Category Archives: Restoration

Church Mural Re-Creation: Felix Lieftuchter, St. Aloysius, Bowling Green, Ohio

Mostly completed recreation  of ceiling elements.

Mostly completed recreation of ceiling elements.

In Early 2014 I had the privilege to be called up to work on the recreation of a church mural at St. Aloysius church in Bowling Green, Ohio, The muralist is Felix Lieftuchter (b. Cincinnati, OH. 1883). My job is as an in-painter, which is generally the only thing I do on these restoration projects. An in-painter is the person who paints in the  areas of lost paint. Continue reading

Felix Lieftuchter, Muralist, Biography

The Cathedral of the Madeleine is a Roman Catholic church in Salt Lake City, Utah

Murals by Felix Lieftuchter in The Cathedral of the Madeleine , Salt Lake City, Utah

Felix Bernard Lieftuchter was an artist who was born in Cincinnati in  on Oct. 29, 1882. He produced at least six major church decorations, worked with mosaics and engaged in portraiture.


He studied with Frank  Duveneck and also at the Akademie der Bildende Kunst in Munich, Germany with Karl Von Marr  and/or Franz von Stuck.

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St. Francis De Sales Completed Church Restoration, Paducah, KY.

The  summer of 2011 I worked on  a church restoration  at St. Francis De Sales Catholic church in Paducah, Kentucky.  On this project I worked for  Tony Kartsonas of Historic Surfaces. Also on the project were Susie Buchholz, Nick Pavlos and Jeff Wolfe. The project was about 5 months long and I was there for over 4 months.

Paducah is the nicest town in the western Kentucky region, with a small arts and nightlife district along the waterfront. There is a well done series of murals along the flood walls, and is generally a pleasant and friendly, if unexciting place.

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Old South Church Restoration on Nantucket Island

Unitarian_Church_Nantucket_C. Bonelli

Interior of the Old South Church showing trompe l’oiel murals._Photo:C. Bonelli

This past spring I spent 6 weeks working on beautiful Nantucket Island helping restore  the Old South Church in Nantucket Island.  Today it is the oldest of the large church buildings still standing in the town. Nantucket is about 30 miles off the coast of Massachusetts  and was the setting for the whalers from Herman Melville’s “Moby Dick”. Off course the whaling economy is long gone, but now Nantucket is a wealthy vacation resort.

View of the Old South Church from the Waterfront

View of the Old South Church from the Waterfront

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St. Francis De Sales Stained Glass Window/3

St. Francis De Sales Restoration, Paducah,Kentucky

This summer I have been working on  a church restoration  at St. Francis de Sales Catholic church in Paducah, Kentucky. The funny photo-montage below is me posing for reference for one of two paintings I have  been commissioned to paint for a small altar in the church.

Me posing as St. Francis De Sales - through the magic of Photoshop

Me posing as St. Francis De Sales – through the magic of Photoshop

I was lucky and surprised  to find  a great costume shop in town, Creatures of Habit, which was able to put together something resembling a Bishops vestments for me. I’m also doing another one of Saint Jane de Chantel. I am going to hire a model and a nuns habit and do a similar photo-montage and then create both paintings.

I’m working with Tony Kartsonas of Historic Surfaces on this job. We have done a lot of  art in the church and still have much to do. I’ll do a more complete post when it is done. Below are some images from two  stained glass windows I touched up.

Even More Washington,D.C. Mural Conservation

1880's DC mural

1880's DC mural

As my friends know I have been spending a lot of time in the last two years working in Washington, DC on  some mural conservations working with an Conservator/artist team  to conserve some  circa 1880’s decorative murals in an executive branch office building near the White House. With Page Conservation.

About the 1940’s the decorations in a whole series of rooms were painted over and by the time we got to them there were about ten coats of paint on them. So basically the process starts by carefully removing  the over-paint  while trying to save the original layer. Next, the remaining original mural  paint  is conserved and stabilized with glue and other materials. Then we re-paint  the missing areas in, trying to conserve as much of the original paint as possible. We use reversible materials so our work can always be removed.

This differs from a “restoration” which usually means a recreation of old work as opposed to a “conservation”, which actually means to keep as much original work as possible.

in the following gallery which includes several rooms, you can see the beginning stages (where the ceilings are white), intermediate stages, and the completed stages where the original murals look, well, original! Keep in mind everything you see had been completely painted over.