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  • Writer's pictureVan Witt

From Hollywood to Van Witt

As a fine art conservator, you just never know what you'll get your hands on. The four works of art you see above in the background are a part of six total and have made quite the journey from Hollywood, CA to our studio here in Overland Park, KS.

The Shirshekan files, as they've been so named, are a part of a collection of pieces from MGM studios. They were frequently used as props in early films and studio productions. From owner: "My friend located their use in multiple places. He believes there were 8- 10 in the series.

They’ve been used in Broadway Melody, Executive Suite, National Velvet (TV), The Band Wagon, The Man from U.N.C.L.E and Please Don’t Eat the Dasies.

They were also used in Love Me or Leave Me and another television show, “The Deadly Toys.”

Needless to say, they are a part Hollywood history and it was a joy bringing them back to life.

Subject: Six hand-colored lithographs of classical antiquities

Artist: M. Dubourg

Date: c. 1800s

Size: 28 1/2" x 35 1/2"

Medium: oil on panel

Condition: foxing and acid burn on paper and spacer mats; some pieces

have tears/creases; top mats are scratched and dented and have different finishes; frame joints are loose

Treatment Report:

- Documented front and verso of lithographs

- Removed lithographs from frames

- Submerged lithographs in aqueous cleaning solution

- Dried prints under pressure to remove creasing

- Repaired tears in affected prints

- Cut new acid-free spacer mats

- Painted black top mats in satin black finish

- Ordered conservation clear glass to fit frames

- Installed prints into frames

- Attached acid-free backing boards with windows cut for original MGM notations

- Installed new hanging hardware

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