Dare To Repair

About two months ago, I blogged about a wonderful, but very badly damaged 19th Century portrait I found at The Garage flea market here in NYC. It was dirty, badly torn and even missing canvas in a few spots, but I could see it was a diamond in the rough.

When I looked at the painting, I saw beauty and talent, and great potential for revival. As I mentioned in my post, I also felt a bit sentimental about saving the portrait, as a few more ‘issues’ and some might be inclined to give up hope and just toss him.

I got a great price from my dealer friend Angelo, and luckily I’ve got an incredibly talented restoration expert named Jean-Pierre, who I knew could return this painting back to its original glory.

I met with Jean-Pierre yesterday afternoon, and he unveiled a stunning restoration, and was so very eager to share some very exciting news with me. When he was cleaning the painting, Jean-Pierre discovered the signature of John Dabour (1837-1905), a well-listed artist who studied at the Ecole des Beaux Arts in Paris, was active in Paris, Maryland and New York, and painted President Robert E. Lee and other early historical luminaries. He also uncovered the date of 1873, and made sure to let me know Dabour’s work is exhibited in the National Portrait Gallery at the Smithsonian Institute, as well as in other notable museums.

Jean-Pierre was so happy that he was able to save this piece, and his joy was certainly contagious. I love people who are passionate about what they do, especially when it helps preserve history. Jean-Pierre mused that somewhere Dabour was smiling as this work will now be around for generations to come. It would be great to know who subject is in this portrait, so it is further research for me.

Of course, I just have to add that the metaphor of rescuing something that others have cast aside as damaged or broken is not lost on me. I am a huge champion of redemption, second chances and the proverbial helping hand.

Now that my portrait is in tip-top, museum quality condition, I’ll be searching for just the right period frame, and of course I love that kind of project. It’s all about the journey…

Dare To Repair…Art is a very personal thing, and if you find a painting that moves you, and have a great restoration person nearby, take the plunge! I did, and I was rewarded with a gorgeous portrait by a very well-listed artist!



About Bob Richter

Specializing in a marriage of comfort and smart design, Bob offers up a fresh take on living with stuff.
This entry was posted in Antiques and Flea Market Finds, Design Mantras and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Dare To Repair

  1. Sharon DP says:

    Wow! It looks fantastic! You would never know that this painting was in the shape it was when you found it. And so awesome that there is such a history behind it, as well! Enjoy it- I know you will!

  2. John Dabour says:

    John Dabour would most certainly be smiling at this restoration for it happens to be the artist himself. It is a self portrait. It is a self portrait of my great great grandfather.

  3. John Dabour says:

    Appears to be a wonderful restoration! FYI- The painting is of the artist himself. I am the great-great grandson of the artist . Wonderful to see this restored part of my heritage.

  4. Bob Richter says:

    Just saw your comment, John Dabour. That is so wonderful to hear. THANK YOU for letting me know!

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