Restoration Projects

Current AFC projects (2014/2015)

Paintings in the Gallery of Paintings

Over the next year, the Condé Museum’s Gallery of Paintings is undergoing a major renovation. Most of the financial resources were earmarked for structural upgrades. Additional expenses are needed to assist with preservation of the artwork. The Gallery of Paintings will reopen in spring 2015 (after 3 months of closing) and the paintings must be restored now! So there is a sense of urgency in the search for funds and the restoration of the paintings! Once again AFC rose to meet the challenge. The organization is working along side their French counterpart, Les Amis du Musée Condé (The French Friends of Condé Museum), to provide funding for the restoration of several paintings.
AFC has already raised the funds to restore the portrait of Henri II attributed to Francesco Primaticcio, an Italian Mannerist painter, architect and sculptor who spent most of his career in France.

Completed AFC projects

Restoration of the Fra Angelico Thebaîde from the Philadelphia Museum of Art for the Condé Museum Exhibition (2014)
The Domaine de Chantilly in France is honoring the prized collections of the Condé Museum with a special exhibition of 14th and 15th century Italian paintings. The exhibit, “Fra Angelico,Botticelli... Rediscovered Masterpieces” will be on view from September 8, 2014 to January 4, 2015. One of the highlights of the exhibition is the reunion of five of the six paintings that comprise the Fra Angelico Thebaïde. Only one of the paintings that comprise the Fra Angelico Thebaïde belongs to the Condé Museum. Saint Benedict in Ecstasy in the Desert was acquired by the Duke d’Aumale for his collection. The other four paintings will be on loan from three different museums (Anvers, Cherbourg and Philadelphia) and one from a private collector. Gregory the Great Refusing the Pontifical Tiara belongs to the Philadelphia Museum of Art and needed to be conserved before it could be shipped to France. AFC helped facilitate the loan and raised funds for the painting to be sent to the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City for conservation. AFC is also underwriting the expenses of insurance and transportation to bring the piece to Chantilly for the exhibition.

Restoration of the painting Simonetta Vespucci from Piero di Cosimo (2014)

“Florentine and Sienese painters of the Quattrocentro, formally known as the Italian Primitives, make up a significant part of the legacy of the Duke d’Aumale, conserved exclusively at the Domaine de Chantilly since his death,” Garnier goes on to say. “For this exhibition, the first retrospective that the Condé Museum has dedicated to this movement, thirty major works from its collections – including paintings and drawings by Fra Angelico, Lippi, Botticelli, Leonardo da Vinci – will be presented in the reception hall of the Jeu de Paume, next to nine paintings on loan from leading international institutions.” The Italian masterpiece, Simonetta de Vespuci by Renaissance painter Piero di Cosimo, is considered the crowned jewel of Condé Museum’s collection. Painted in the late 15th century the tempura painting was in need of restoration. AFC underwrote the funds needed to send the piece to the Louvre for conservation. The newly restored painting will once again be on view in September 2014 as part of the Fra Angelico, Botticelli ... Rediscovered Masterpieces exhibition.

The Island of Love

Created in the 19th century for the Duke d'Aumale the Island of Love stands in the English Garden of the Château de Chantilly. The beautifully crafted wood trellis gazebo harboring a statue of Eros on a fleur de Lys tile floor crowns the peninsula shaped island with it's lawns and fountains. The ensemble evokes the 18th century Island of Love where the princes of Condé hosted open air banquets and festivities for special guests.

Today the gazebo structure is missing several elements, most of the fleur de Lys tiles have been stolen and the island is a shadow of its former self. Restoration sponsored by the American Friends of Chantilly will replace the missing pieces of the gazebo and the tile flooring as well as clean and consolidate the statue of Eros.
View picture gallery - Project description - Donation form

Sculpted Fountain in the Grand Stables

The colossal sculpted fountain in the Grand Stables of Chantilly is the principal decorative element in the central dome where horse shows and equestrian demonstrations take place daily. Constructed in the 18th century by Jean Aubert during the reign of Louis XV it was created as a monumental drinking fountain for the 250 horses of Louis-Henri de Boubon, Prince de Condé. During the revolution many of the original sculpted elements were destroyed or damaged. The fountain was restored in 1880 but no longer functions today.

Restoration sponsored by the American Friends of Chantilly will strive to restore the sculpted decorations, repair the defective piping and bring the fountain back to its princely splendour.
View picture gallery - Project description - Photos and program from the June 12 event 2011 - Remerciements

The Le Nôtre statue

Surveying the château de Chantilly gardens, the 19th century statue of André Le Nôtre by Tony Noel honors this famous landscape architect of Louis XIV who designed the Royal gardens of the Château de Versailles, Vaux-le-Vicomte, Fontainebleau, the Louvre Tuileries Gardens and of course Chantilly. Restoration of the Statue sponsored by the American Friends of Chantilly consisted of a thorough cleaning of the epidermis then consolidation and restoration of damaged pieces. High level participants received a replica of the 17th century shoe of Le Nôtre.
View picture gallery

French Edition of FH Hazlehurst's "Garden of Illusions"

Almost 30 years ago, AFC Honorary Board member Dr. F. Hamilton Hazlehurst, wrote the much acclaimed, scholarly work: 'Gardens of Illusion: The Genius of Andre Le Nôtre'. In 1980, Vanderbilt University, published the book in English. It was reprinted four times and used as a text and landscape architecture guide throughout the world but had never been issued in French.

Until 2006, when a French language edition was made possible by a grant from American Friends of Chantilly. French project participants included three prominent French châteaux: Chantilly, Versailles, and Vaux-Le-Vicomte, Le Nôtre designed their gardens and many others. The French publishing company SOMOGY published the book and it is now available in book shops in France.

The Clouet Royal portrait drawings

The Musée Condé at Château de Chantilly has one of the world's largest collections of Royal portraits and sketches by Jean Clouet and his son François. There are over 360 drawings in all. They were originally mounted on acidic paper, which is destroying the lines and colors of these historic works of art. American Friends of Chantilly has assisted their counterpart Les Amis de Musée Condé in restoring the collection. Contributors received a digitized replica of the portrait with the seals of Château de Chantilly and the duc d'Aumale.

Digitalizing precious manuscripts from the Musée Condé Library

Digitalization of the first complete catalogue of the collection of priceless historic manuscripts housed in the Château de Chantilly library (2007-2008).