Early primitive portraits


October 13, 1991|By Anita Gold | Anita Gold,Chicago Tribune

Q: At a country barn auction I bought a pair of early primitive portraits dark with dirt. They seem to be painted on something other than canvas, and I'd like to know where I can have them cleaned and what results I can expect.

A: After photography became common, primitive portraits, many which were executed by itinerant painters, were stored in barns, sheds and attics. Portraits were painted on canvas, linen, mattress ticking, board, paper, barn wood, tin and other "found around" materials. The majority of these portraits are not signed. If you think you have a portrait or painting that might be important, send a sharp photo of it to Barry Bauman, director-painting conservator for the Chicago Conservation Center, in Suite 701, 730 N. Franklin St., Chicago, Ill. 60610, or phone (312) 944-5401. Mr. Bauman does not appraise paintings, but if he thinks a painting merits an appraisal, he will recommend an appraiser.

Q: We are renovating our old Chicago house and want to have our address written in script. Where can we find a source?

A: Sources of door hardware, addresses and other needs for vintage structures can be found in the "Kovels' Antique & Collectibles Fix-It Source Book," by Ralph and Terry Kovel, available for $11.95 postpaid from Crown Publishers, 201 E. 50th St., New York, N.Y. 10022 and the 1991 Old-House Journal Catalog, available for $19.95 postpaid from Old-House Journal, 435 9th St., Brooklyn, N.Y. 11215.

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