Les Courses de Chevaux by Zuber, Vintage 20th Century
This vintage Zuber scenic wallpaper, Les Courses de Chevaux, had been installed many years ago in one of the public dining rooms of a New York City gentleman's club and had experienced considerable wear over time. Recently there had also been a leak in the wall behind the paper, causing the paper to come loose from the wall. Decisions about the fate of the paper had to be made. The paper had been given to the club by a former member and was fondly regarded by many other members, so the club decided to preserve the paper. In this case, preservation required that the paper be completely removed from the entire room, reinstalled and finally restored.
John Nalewaja and his assistants carefully removed every panel and stripped the old canvas backing from the panels before thoroughly repairing every small crack and tear. The walls were also repaired and prepped for reinstallation.
During the restoration process, they discovered that one area had been previously repaired and reinstalled without canvas. Installation over muslin ensures that the paper can be successfully removed and rehung. Paper installed without canvas or muslin usually cannot be successfully removed.
However, in this instance, with painstaking care, they were able to successfully remove that section of wallpaper so that it could be repainted and properly reinstalled on muslin this time.
John and his assistants rehung the paper on the newly repaired walls and ensured that the restoration artist had a fresh surface to work on.
The artist worked for several weeks repainting damaged sections of the paper and improving the original joins between scenes. She had to airbrush most of the sky around the room to eliminate any trace of the leak that precipitated the restoration effort.
The restoration of this installation of Les Courses de Chevaux was very successful. The restoration artist was able to bring back the original character of the paper.
The artist even touched up the portrait of the donor included as one of the people in the carriage, so it should last for another 100 years at the club.