March 21, 2013

Local hero's portrait rescued from city attic

Art restorers will raise funds to repair the painting of William Pitt Fessenden and others found in Portland City Hall.

By Randy Billings rbillings@pressherald.com
Staff Writer

(Continued from page 1)

click image to enlarge

This portrait of William Pitt Fessenden, a former U.S. representative, senator and treasury secretary for President Lincoln, was recently found in the attic of Portland City Hall. It, along a about a dozen other paintings, will be restored by the Maine Project for Fine Art Conservation at no cost to the city.

Gabe Souza / Staff Photographer

click image to enlarge

This portrait of William Pitt Fessenden, a former U.S. representative, senator and treasury secretary for President Lincoln, was recently found in the attic of Portland City Hall.

Gabe Souza / Staff Photographer

Additional Photos Below

Regardless of why the city's portrait was put in storage, the Maine Project for Fine Art Conservation wants to ensure that it is fully restored and returned to prominence at City Hall.

Mattozzi said the painting will be removed from its frame and cleaned. The torn canvas will be put back together methodically with an adhesive and reinforced with an additional piece of canvas.

The process could take several years, Mattozzi said.

City spokeswoman Nicole Clegg said other paintings to be restored portray George P. Wescott (mayor 1873-1874), Charles F. Libby (mayor 1882), Fredericke E. Boothby (mayor 1901-1902), Cyrus H.K. Curtis (donor of the Kotzschmar Memorial Organ), James E. Barlow (city manager 1928-1946), Lyman S. Moore, Barnett I. Shur (the city's general counsel 1946-1970) and Robert Ganley (city manager 1996-2000).

Mattozzi said this is the first time the Maine Project for Fine Art Conservation has had to raise money publicly for a restoration, but the group believes it will be a great opportunity to educate the public about Portland's history, and about Fessenden in particular.

"He's in rough shape," she said, "but he's going to be fine."

Randy Billings can be contacted at 791-6346 or at:

rbillings@pressherald.com

Twitter: @randybillings

 

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Additional Photos

click image to enlarge

A photo of William Pitt Fessenden made during the 1860s by the famous Civil War photographer Matthew Brady.

Courtesy of the Maine Historic Preservation Commission

  


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