103 Year Old Mural Restored at Birmingham, Alabama’s Lyric Theatre
It’s not often you get a chance to see huge 38 foot long, 9 foot high work of art up close, especially after it was restored to its original splendor. I got that chance recently at the historic Lyric Theatre, as I was able to walk right up to “Allegory of the Muses”.
The mural was painted in 1913 by Birmingham artist Harry Hawkins when the theater was built. Hawkins was a student of John Singer Sargent at the Chicago Art Institute. Scaffolding will be removed soon so this may be the last close look at the mural at eye level. You see, the mural is above the stage about 30 feet up.
Two experts from EverGreene Architectural Art spent six weeks on the scaffolding, removing old, black varnish with a special solvent and then reapplying new varnish to protect the painting. All of the work was done by hand. EverGreene a New York based company, specializes in restoration and conservation historic artwork and plasterwork. Read joe Sponger’s article about the mural restoration on AL.com http://www.al.com/news/birmingham/index.ssf/2015/06/103_year_old_mural_restored_at.html
The Lyric has been undergoing renovations and Birmingham Landmarks officials hope the theater can reopen next year, when it turns 100 years old. The theater is expected to seat about 800 people when it’s finished. Check out the renovations and progress here in John Reed’s article on AL.com http://blog.al.com/spotnews/2013/09/the_lyric_theatres_marquee_is.html