Featured at The Irvine Museum in Irvine, California is the wonderful tropical              jungle mural of Jessie Arms Bot...
 Haskins	  said,	  “It	  was	  nice	  to	  be	  housed	  at	  the	  health	  resort/spa	  for	  a	  week…	  although	  we	...
Fortunately,	  the	  mural	  was	  painted	  on	  two	  large	  pieces	  of	  canvas,	  and	  not	  directly	  on	  the	  ...
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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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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.

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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

  1. 1. 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, 2012The  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.  
  2. 2.  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.  
  3. 3. 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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