Saint Louis Art Museum Restores an American Treasure

  • April 24, 2012 19:04

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John J. Egan, American (born Ireland), 1810–1882; Scene from Panorama of the Monumental Grandeur of the Mississippi Valley, c.1850; tempera on lightweight fabric; 90 in. x 348 ft.; Saint Louis Art Museum, Eliza McMillan Trust 34:1953
John J. Egan, American (born Ireland), 1810–1882; Indians at Their Games, scene sixteen from Panorama of the Monumental Grandeur of the Mississippi Valley, c.1850; distemper on cotton muslin; Saint Louis Art Museum, Eliza McMillan Trust 34:1953.
John J. Egan; Marietta Ancient Fortification; A Grand View of Their Walls, Bastions, Ramparts, Fossa, With the Relics Therein Found, scene one from the Panorama of the Monumental Grandeur of the Mississippi Valley, c.1850; distemper on cotton muslin; Saint Louis Art Museum, Eliza McMillan Trust 34:1953

This summer, the Saint Louis Art Museum unveils "Restoring an American Treasure: The Panorama of the Monumental Grandeur of the Mississippi Valley." The second of a two-part exhibition series, this behind-the-scenes look at conservation of the 348-foot Panorama is a continuation of work begun in June 2011.

Commissioned in 1850 by Dr. Montroville W. Dickeson, The Panorama of the Monumental Grandeur of the Mississippi Valley was painted by artist John J. Egan. Both works of art and theatrical enterprises, panoramas were presented to audiences as forms of entertainment and education about parts of the world audience members might never see in person. The preservation of this only surviving panorama of the Mississippi River allows visitors to discover the history of locations depicted through interactive elements and displays of regional artifacts.

With conservation by Paul Haner, paintings conservator, and curatorial oversight by Janeen Turk, senior curatorial assistant, Restoring an American Treasure will be on view in the Main Exhibition Galleries from June 8 through September 3, 2012. Once fully restored, Panorama will be included in the future reinstallation of the Museum’s American Art Galleries.

This restoration project is made possible through the support of U.S. Representative William “Lacy” Clay and former U.S. Senator Christopher S. “Kit” Bond by a grant from the U.S. Institute of Museum and Library Services. Financial assistance for this project has been provided by the Missouri Arts Council, a state agency. This project is supported in part by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts.


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