“The Domes of the Yosemite” Post-Conservation Debut

“The Domes of the Yosemite,” the largest existing painting by Albert Bierstadt (1830–1902), makes its post-conservation debut at the Morse Museum through a special loan from the St Johnsbury Athenaeum in Vermont. In this video, Oliver Watkiss, our Senior Conservator, explains how Bierstadt’s 1867 masterpiece was painstakingly restored to its original splendor. The monumental painting has not been seen outside the Athenaeum since its installation there in 1873. ⠀

It’s in the details….Albert Bierstadt

Rustin had the opportunity today to visit the Brooklyn Museum and study Albert Bierstadt’s “Storm over Mount Rosalie”. It was so interesting to compare it to the “Domes of Yosemite” that we are treating in Miami. There were many similar details were evident. The paintings were done a year apart, 1866 and 1867, probably from the same sketches, watercolors, and photographs from his recent western trip.


Meet Rustin Levenson of ArtCare Conservation in Bird Road Art District

Today we’d like to introduce you to Rustin Levenson.

So, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
After working in the Painting Conservation Department of the Metropolitan Museum, I started a private conservation studio in New York City. That studio, along with one in Los Angeles, are the sister studios of ArtCare Conservation in Miami.

Our teams of conservators provide museum quality conservation to institutions, corporations, and private clients. We are honored to work with the major museums in Miami and throughout Florida; the PAMM, the ICA, the Frost Museum at FIU, the Salvador Dali Museum, the Cummer Museum of Art and Gardens, the Museum of Fine Arts, St. Petersburg, and many others.

The conservators in our studio have the highest level of training and expertise. In addition to our work on paintings, we publish, teach, and lecture internationally.

We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
The recent Hurricane Irma challenged our team in Miami. Fortunately, we were well prepared and were able to protect the paintings in our care and keep our climate stable with a generator. Like other Miami businesses, during hurricane season, our eyes are always on the tropics.

So, as you know, we’re impressed with ArtCare Conservation – tell our readers more, for example what you’re most proud of as a company and what sets you apart from others.
We are proud of our efforts to work together to solve painting conservation problems. Especially with contemporary works, all sorts of difficult conditions arise. Because we have many years of experience and varied strengths and expertise, we are able to craft solutions as a team. Calls and images go back and forth from Miami, to LA, to NYC as we sort out the best ways to treat complicated paintings.

Some years back, a TV crew came to our studio to propose a reality show about painting conservation. We showed them all types of interesting paintings and treatments. Their main questions were “How do the conservators get along?” and “What are your conflicts?”. When we told them how well we get along and how we work together, they completely (and luckily) lost interest.

So, what’s next? Any big plans?
ArtCare Miami moved to a larger studio in the Bird Road Art District several years ago. This has given us the ability to take on oversize paintings. In the fall we are taking on a giant (15′ x 10′) Albert Bierstadt painting which will provide unique challenges. We are all looking forward to having this amazing painting in the studio.

Read the full article on VoyageMIA here.

Lovely studio visit and lunch from the director and collections managers at the Deering Estate.

Artcare Miami had a great visit from the Deering Estate Director Jennifer Tisthammer, Historic Preservation and Curatorial Manager Bethany Gray, and assistant Francis Oliver. Rustin was able to return two boxes of long-lost glass autochromes to the Deering team, with the assistance of Laura Nemmers and John Nemmers, who remembered about them, Jessica Uelsman and Natasha Alexander from the Harn Museum who found them, and the co-operation of Holly Keris, chief curator at the Cummer Museum, who facilitated their storage while Rustin worked there.  Never say there is not multi-museum co-operation!!!

It was also a great opportunity to discuss their growing collection and our mutual interests in art conservation. We look forward to future collaborations with the Deering in the education and preservation of  South Florida’s History.