Friday, October 2, 2015

Recalcitrant Mucha (Part 2)

Hello! As usual I am starting with a disclaimer about why we haven't posted much... we've been busy. But I am working on a plan to start doing more posts and updates. Additionally, we have also begun to expand our social media presence and now have Instagram and Twitter accounts up and running. Please check those out to see daily photos from around the shop. Poster Mountain's Twitter and Instagram will, as the name implies feature predominately posters: please follow us @postermount on Twitter and postermountain on Instagram. Our subsidiary company, Los Angeles Paper Group will be showcasing the fine art side of the company: @LAPaperGroup on Twitter and LAPaperGroup on Instagram.

Back to our sporadically scheduled program! When we last posted the Sarah Bernhardt print was finally relieved of its old and decrepit backing, but was still mounted face down.

Our next step was to remove it from the temporary face down position and to linen back it to fresh linen and paper substrate.

Anyone who has been in our shop has probably seen John walking around with various instruments that he calls "sharps"... all of which are razor sharp flat blades whose edges have been crafted specifically for John's various needs in conservation. Seen above is John using the largest (read scariest) of his sharps to separate the hollytex facing on the front of the print from the board it is mounted to. The facing is holding the various bits and pieces intact before the print is re-backed.

This image gives you a good idea of the amount of paper that was missing. Anywhere that you see large gaps or white space is missing paper.

After trimming away the edges of the hollytex, we begin the mounting process of once again wetting down, squeeging and then applying glue to the back of the print.

This Mucha poster is too big for our regular slanted capillary tables!

Glue Glue Glue!

John re-positioning a piece of image that has moved during the linen backing process.

And finally, after days of easing this poster through conservation we were finally able to mount it!

Carrying prints and posters on sheets of mylar is always one of the more nerve wracking parts of conservation for me, but it always makes for a good series of photos!
In the two photos below you can see that that the hollytex facing is still on the front of the print, giving it the white cloudy look. Once the poster was linen backed we let it dry over night before removing that facing.

We take hundreds of photos for each project and looking through the photos I tried to pick ones that captured the drama and excitement of finally being able to take the facing off of this print! (You'll have to let me know if I succeeded.)

If you'll remember, because it has been a while, we had quite a few issues with bits and pieces of the print flaking away while we were removing the old linen. So we were understandably nervous and excited to take the facing off. Nervous because of the issues we had encountered and excited because it is a beautiful image to see and we love being able to revive prints like this.

We started to remove the facing on the end we had had the least trouble with. This gave us a good angle and leverage when we got down to the areas where there was the most movement and paper loss.  

Peeling back the first corner of the hollytex facing
The process of removing a facing always has the feel of the theater curtain being raised. You know that something fantastic is about to happen and the thing blocking your view heightens the anticipation. 

By the time we had gotten to the top and most troublesome area of the print I was holding my breath...

And as it turns out I didn't need to be so concerned because the facing came off without a hitch, revealing the lovely Sarah... albeit with a few chunks missing.

Our next post will focus on patching the holes and cracks!

If you have any comments or ideas for things you would like to see us cover on our blog, please let us know! If you have further questions regarding other work or your pieces please contact us via email at or by phone at 818.882.1214. Also check out our websites: and Please feel free to leave comments or questions on the blog!

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