THE FINE ARTS CONSERVANCY
Insider ART RESTART Within the global art community, Palm Beachers are renowned as world-class creators and even better purchasers. But they’re also carving a niche in the field of restoration, and the Friends of the Uffizi Gallery is leading the charge. Established in 2006, the Friends of the Uffizi Gallery is a nonprofit organization dedicated to funding the restoration of works at Florence’s Uffizi Gallery. Millions of visitors travel to the Uffizi every year to view its collection of Renaissance masterpieces, which began with a contribution from the famous Medici family in the mid-1700s. “The works there are not for Italians, and they’re not for the city of Florence; they’re truly for any art lover in the whole world,” says Lisa Marie Browne, executive director of the Friends of the Uffizi Gallery. “Some people [think] it’s frivolous to spend money on restoration, but when they think about their grandchildren being able to see the same works they’re able to see and their grandchildren’s grandchildren, [they real
ize] it really is a very important mission.” The Friends of the Uffizi Gallery has so far funded more than 45 restoration projects, including the creation of the Michelangelo Room, done in partnership with its Italian sister organization, Amici degli Uffizi. The group is now working on a large-scale effort to restore the Valois Tapestries, a collection of eight tapestries given by Catherine de’ Medici (queen of France from 1547-1559) to
A vapor generator removes old adhesive from paper.
Restorers at The Fine Arts Conservancy examine a Rembrandt painting. Inset: Example of partial varnish removal (left) and the effects of UV light (right).
her granddaughter upon her marriage. Restoring these tapestries, which feature ornate scenes realized in silver and silver-gilt thread, is a long process. Ideally, Brown hopes the tapestries will be completed by 2020, and she plans to bring a group to Florence to view them in all their splendor. “I’ve never liked tapestries until I saw this,” says Gordon Lewis, an advisory board member of the Friends of the Uffizi Gallery. “It is totally unique in the history of art, tapestries, and Renaissance studies.” Lewis knows what he’s talking about. Together with his wife, Laney, he runs The Fine Arts Conservancy, an art restoration and conservation center based in West Palm Beach. The Lewises are consulting on the Valois Tapestries, although the actual restoration will be done by a conservator at the Uffizi. Turn the page to learn more about art restoration and the work being done by The Fine Arts Conservancy. ➠ PALMBEACHILLUSTRATED.COM | JULY/AUGUST 2016