Conservation Solutions, Inc: Art + Architecture + Artifacts

Maurice Savoie, Mid Century Concrete Mural Assessment

Hickman Building Panels, St.John's, Newfoundland, Canada
Memorial University

CSI worked with the Memorial University of Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada to assess and recommend treatments for a 1966 concrete mural on the facade of one of the earlier buildings on their campus in Saint John's. The mural is by Maurice Savoie, a Quebec artist who produced a number of public murals, mostly in ceramics, throughout Canada. This example incorporates biomorphic forms and references to nature depicted in raised and incised sculptural forms, colored gravel and splashes of pigment set into the concrete paste. The work has developed conditions that are typical of aging concrete, specifically spalling of embedded rebar, and the resulting fracturing of the concrete, atmospheric soiling, and biological activity.

CSI conservators inspected the mural and historic documents to determine the means of construction and identify the causes of deterioration.  As part of the onsite assessment, CSI took samples to provide analytical micro-destructive testing. Following communication with the artist’s estate, CSI compiled a comprehensive report to develop means of preserving the aging concrete and restoring the work.