Not long ago, a local couple visited with me while in town to enjoy the galleries here in Healdsburg. Having lost their home and possessions in the fire, they look forward to the day when a new new home shall need new art and are already making a wish list.
In the course of our conversation, the woman mentioned a small sculpture of a mother holding a baby that they had bought decades ago, when their own children were first born. Nothing too terribly valuable, but a memento of many years together, and quite precious to them. Following the fires, the couple were permitted to visit the site of their destroyed home. The gentleman immediately went to area of his office, moving aside a collapsed wall and searching through the rubble for this little bronze figure. Miraculously, he pulled the mother and child sculpture from the destruction, intact but terribly ashen with glass melted onto the surface. Given the emphasis on bronze sculpture at the gallery, they wondered if I knew of anything that could be done to fix her.
Not long after, the woman brought the charming little figure by the gallery, grey and glassy though she was. As fate would have it, this was just before two sculptors, Steve Reinmuth and Danae Bennett Miller, were planning a delivery of art work. Steve's wife, ZoAnn, and Nye (as Danae is called) packed up a truck with incredible sculptures by both artists and drove to Healdsburg from Oregon.
Steve Reinmuth owns his own foundry and casts Nye's bronzes for her. Steve is deeply invested in the superior quality of each and every bronze created at his establishment. To what better place could I send this little Madonna sculpture? When ZoAnn and Nye left for Oregon, they had the figurine in their possession.
A few days later, ZoAnn sent a photo of the sculpture and already such transformation had occurred! The sandblasting was a complete success, removing all of the glass and char, revealing the shiny bronze surface below. Structurally, she appeared sound and even her long braid was in great shape.
In short order, the ferric patina was applied to the surface, with soft bronze highlights glowing through the darker dimensions. When the sculpture returned to the gallery, I was able to see the distinguishing marks applied by the artist and the foundry that produced her. Research revealed the sculpture's title to be "Mother's Day, May 14th, 1978" . The artist, Skerrit-Gittings Kelsey, of Connecticut, was commissioned by the American Sculpture Society to produce this work exclusively for their membership. Kelsey was a part of the "New Movement" group and best known for sculptures of dancers.
Far more importantly, this Sonoma County couple has been able to recover something cherished from the fire's destruction and restore it back to better than new. It is such a deep honor to participate in a remediation of this kind. We especially want to wholeheartedly thank Steve and Zoann Reinmuth and the team at Reinmuth Bronze for their great work.
Art is why I get up in the morning. The opportunity to be a matchmaker; to serve as liaison between the collector, the artist and the art.