Published: Wednesday, June 03, 2009
By Andrew J. Bernstein
AFTER FIRE PAINTINGS RETURN TO YADDO
SARATOGA SPRINGS — More than a year after fire damaged an administrative building at Yaddo, 65 works of art damaged by soot in the fire have been returned to the artists’ retreat.
On Tuesday, workers from Oliver Brothers, a Boston-based firm specializing in restoring damaged art work, delivered a truck load of art, including paintings, drawings, lithographs and sculpture.
The fire broke out in Yaddo’s “Garage” on May 10, 2008. The building houses administrative offices, as well as the maintenance and grounds crews. The fire started in a riding mower at night, when the building was unoccupied.
No one was injured in the fire, but Yaddo Public Affairs Coordinator Leslie Leduke said the Saratoga Springs Fire Department rescued a cat that lived in the building.
Yaddo maintenance supervisor Don Farmer unloads artwork Tuesday afternoon. The works were restored after a May 2008 fire. (RICK GARGIULO/The Saratogian)
The fire destroyed the buildings electrical, telephone, and heating systems, but did not cause significant damage to the structure. Restoration work on the building is still ongoing, and Yaddo Vice President Patricia Supp said work on the building would be complete in late September. Until the building is completed, the art returned Tuesday will be stored on Yaddo’s property.
Leduke said that most of the damaged art works were from the collection of Yaddo founder Spencer and Katrina Trask. Some of the works were by Yaddo residents, although most of the foundation’s most valuable works are housed in the mansion, where artists-in-residence are housed during stays at Yaddo.
Oliver Brothers restoration workers Greg Bishop and Peter Tysver, who delivered the art, said most of the restoration work focused on removing soot, although some of the pieces had “pre-existing conditions,” such as peeling paint, which required workers to stabilize the works to ensure they would not be damaged as the works were cleaned.
Leduke said that Yaddo expects to claim about $2 million in damages due to the fire, including restoring the art work. The organization will pay an additional $600,000 to update some building systems.
Yaddo will hold its annual benefit on Friday, June 19, and will feature former Yaddo resident and author Matt Witten.
You can find more information on what to do if you have experienced a loss (fire damaged art or water damaged art) HERE