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Subject: Cigar-store Indians

Cigar-store Indians

From: Nancie Ravenel <nravenel<-at->
Date: Monday, October 5, 2009
Tody Cezar <todycezar [at] sapo__pt> writes

>I have been asked to conserve a Cigar Store Indian.  The Indian
>predates American Civil War, but little else is known.  From the
>limited information I have found on the internet, I believe this may
>be a significant carving.  If anyone has any knowledge about or has
>conserved a Cigar Store Indian, I would be grateful for all the
>information I can get before undertaking conservation.

Shelburne Museum's approach to the conservation of American folk art
made of painted wood, including cigar store figures, remains that
articulated in Valerie Reich Hunt, "Conservation of Folk Art:
Shelburne Museum's Collection and Approach" in Painted Wood: History
and Conservation (Los Angeles: Getty Conservation Institute, 1998),
pp. 424-436. The article includes a case study of cleaning and the
aesthetic re-integration of losses on a sultana cigar store figure.

The book is also available on the Getty's website at

    <URL:http://www.getty.edu/
       conservation/publications/pdf_publications/paintedwood.html>

The article can be found in section 5.

    **** Moderator's comments: The above URL has been wrapped for
    email. There should be no newline.

Issues of aesthetic reintegration are largely left up to the
curator's discretion and are often informed by what can be
discovered about the history of the object by looking at street
views of cities. One of the cigar store figures in Shelburne's
collection "Sandy the Scotsman"
<URL:http://www.tfaoi.com/am/15am/15am121.jpg> has multiple metal
sheeting and iron strap repairs to the figure. When the figure was
conserved in 1992, these repairs were not reversed and re-worked, in
part because they are visible in a photograph of this figure taken
by Berenice Abbott c. 1938 as part of her series "Changing New York"
<URL:http://digitalgallery.nypl.org/nypldigital/id?482698>

I hope you'll find this information helpful for your project.

Nancie Ravenel
Objects Conservator
Shelburne Museum
5555 Shelburne Rd.
Shelburne, VT 05482
802-985-3348 ext 3354


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Received on Monday, 5 October, 2009

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