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Willa Cather Foundation - Red Cloud Nebraska (NE)

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An Opportunity to Help Conserve our Collection

An Opportunity to Help Conserve our Collection

"Lady with Whip" by W.T. Benda
Untitled Sketch by Mary Miner
Friday, April 26, 2019

Would you like to directly support our preservation mission? Through ongoing collections assessment and in partnership with the Gerald R. Ford Conservation Center in Omaha, we have identified a number of collections pieces that are in need of expert attention. An original W.T. Benda illustration from My Ántonia, which had been cut and framed decades ago, will be cleaned and re-matted, so that all the original material will be visible and protected. Other pieces include the many beautiful paintings and sketches made by Cather’s childhood friends, the Miner family, including “Moonlight Scene,” which has graced the Miner House parlor for years.

The total cost for conserving the Benda illustration and the four pieces of art by Carrie and Mary Miner is estimated at approximately $7,000, and we are asking for tax-deductible contributions from our members and friends to help us move ahead with the conservation work. The conservation will include activities such as surface cleaning, stabilization, resecuring in frames, or creating custom window mat housings for safe display and preservation of the artwork.

“We have been slowly working through our highest priority pieces for art conservation,” says archivist Tracy Tucker, “but these represent only our most critical needs. There are dozens of pieces that need extra care—everything from reboxing and documentation to extensive conservation like the recent repair to ‘The Water Carriers,’ a double-sided painting owned by Cather and Lewis.”

The care and historic preservation of our collections and buildings are ongoing. If you are interested in sponsoring the conservation for any of these paintings, or other projects, please contact executive director Ashley Olson at 402-746-2653 or for details. You may also donate online by clicking here and specifying that your gift is for conservation.