Asa Savage (1827-1904) was born in Nassau, NY and moved to Waterford around 1846, after serving as a printers’ apprentice for a Troy newspaper. He was inspired by the Hudson River School of painting and his works are prized among art collectors and museums around the country.
As a true artist Ralph made his living through various methods, including owning a photography studio (he even invented a photographic technique called a “Ralpotype”), a painting studio (he painted signs, banners, landscapes and more) and he also worked for the famous Button Fire Engine Company painting the engines. A Civil War veteran, Ralph lost the use of one eye in battle and still continued his art long after the war. Our Featured Artifact was painted about 16 years after the close of the war.
We know that Ralph Savage was a well respected artist in his day, as he won the patronage of many of Waterford’s leading citizens, not to mention prizes in competitions. Representing the largest body of widely respected and collected work of any Waterford artist , Ralph Savage is an important figure in Waterford’s past.
The painting itself is in good condition and most likely had some restoration work done prior to its donation to the museum in 1972. However, the frame in unstable and not correct to the piece. In order to properly stabilize, secure and display the painting we need to reframe it. The cost of purchasing a new period appropriate frame and having it mounted will cost around $1,500. The new frame will help to showcase this wonderful piece of art in a manner it was meant to be seen.
We are looking for a sponsor or sponsors to help fund this project– to save a true piece of Waterford’s history.
If you would like to donate toward our Conservation Fund, please send a check or money order to the Waterford Museum, Conservation Fund, 2 Museum Lane, Waterford, N.Y.
We have great news, Tim LaCroix, North Carolina ( Waterford Resident 1962-1977) has offered to match dollar for dollar any donation toward this project up to $750. If we reach the matching goal we will have the necessary funds to do the work.
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