SOUTHOLD HISTORICAL SOCIETY RECEIVES PRESTIGIOUS MUSEUM CONSERVATION TREATMENT GRANT
AUGUST, 23, 2004, SOUTHOLD, NY. The Southold Historical Society is pleased to announce that it has been awarded a Conservation Treatment Grant (CTG) by the Lower Hudson Conference of Historical Agencies & Museums (LHC). $104,000 in conservation grants were awarded to 39 organizations, in association with the Museum Program of the New York State Council on the Arts (NYSCA), a state agency.
“This is quite a feather in our cap,” stated Geoffrey Fleming, Director of the Society, “we were one of only two organizations in Suffolk County to be awarded a grant,” he added. The total funds awarded to the Society by the Conservation Treatment Program (CTG) was $5,600.00. These re-granted funds provide support for treatment procedures by professional conservators, to aid in stabilizing and preserving a wide array of unique objects in collections of museum, historical and cultural organizations in New York State.
The grant awarded to the Society will fund the conservation and preservation of two paintings which are the work of two of Long Island’s most important portrait painters, Orlando Hand Bears (1811-1851) and Edward August Bell (1862-1953).
Orlando Hand Bears (1811-1851) was a native of Sag Harbor, New York and is believed to have studied under noted portrait artist Hubbard Latham Fordham (1794-1872), also of Sag Harbor. During his short life only a small number of portraits are known to have been painted. Many are not signed and often can only be attributed to the artist. The painting owned by the Society is rare inscribed portrait of Southold resident Deacon Moses Conklin Cleveland (1795-1883). The portrait, inscribed “Moses C. Cleveland – AE 49 Years – by Orlando H. Bears – Southold Aug. 1837,” is a rare signed example with the exact month and date of the portrait. Moses C. Cleveland was one of the Southold’s most important citizens, serving as part owner of the Southold Windmill and as a deacon for many decades. He was descended from some of the most ancient settling families of Southold.
The second portrait was painted by Edward August Bell (1862-1953).
Bell was, along with Irving Wiles, Henry Prellwitz, and Benjamin Rutherford Fitz, one of the earliest participants in the Peconic School of Painters. Bell studied with William Merritt Chase and Walter Shirlaw and exhibited regularly in Europe and America. He had a studio and home in Peconic, Long Island where he painted much of his work, including many images of local scenes and people. The portrait in question depicts Henry Irving Fitz (c. 1895-1922), nephew of Benjamin Rutherford Fitz (1855-1891) the founder of the Peconic School of Painting. Bell lived nearby the Fitz family and appears to have had a fascination with the young Henry. A number of oil sketches are known to exist that depict the boy in his early years, all of which are privately owned. This fully executed portrait was completed in 1899 and presented to the Fitz family and is signed “Compliments of Ed. A. Bell ’99.”
The conservation work will be performed by noted paintings conservator Alexander Katlan. Katlan maintains a studio in Flushing, New York were he has performed work on paintings for many prestigious institutions, including the Long Island Museum.
Grant funding was available for conservation treatment of paintings, works on paper, textiles, furniture, sculpture, ethnographic, historical and decorative objects. The grant program also offered support for professional treatment of frames, supports, stands and mounts that are integral to the final presentation of the object, after conservation.
Awards were made for prioritized, urgently needed conservation of objects that, once treated, will impact on public interpretive programs, exhibitions and education.
The Lower Hudson Conference received thirty-one applications from collections in nineteen counties of New York State, requesting an aggregate of over $161, 000 in grant support. Thirty-nine awards were recommended by a professional peer panel of conservators and curators. This year’s individual Conservation Treatment grants ranged from $970 to $7500.
For further information on this award and images of the paintings, please contact Geoffrey Fleming at 765-5500 or visit the Society’s website at www.southoldhistoricalsociety.org.