Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Recalcitrant Mucha (Part 5)

Alright, we are finally concluding our series on the Sarah Bernhardt American Tour poster designed by Alfonse Mucha. The last post covered airbrushing. This post will look at the final step in our restoration process which is detailing.

Detailing is pretty much just what it sounds like, putting details back in, but don't let that simple explanation fool you. Detailing is easy to overlook, but the process of putting minute design elements and pigments in by hand is time consuming and requires a great deal of patience. (We have spent numerous hours fixing bad restoration and it is a tribute to the skills of our team how often we are asked to fix poor restoration.)  

This is a great shot of Gabe doing detail work. All those areas of white will eventually be painted by hand.

Poster Mountain uses a combination of water color and colored pencils for detailing. The goal in detailing is to mimic the color, texture and design of the original. This often includes building up layers of color to give the look of the specific printing process and overlapping layers of ink. Additionally, ink patterns vary from type to type: for example offset lithographs have a different pattern than woodblock prints which are different from ink jet prints. This particular poster is a stone litho.

Its hard to see, but here Gabe is replicating a pattern in a light brown color on Sarah's sleeve.
  Detailing can be one of the most mentally draining parts of working on a poster because the area that you're working in is so small and fine that it is often taxing on both the eyes and the mind. Because of this our artists quite often need a break from looking at the same thing and will shift between projects or split the time with each other. Gabe and Ravi both worked on detailing this poster. Ravi in particular was very excited to get to work on it.

The photo below was a great shot because it is easy to see the tiny cracks in the ink that Ravi is detailing. There were small cracks and tiny areas of paper that needed to be addressed all over the poster. Cumulatively, Ravi and Gabe easily spent more than two days working on detail for this project.

However, the time finally came when every tear and detail had finally been addressed. It was time to cut the poster out of our frame and return her to the owners.

Just to remind you (because this has been a LONG series), this is what the poster looked like when she first arrived in our studio:

Here is a progress shot after the poster had been through conservation and was linen backed:

AND after all the prep, airbrushing and detail work was finished:

We are so proud of the work that our entire team did on this poster and hope the owners are just as happy!

Certain proprietary steps and procedures have been omitted. 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 postermount@aol.com or by phone at 818.882.1214. Also check out our websites: http://www.postermountain.com and http://www.lapapergroup.com/. Please feel free to leave comments or questions on the blog! Also for daily photos and updates check out Poster Mountain's Twitter and Instagram: 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.