A Triple Discovery: Hoyt Sherman Place's Apollo and Venus

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“A Triple Discovery: Hoyt Sherman Place's Apollo and Venus
Presented by Painting Conservator & Art Historian Barry Bauman

Saturday, October 26
1:00 PM
Free and open to public

According to Barry Bauman, every painting has a secret. During his 46 years as a painting conservator, he has revealed many of them—including lost signatures, hidden dates, or entire paintings that have been overpainted. He has also been able to determine if a painting is a fake, and, in some cases, to correctly identify its original artist, owner, or history.

On Saturday, October 26 at 1:00 PM, Bauman will present “A Triple Discovery: Hoyt Sherman Place’s Apollo and Venus, an hour-long review and PowerPoint presentation about the treatment and research procedures that uncovered the secrets behind this historic painting. (It’s a story so remarkable that it landed in The New York Times.) Held in the Hoyt Sherman Place Theater, followed by a viewing of the painting on permanent display in the Art Gallery. This event is free and open to the public. For anyone who’s a fan of Antiques Roadshow, this is a presentation for you.

The story behind this painting begins with another important discovery—one made by Hoyt Sherman Place Executive Director Robert Warren. He was searching for some Civil War flags when a staff member recalled noticing collection materials in a little-used storeroom beneath the theater’s second floor balcony. There, Robert caught sight of a painting wedged between a table and the wall, one that had been lost and unknown to the staff for decades. Robert was not sure what he had found, nor that his discovery would lead to the early Baroque origins (ca. 1600) of a painting we now know as the Apollo and Venus by Otto van Veen.

Barry Bauman’s career began at The Art Institute of Chicago, where he worked for eleven years before departing as the associate conservator of paintings. Next, he founded and directed The Chicago Conservation Center, which, over the next 20 years became the nation’s largest conservation facility. In 2004, Bauman left the private sector to establish Bauman Conservation, America’s first national conservation laboratory dedicated to offering complimentary conservation services to museums and non-profit organizations. It was here that Bauman discovered that a famous portrait of Mary Lincoln was a fake, another story the New York Times chose to cover on its front page. Titled “Mary Lincoln, I Presume,” the story went viral and was picked up by news outlets around the world. When he closed Bauman Conservation in 2018, it was estimated Barry Bauman had contributed more than $6,000,000.00 in conservation services to museums and nonprofits.

In August 2019, Barry Bauman opened Conservation Ventures (ConservationVentures.org), a company that focuses on presentations and CAP (Conservation Assessment Program) survey grants. Bauman says, “The conservation of paintings can sometimes be a subject of drama and each artwork in need of restoration carries within it, like a Chinese box, layer upon layer of meaning—sometimes obscured, puzzling, or distorted.” His numerous discoveries are offered in a series of lectures to museums and other organizations. Conservation Ventures also assists museums applying for CAP grants, which provide recommendations and priorities for long-range collection care and serve as a fundraising tool for future projects. Barry Bauman is an Elected Fellow of the American Institute for Conservation.

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