Berthe Grosso Bonin Memorial, 1921

  • Baroni before three views

    Prior to restoration

    Prior to restoration, the bronze was not only dirty, its patina had faded and it had micro fractures. The bronze was being attacked by the acids in the bird droppings.
  • Cleaning the face

    Cleaning the face

    The restorer carefully washes embedded dirt from the face of the sculpture.
  • Preliminary cleaning

    Preliminary cleaning

    The bronze figure has been cleaned and is ready for patina and protective coating.
  • Sculpture restoration

    Sculpture restoration

    The preliminary cleaning is done, but work remained prior to reapplication of the protective patina. This bronze sculptor represents the full flowering of the Art Deco period, yet was produced very early in the period, presaging the designs other artists wouldn’t achieve until a decade later.
  • Bronze base cleaning test

    Bronze cleaning test

    The cleaning method is first tried on a small area to ensure it is appropriate, prior to cleaning larger sections.
  • The completed restoration

    The completed restoration

    The sculpture and surrounding grounds have been restored.
  • Berthe Grosso Bonnin memorial restored

    Berthe Grosso Bonnin memorial restored

    The restored sculpture
  • The restored memorial

    The restored memorial

    We have established a maintenance program. An art restoration specialist visits each sculpture at least twice a year to assess the condition and do any maintenance, cleaning or touch-ups that are needed to ensure the longevity of each work of art.

Restored 2015.

The early work of Eugenio Baroni was heavily influenced by Rodin and Leonardo Bistolfi. These symbolist style sculpures were often quite decorative and expressive. His major early work was the monument to Garibaldi in Genoa. Baroni volunteered for military service in World War I, and received the Medaglia d’Argento for valor for his courage at the battle of Monte Grappa. However, what he saw during the war left him with a deep pessimism, which affected his work for the rest of his life. This pessimism found a voice in his stark works in the Art Deco style, of which the Berthe Grosso Bonnin memorial is the archetypical epitome of his postwar work.

It is an extremely early, yet fully mature example of Art Deco, presaging the work that would gain international popularity a decade later. The tragic imagery that permeated his later work was not commercially popular in the way that his pre-war work was. He struggled for the rest of his life, only receiving some commissions for small bronzes and the occasional funeral work.

This major work by a nearly forgotten pioneer Art Deco artist suffered from years of neglect, but thanks to our restoration it can continue to speak to future generations. This is a memorial to the young Berthe Grosso Bonnin. who passed away at the age of 34. The post partum bulge of her belly and the baby’s bonnet in her hand recall her lost child.

The restoration was carried out by Lucia Reati, Conservazione e restauro opere d’arte, Genoa, Italy.

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