Artist Ron Petitt restores 100 year old sculpture created by Italian Master Pompeo Coppini.
Copyright 2010-2014 Ron Petitt
PO Box 1992 Loveland, CO
IN 1999 THE TEXAS HISTORICAL COMMISSION ANNOUNCED THAT THEY HAD SELECTED THE GEORGE O'BRIEN MILLARD SCULPTURE LOCATED IN BEAUMONT TEXAS AS ONE OF TEXAS' 10 MOST IMPORTANT OUTDOOR SCULPTURES. THE COMMISSION'S REPORT STATED THAT THE MILLARD SCULPTURE, WHICH HAD BEEN CREATED IN 1912 BY ITALIAN MASTER SCULPTOR POMPEO COPPINI, WAS IN DIRE NEED OF PRESERVATION TO PREVENT THE SCULPTURE FROM FURTHER DETERIORATION.
IN 1999 AN ART CONSERVATION GROUP WAS HIRED TO EXAMINE AND EVALUATE THE DAMAGE CAUSED BY NEARLY 90 YEARS OF EXPOSURE TO THE INDUSTRIAL SOUTH EAST TEXAS ENVIRONMENT. AS EXPECTED THE CONDITION OF THE 7' TALL BRONZE FIGURE WAS POOR. THE GROUP CLEANED AND MADE MINOR REPAIRS TO THE MEMORIAL.
IN 2010, COLORADO SCULPTOR RON PETITT WAS SELECTED TO RESTORE THIS IMPORTANT PIECE OF TEXAS HISTORY. THE FOLLOWING PHOTOS SHOW THE PROCESS THAT WAS USED TO SAVE THIS MAJESTIC PIECE OF ART.
Ron Petitt shown standing next to the larger than life bronze sculpture of George O'B Millard at Pitkin Park in Beaumont Texas. As part of the restoration process, Petitt suggested moving the sculpture from it's current location, which was next to the Port of Beaumont, to a more fitting location on the grounds of the Beaumont Art Museum.
After careful examination, it was determined that the sculpture and cap stone could be safely removed from the original granite base for transport to the new the new installation site.
With the assistance of Director of Public Works, Tom Warner and the City of Beaumont, the sculpture was carefully loaded and transported to the prepared site.
With the sculpture at ground level, it was clear that the past 100 years of exposure to the elements had done considerable damage to the bronze surface.
After a thorough examination, Ron Petitt carefully starts the difficult process of removing the dirt, debris and aged finish from the sculpture.
With equipment furnished by The City of Beaumont, Petitt carefully sandblasts the irreplaceable, one-of-a kind sculpture. It was a slow and tedious task, but after several hours, the 100 years of wear had been removed.
Once the sandblasting was completed, a chemical patina was applied to the sculpture to bring out the highlights and provide a protective barrier to the metal surface.
Once the patina was finished, the entire sculpture was heated with a propane torch and a coating of special wax was applied. By heating the Bronze it allows the wax to penetrate the pores of the metal and create a protective barrier against the elements.
The finishing step was to refinish and install the original bronze nameplate.
The result of the restoration is dramatic! In less than a day, 100 years of damaging exposure to the elements is transformed into a shining example of what can be accomplished with with the proper conservancy efforts. A major piece of Texas history is saved for future generations to enjoy and appreciate.
If you or your organization know of a sculpture needs to be evaluated for professional restoration, please feel free to contact Ron Petitt to discuss your conservancy questions.