Since they were removed from the walls of the Postiguet waterfront bathing pavilion to demolish the building in 1992, they had not reoccupied any walls of the city until they were hung in one of the MACA grounds this morning. Fishermen, Women with Fish Baskets Y women sewing netYeah Almost seventy years after Manuel Baeza (1911-1986) painted them and a complex five-year restoration process used by the Valencian Institute for Conservation, Restoration and Research to recover the pieces, they have returned in all their glory.
when baeza Received commission from Alicante City Council in 1956 For 25,000 pesetas, he refused to allow the artifacts to be protected by glass, even though their place was a bar-restaurant, to create five large picture boards to adorn his bathing pavilion on the beach in Postiguet. Years later, the pavilion was replaced by another pavilion and the paintings were moved to the new building. Crashed permanently in 1992.
These pieces by the artist from Alicante have been around for 36 years.the stigo of history and also the victims of humidity, smoke, heat and oil from the kitchens. Thus, when the mansion fell, the three of them toured various stores, until in 2007 the Ministry of Culture received a call to inform them that they had found three paintings and did not know what to do with them.
“Only three of them appeared because the other two must have been broken when they were removed from the pavilion. We rescued them, packed them and hid them, waiting for their time to come,” he says. Rosa CastellsCurator of MACA.
And the moment came when, in 2016, IVCR+i proposed to restore an extraordinary piece of Alicante, and the answer came in the form of three murals. Two are two meters 1.59 and one is 2.45. “When we saw it, we knew how to restore it because it was black, oily, with a very mixed backing, it was in bad condition, but since we are an institute that researches as well as restoration and conservation, we started a very bnito process to see how it was done, the technique, the pigments and suggested restoration from there.” , he states. Jewelery Contras, center manager.
women with fish baskets It was the mural painting that deteriorated the most, as it was completely covered in oil. “Two of them were covered with environmental dirt and different layers of varnish, but the other was covered with grease because it had to be reused as a smoke-retaining wall, so the heat changed the material properties of the paint,” he says. . Greta Garcia, Responsible for restoration.
three murals, They can be seen at MACA until January 9th, It is contextualized with the Art in the Wasteland exhibition displayed in the temporary room. with IVAM fundsThese are complemented by a showcase showing sketches of some of the Municipal Archives and other relevant documents, and a video showing the meticulous work done.
Before returning to Alicante, the three panels were displayed at the Palau de la Generalitat de València in October 2021. and for Baeza because apparently Valencia only has Sorolla, but there are more painters in the Valencian Community”.
Since Manuel Baeza, the materials used in the paintings have complicated the work. painted them with tempera, explains Greta Garcia. “It’s a very delicate binder when it comes to cleaning when it comes to deterioration as it has no oil, no resistance and no hardness of oil.”
after completion cleaning tests In order to remove each dirt substance with physicochemical substances and oxidized polyurethane varnishes, it was decided to first perform an aqueous cleaning with chelating agents to remove grease dirt on the surface. After that, gelled surfactants were used to remove thick oil layers and finally, solvent mixture It was gelled to remove polyurethane varnishes.
Likewise, all the scattered parts of the agglomerated wooden supports were strengthened and lost parts restored by gluing new chips of the same type, size and thickness with organic glue with the same properties as the original.
As preventive protection measures, they built some wooden box frames for each of the panels, this turned them into independent and load-bearing jobs while protecting them from future mechanical deterioration. In addition, their backs are covered with acid-free foam board backs.
a space to put them
When the exhibition of the works at MACA is over, find a fixed location for your exhibition, so they don’t come back in hiding. “We’ll take them to a warehouse and look for a place where they can be seen,” says the Cultural Counselor. Antonio Manresa.
The size and their co-occurrence are also a determining factor. “They can’t be anywhere because of their size, they should be. a space open to the public and above all a combination of all three“.
In this sense, he highlights the possibility that there may be “another space” for Culture “maybe next year”.
They file an objection from MACA and IVCR+i. “If there were photos of a celebration or a meal in that pavilion where the murals were seen,you want to be able to see them to know how they were originally placed also see the two that are missing”, emphasizes Rosa Castells.