My Mazamet

Life at № 42

The Dilemma(s)

I spent a good long while last night examining the console table. The damage goes far beyond what I initially presumed. There’s over-painting throughout. And it’s not just the gold glitter paint, beneath the gold there’s a hideous bright red. Beneath the bright red there’s green covering up parts of the original design.

I’ve been over all my messages to the person who did this just to make sure that at no moment I did anything that could have contributed to this disaster. I’m confident I didn’t.

-In my first message I asked if the person did this sort of work and sent  photographs. I also described how the work was originally done: green field, red gesso/bole, gilding and then shading. They said they could do the restorations.

-I invited them to see the item in person before committing. After seeing the table in person and telling me they had studied art, the person insisted they had the skills to do the restoration and went as far as to say that very fine detailed work like this was their speciality.

 

-A few weeks ago this person said they were going to gild a frame with gold paint – a chill went down my spine and I explained to them that using gold paint is not gilding. And that the style of work present on the console is always done with gold leaf.

Despite that and other exchanges in which I discussed the techniques used on the table, this person ignored everything I said and proceeded to completely destroy the original work by covering it with various layers of gunk. I’m struggling because I don’t want to be unkind, but I feel this person’s reckless disregard for the property of others crossed a line and perhaps I should name them publicly to ensure this doesn’t happen to someone else.

Here’s the console in original condition with the 18th century gilding, needing only the repair of the missing decorations on the legs.

And now here it is covered in gold glitter paint (resinous!), imitation gold leaf and with the designs distorted and dabbed with paint. On top of all that is an incredibly thick layer of wax.

43 comments on “The Dilemma(s)

  1. Barry
    March 17, 2018

    Perhaps on top of fraud there’s a case for negligence causing damage or maybe even willful damage?

    Liked by 2 people

    • The Pink Agendist
      March 17, 2018

      Technically, yes – but I don’t want to go down that road. The situation is already depressing enough without the sort of hassles involved in legal cases.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. metan
    March 17, 2018

    Sounds like you were pretty clear about what you wanted and there was no misunderstanding there. This sounds more like a person who carelessly overestimated their skill and refused to listen to instructions. Is there any way to find out if anyone else has had similar problems with them?

    Liked by 2 people

    • The Pink Agendist
      March 17, 2018

      I think you’re right. The intent wasn’t to destroy the table. And the careless overestimation probably snowballed. Remember that scene of Mr. Bean with the Whistler’s Mother painting?

      Liked by 4 people

      • metan
        March 17, 2018

        Ha! Yes I do!

        Now imagining they did the bit you asked for and realised it was wrong, thought they’d better even it up… then even up another bit to make it less obvious… then more and suddenly the whole thing was screwed and you were knocking on the door.

        Liked by 2 people

      • The Pink Agendist
        March 17, 2018

        That’s the only explanation I can think of for this horror.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. makagutu
    March 17, 2018

    Pink, we can all agree, this is a case of fraud. We can add criminal negligence to it. Outing them, I think is enough punishment. It avoids the legal hassle and at the same time cautions others whose property might be ruined.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Restorer guy
    March 17, 2018

    Hi,
    I’m a restorer. Get someone to look at it. Even if the surface is compromised you might be able to salvage some of the original work. I’ve seen situations like this before and the ethical thing for the person who did this to do is to offer to take the piece to a real professional to undo their “work” and they should pay for that. You’d be surprised at how many hacks there are out there pretending to know what they’re doing. Good luck.

    Liked by 4 people

    • The Pink Agendist
      March 17, 2018

      I’ve attempted a bit of cleaning with white spirits and the gilding has been damaged more or less everywhere. I imagine undoing this mess would cost a fortune – a fortune the person who did this doesn’t have.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. inspiredbythedivine1
    March 17, 2018

    “…perhaps I should name them publicly to ensure this doesn’t happen to someone else” Fuck yes you should! It doesn’t even look like the same table! Oh, torturing this person would be foremost on my mind. Don’t be nice. Be angry! Clearly this idiot did NOT know what he or she was doing. Either that, or they did, indeed, deliberately screw you over. Damn! Make me angry just thinking about it and it isn’t my table!

    Liked by 4 people

    • The Pink Agendist
      March 17, 2018

      I know. It now looks like a bad cheap reproduction from the 60’s. Like the stuff they made for tourists in Florence :/

      Liked by 2 people

    • makagutu
      March 17, 2018

      Jeff, are you completely certain the CIA have not gotten in touch with you to help them rewrite their torture manual?

      Liked by 1 person

    • acflory
      March 18, 2018

      I agree. This is not just about you, Pinky. In a sense, you owe it to countless other antiques out there to put the fear of god into hacks and frauds so they think twice before doing something like this.

      In its original condition, that table would have found a good home and may have been passed from generation to generation, valued for its age and authenticity. Now? It’s ‘pretty’ but it’s not authentic so sooner or later it’ll be discarded. Pouf. Finished, thrown on the junk heap. 😦

      Like

  6. Steve Ruis
    March 17, 2018

    I think there is a large disconnect between the craftsmen capable of this kind of work and the “craftsmen” claiming they can do it now. A generational break in knowledge. This seems to be happening all over the world in the arena of traditional skills. Too many current folks think that if they can create something that “looks like” what you want that that is good enough.

    Sad. Sorry this happened. A restorer might be able to help but would be expensive.

    Liked by 2 people

    • The Pink Agendist
      March 17, 2018

      You’re right on both counts. I also think that along with your points we’re experiencing a time where many people’s relationships with objective reality aren’t quite what they should be.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. jim-
    March 17, 2018

    It was better as it was. Now it looks like a pier 1 import. Wow, you weren’t kidding. I’m no expert, but this is pretty obvious. Did you happen to see any of their work prior? Most people would back away from something this far out of their league. I’m a pretty good carpenter, but is someone asked me to remodel the presidential suite at the Waldorf, I’d just wish them luck. This person must just be dumb. Really dumb. Or stupid.

    Liked by 1 person

    • The Pink Agendist
      March 17, 2018

      That’s the part I really don’t understand. I can’t imagine a situation where I’d take on work that I didn’t know how to do, especially in a case where there was the risk of serious financial consequences for someone.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Kris Jennings
    March 17, 2018

    Your emotions are not right or wrong (ie justified by the facts of the situation). They just ARE. But I feel angry is different than I AM angry. Name the emotions and keep working through the process. Wishing you peace. ❤️

    Liked by 2 people

    • The Pink Agendist
      March 17, 2018

      Coincidence because I’m wishing me peace too!!!!!! 😀

      Liked by 2 people

      • Bizzy
        March 17, 2018

        Well, yeah, peace and balance. Never own anything you can’t use or can’t afford to lose. Isn’t that the saying? When I come up against something like this, I tell myself it’s a lesson in nonattachment. Sometimes I have to repeat that quite a few times, to be sure. Sometimes it even works.

        Liked by 1 person

      • The Pink Agendist
        March 17, 2018

        100% true. The problem is this wasn’t to keep, it was work (for resale). So my entire investment is out the window…

        Liked by 1 person

  9. john zande
    March 17, 2018

    Same people responsible for this?

    Liked by 3 people

  10. Helen Devries
    March 17, 2018

    I take it that the person concerned is not a professional restorer with a known track record.

    If that is so then it sounds like a case of someone whose lack of professional experience allows them to think themselves capable when they are not…probably surrounded by a coterie of camp followers who boost their self image.
    That would explain being out of their depth but it is hard to excuse the arrogance of ignoring the client’s instructions.

    It is the vulgarity of the result that sticks in my craw.

    I can accept dog damage, the ravages of a domestic environment…these are the hazards of how we choose to live. Having a treasure ruined by a combination of arrogance and ignorance is something else.

    Liked by 1 person

    • The Pink Agendist
      March 17, 2018

      We’re in a funny time for delusional thinking. A person lies and/or exaggerates on the internet and that can take on a life of its own. Especially if, as you say, they’re part of a group that bolsters the delusional thinking.
      And yes, the shiny Trumpian vulgarity of the thing now is revolting. Utterly infuriatingly revolting.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Helen Devries
        March 17, 2018

        ‘Know thyself’ would seem to have fallen out of fashion.

        Liked by 2 people

      • The Pink Agendist
        March 17, 2018

        Completely. Plus people get enamoured by the idealised versions of themselves which they present online. It’s all downhill from there.

        Liked by 1 person

  11. agrudzinsky
    March 17, 2018

    They thought they could make the table great again.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. I actually remember the comment the unskillled person made on your blog offering his services. I remember the exchanges. How do we grow? There is always a first time for everything. The error here is that the person did not quit when they were not skilled enough to do the repair. Obviously they started on the leg and when the existing gold leaf did not match their glitter gold paint repair job, they should have quit and admitted defeat, called you in shame, but honestly. The guilt is that they continued on and literally ruined the whole piece.

    How do we grow? We take on something that is a bit out of our league and then focus like a laser beam to do it. Step by step we build our skill set. So I don’t think there was anything wrong per say in him trying it, but when it was obvious that the job was beyond his skill set he should have quit. He should not have painted over everything, that was a cover up and that was wrong. Put it away out of sight and come back to it in a year. It’s only furniture, it is not your health or Mike’s health. Just get it out of sight and quit posting about it. It’s only going to work you up and piss you off even more.

    Liked by 1 person

    • The Pink Agendist
      March 17, 2018

      I agree with you. A small attempt on the area with the missing paint would’ve been okay even if it hadn’t worked out. That’s why I thought it was a reasonable, calculated risk. I never imagined the entire table might be at risk…!

      Like

  13. Osyth
    March 19, 2018

    Oh bluddy hell … it didn’t get better then? Did you know this person before? I think one of the major villains of the present era is the internet. There isn’t much triage on the internet. Perhaps the lesson learned should be to go to a gilder who resides in a shop in a place (we have a marvelous one who I often stop to watch in Grenoble … a bit far but I bet there’s one in your area, probably many) – I’m not trying to teach my grandmother to suck eggs, but maybe that’s a better way? And recriminations? I really try hard not to do this because in my experience (and you don’t want to know what that is, I assure you) they just come back and bite again when you think you have won the day …. Life? Bitch! Take good care, I feel your pain and I am so sorry. PS: I have just written to your friends in les Montagne Noire with a suggested plan for their lovely (but not for me) house ⛰ 🏡 ☀️ 😊

    Liked by 1 person

    • The Pink Agendist
      March 19, 2018

      There were a series of events that led up to it. I met someone online who was also in the Languedoc, also doing up a house, also interested in painted furniture. So I was inclined to throw some work their way thinking I was being helpful. But alas, here we are :/

      Liked by 1 person

      • Osyth
        March 20, 2018

        I can see how that happened. The important thing now is how to salvage something from the mess. Rather than contributing to the cacophonous noise which is only perpetuating your rage, is there anything I can do to help? I do have very good contacts in England …. I worked for a well-known Auction house many years ago.

        Liked by 1 person

      • The Pink Agendist
        March 20, 2018

        If you worked in this field you know we’re past the point where there are easy solutions.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Osyth
        March 20, 2018

        I was not a restorer but I know many. From what you have said, an easy fix will not present itself. I was simply trying to see if I can help in any way. If you know me, you will know my default (and sometimes my fault 😉) is to be helpful.

        Liked by 1 person

  14. Bela Johnson
    March 19, 2018

    Naming them publicly seems imperative, in my opinion. To prevent this happening to others. Then I would (in Jeff Healey’s words) “let it all go, so it don’t burn a hole in your heart.” Aloha, Pink.

    Liked by 1 person

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This entry was posted on March 17, 2018 by in art and tagged , , .
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