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Jessie Botke Murals of Tropical Forest featured at Inner Visions: Women Artists of California show at The Irvine Museum in Irvine, California

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Jessie Botke Murals of Tropical Forest featured at Inner Visions: Women Artists of California show at The Irvine Museum in Irvine, California Powered By Docstoc
					    Featured at The Irvine Museum in Irvine, California is the wonderful tropical
              jungle mural of Jessie Arms Botke, 1953, in the show

                       Inner Visions: Women Artists of California

                                     March 17 through June 7, 2012




The	
  central	
  attraction	
  in	
  Inner	
  Visions	
  is	
  the	
  7	
  feet	
  by	
  26	
  feet	
  mural	
  by	
  Jessie	
  Arms	
  
Botke,	
  a	
  gift	
  to	
  The	
  Irvine	
  Museum	
  from	
  The	
  Oaks	
  at	
  Ojai,	
  for	
  which	
  the	
  mural	
  
was	
  painted	
  in	
  1953.	
  Many	
  people	
  have	
  heard	
  that	
  FACL,	
  Inc.	
  (aka	
  Fine	
  Art	
  
Conservation	
  Laboratories)	
  was	
  responsible	
  for	
  the	
  mural	
  conservation	
  and	
  
restoration	
  that	
  saved	
  this	
  wonderful,	
  gorgeous	
  mural	
  of	
  a	
  tropical	
  jungle	
  by	
  Jessie	
  
Arms	
  Botke	
  from	
  demolition	
  but	
  few	
  have	
  heard	
  the	
  story.	
  So,	
  here	
  it	
  is!	
  

In	
  1992	
  Scott	
  M.	
  Haskins,	
  art	
  conservator,	
  got	
  a	
  call	
  from	
  The	
  Oaks	
  health	
  resort	
  
in	
  Ojai,	
  California	
  about	
  a	
  wonderful	
  	
  7′	
  x	
  26′	
  mural	
  by	
  Jessie	
  Arms	
  Botke,	
  painted	
  
in	
  1953.	
  Botke	
  has	
  become	
  very	
  well	
  known	
  in	
  the	
  art	
  history	
  of	
  early	
  California	
  
art	
  and	
  is	
  collected	
  by	
  all	
  the	
  major	
  collections	
  of	
  this	
  type	
  of	
  art.	
  Her	
  prolific	
  
number	
  of	
  paintings	
  of	
  birds,	
  fish	
  and	
  wonderful	
  plants	
  are	
  usually	
  all	
  of	
  high	
  quality	
  
and	
  can	
  be	
  expensive	
  my	
  most	
  people’s	
  standards.	
  

The	
  Oaks	
  was	
  about	
  to	
  go	
  through	
  a	
  remodel	
  which	
  was	
  going	
  to	
  involve	
  the	
  
demolition	
  of	
  the	
  wall	
  on	
  which	
  this	
  mural	
  was	
  painted.	
  Actually,	
  the	
  mural	
  was	
  
painted,	
  in	
  oil,	
  on	
  canvas	
  then	
  was	
  glued	
  to	
  the	
  wall.	
  Scott	
  Haskins	
  and	
  FACL,	
  Inc.	
  
were	
  hired	
  to	
  carefully	
  remove	
  the	
  canvas	
  (that	
  was	
  adhered	
  with	
  wall	
  paper	
  paste)	
  
in	
  a	
  way	
  that	
  did	
  not	
  set	
  into	
  motion	
  the	
  mass	
  flaking	
  of	
  the	
  paint	
  layers.	
  
	
  

Haskins	
  said,	
  “It	
  was	
  nice	
  to	
  be	
  housed	
  at	
  the	
  health	
  resort/spa	
  for	
  a	
  week…	
  
although	
  we	
  were	
  not,	
  of	
  course,	
  on	
  a	
  retreat!	
  But	
  all	
  of	
  the	
  art	
  conservation	
  
treatments	
  were	
  accomplished	
  as	
  planned	
  within	
  the	
  week	
  set	
  aside.	
  Then	
  we	
  took	
  
the	
  two	
  sections	
  of	
  painting	
  to	
  our	
  lab	
  in	
  Santa	
  Barbara	
  for	
  further	
  work.”	
  (for	
  a	
  
quick	
  video	
  tour	
  go	
  to	
  http://www.fineartconservationlab.com)	
  

At	
  the	
  lab,	
  the	
  painting	
  underwent	
  mural	
  restoration	
  and	
  was	
  processed	
  with	
  
adhesives,	
  heat	
  and	
  pressure	
  to	
  stabilize	
  the	
  paint	
  to	
  make	
  sure	
  that	
  flaking	
  would	
  
not	
  be	
  an	
  issue	
  far	
  into	
  the	
  future.	
  The	
  murals	
  were	
  cleaned.	
  Then	
  the	
  murals	
  were	
  
lined	
  or	
  backed	
  and	
  then	
  mounted	
  to	
  stretcher	
  bars.	
  The	
  work	
  was	
  completed	
  with	
  
layers	
  of	
  new	
  varnish.	
  Very	
  little	
  touch	
  up	
  (or	
  inpainting)	
  was	
  needed	
  as	
  the	
  murals	
  
were	
  in	
  great	
  shape.	
  

“It	
  was	
  very	
  gratifying	
  to	
  work	
  with	
  Irvine	
  Museum	
  Director	
  Jean	
  Stern	
  on	
  this	
  
project	
  and	
  to	
  facilitate	
  the	
  donation	
  process	
  to	
  the	
  museum.	
  What	
  a	
  wonderful	
  
place	
  for	
  these	
  murals.”	
  Haskins	
  said.	
  

In	
  the	
  late	
  nineteenth	
  and	
  early	
  twentieth	
  centuries,	
  California	
  had	
  more	
  women	
  
artists	
  than	
  other	
  regions	
  of	
  the	
  country.	
  In	
  the	
  East,	
  the	
  entrenched	
  art	
  
establishment	
  had	
  existed	
  for	
  more	
  than	
  a	
  century	
  and	
  it	
  consisted	
  solely	
  of	
  men	
  
artists.	
  It	
  was	
  deemed	
  inappropriate	
  to	
  have	
  women	
  earning	
  a	
  living	
  and	
  pursuing	
  a	
  
career	
  in	
  the	
  arts.	
  By	
  contrast,	
  there	
  was	
  no	
  entrenched	
  art	
  establishment	
  in	
  Los	
  
Angeles	
  as	
  both	
  men	
  and	
  women	
  artists	
  began	
  arriving	
  at	
  the	
  same	
  time.	
  Artists	
  who	
  
lived	
  in	
  Southern	
  California	
  in	
  the	
  early	
  1900s	
  were	
  part	
  of	
  a	
  close	
  circle	
  of	
  friends	
  
and	
  included	
  men	
  and	
  women.	
  

Artists	
  featured	
  in	
  Inner	
  Visions	
  include	
  Jessie	
  Arms	
  Botke,	
  Meta	
  Cressey,	
  Anna	
  
Hills,	
  Donna	
  N.	
  Schuster,	
  Marion	
  Kavanagh	
  Wachtel,	
  among	
  others.	
  

The	
  main	
  attraction	
  for	
  Inner	
  Visions	
  is	
  a	
  mural	
  from	
  the	
  venerable	
  Oaks	
  Hotel	
  in	
  
Ojai,	
  a	
  generous	
  gift	
  to	
  The	
  Irvine	
  Museum	
  in	
  1992	
  from	
  the	
  Oaks	
  at	
  Ojai.	
  The	
  
mural	
  was	
  painted	
  in	
  1953	
  by	
  Jessie	
  Arms	
  Botke,	
  with	
  assistance	
  from	
  her	
  
husband	
  Cornelis	
  Botke.	
  It	
  is	
  a	
  large	
  work,	
  measuring	
  nearly	
  7	
  feet	
  high	
  by	
  26	
  feet	
  
long	
  and	
  it	
  represents	
  a	
  scene	
  in	
  the	
  Everglades,	
  with	
  a	
  large	
  variety	
  of	
  bird	
  life	
  and	
  
flora	
  set	
  on	
  a	
  gold-­‐leaf	
  background.	
  

The	
  mural	
  graced	
  the	
  ballroom	
  wall	
  of	
  the	
  old	
  Oaks	
  Hotel	
  for	
  nearly	
  forty	
  years	
  
when,	
  in	
  the	
  course	
  of	
  renovating	
  the	
  hotel,	
  the	
  decision	
  was	
  made	
  to	
  tear	
  down	
  the	
  
wall	
  in	
  order	
  to	
  enlarge	
  the	
  room.	
  Mindful	
  that	
  this	
  was	
  an	
  important	
  work	
  of	
  
California	
  art,	
  the	
  hotel	
  offered	
  the	
  mural	
  as	
  a	
  gift	
  to	
  The	
  Irvine	
  Museum	
  with	
  the	
  
condition	
  that	
  the	
  museum	
  assume	
  the	
  costs	
  of	
  removal	
  and	
  restoration	
  of	
  the	
  work.	
  
Fortunately,	
  the	
  mural	
  was	
  painted	
  on	
  two	
  large	
  pieces	
  of	
  canvas,	
  and	
  not	
  directly	
  
on	
  the	
  wall.	
  The	
  mural	
  was	
  carefully	
  removed	
  and	
  restored	
  to	
  its	
  full	
  glory.	
  

At	
  the	
  time	
  The	
  Irvine	
  Museum	
  received	
  the	
  mural,	
  the	
  museum	
  was	
  in	
  a	
  large	
  
suite	
  on	
  the	
  12th	
  floor	
  of	
  its	
  current	
  building.	
  As	
  such,	
  it	
  was	
  impossible	
  to	
  bring	
  the	
  
mural	
  into	
  the	
  museum	
  because	
  it	
  would	
  not	
  fit	
  into	
  the	
  elevators.	
  So,	
  for	
  more	
  than	
  
eighteen	
  years	
  the	
  mural	
  was	
  displayed	
  at	
  Joan	
  Irvine	
  Smith	
  Hall,	
  at	
  the	
  University	
  
of	
  California,	
  Irvine.	
  A	
  few	
  years	
  ago,	
  the	
  museum	
  relocated	
  to	
  the	
  ground	
  floor	
  of	
  
its	
  current	
  building,	
  thus	
  making	
  the	
  elevator	
  restrictions	
  moot.	
  

The	
  museum	
  is	
  finally	
  able	
  to	
  display	
  this	
  majestic	
  and	
  magical	
  mural.	
  Since	
  the	
  
museum	
  does	
  not	
  have	
  a	
  single	
  wall	
  that	
  measures	
  26	
  feet,	
  the	
  mural	
  will	
  be	
  
displayed	
  in	
  its	
  two	
  parts	
  for	
  Inner	
  Visions,	
  one	
  measuring	
  14	
  feet	
  long	
  and	
  other	
  
12	
  feet	
  long.	
  They	
  will	
  be	
  shown	
  on	
  opposite	
  walls	
  so	
  the	
  viewer	
  will,	
  in	
  effect,	
  be	
  in	
  
the	
  middle	
  of	
  the	
  scene.	
  




                                                                   	
                                                 	
  
JESSIE	
  ARMS	
  BOTKE	
  (1883-­‐1971)	
  was	
  a	
  Chicago	
  artist	
  who	
  specialized	
  in	
  painting	
  
works	
  that	
  featured	
  exotic	
  birds	
  surrounded	
  by	
  wondrous	
  plants	
  and	
  blossoms.	
  
Little	
  interested	
  in	
  landscape,	
  Botke	
  worked	
  in	
  the	
  brilliant	
  and	
  colorful	
  style	
  of	
  Art	
  
Deco.	
  She	
  worked	
  in	
  oil	
  and	
  often	
  added	
  gold	
  and	
  silver	
  leaf	
  in	
  the	
  background.	
  

For	
  art	
  conservation	
  questions,	
  contact	
  Scott	
  M.	
  Haskins	
  at	
  Fine	
  Art	
  Conservation	
  
Laboratories	
  at	
  805	
  564	
  3438	
  or	
  faclartdoc@gmail.com	
  

For	
  information	
  on	
  art	
  appraisals	
  contact	
  Richard	
  Holgate	
  805	
  895	
  5121	
  or	
  
jrholgate@yahoo.com	
  

				
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Description: Mural of famous artist saved from demolition, this gorgeous mural is a featured and valuable part of The Irvine Museum - Read story about restoration and background.