The Renaissance Man team have completed antique metal restoration work on another recognized Florida State Historic Site. The Maitland Art Center was founded as an art colony in 1937 by visionary American artist and architect, André Smith (1880-1959). Their slogan is Discover, Engage, Inspire and we were honored and thrilled to be engaged for the restoration of their wrought iron entrance gate. The Art Center is one of the few surviving examples of “Mayan Revival” or fantasy architecture in the Southeast, and is on the National Register of Historic Places.
It is, as they say, a small world and those who are involved in Florida’s historic art and architecture are a closely knit family so it ended up being though our work with the Pensacola Lighthouse Museum that Casey Jones of the Art Center was able to track down a shop with the experience to handle the restoration of such a valued historic landmark as not only a fence and gate of André Smith’s design, but an element of the center in which his life’s work was culminated.
For this project, Kevin ended up transporting the historic metalwork hundreds of miles back to the Pensacola shop for the restoration of the historic riveted steel and cast iron fancywork and gate. The metalwork needed to be first sandblasted, then treated with two different compounds. First a tannic acid treatment for rust removal, and secondly a bath of phosphoric acid, which transforms the iron oxide created by rusting to iron phosphate, which creates it’s own protective coating on the iron and steel.
Finally the historic metalwork was ready to be primed and painted in colors matching the original. The re-installation was assisted by Maitland Art Center’s own Mike DiSimone, who had been so helpful on the initial trip, that Renaissance Man asked if he would be willing to lend his skills in the projects completion.
We’re including a few more images of the antique steel and cast iron metalwork here as well as some additional pics to give you an idea of the magnificence of this historic location. Click on any image for slideshow and comments are always welcomed.