The Sherry-Netherland hosted residents and EverGreene conservators and crew at a cocktail reception celebrating the restoration of its historic lobby mural. The mural, painted by Joseph Aruta, is based on Raphael’s frescoes in Cardinal Bibbiena’s Loggetta in the Vatican Palace. It depicts eight female figures, likely representing eight of the nine Muses, rendered in a style popularized during the Renaissance and Neo-Classical period.
In April 2013, EverGreene conducted an investigative study of the hotel lobby. Utilizing both chemical and mechanical means, conservators created exposure windows (which consists of removing several small sections of overpaint) to reveal the surprisingly intact mural underneath. After further analysis, it was determined that a full restoration would be possible. Over the course of seven months, a team of EverGreene conservators and technicians removed thirteen layers of overpaint, as well as several applications of skim coating and various patching. While most post-historic paint layers were removed chemically with a variety of solvent gels and strippers, the surface coat was manually removed, inch-by-inch, with a scalpel.
In E.B. White’s essay “Here is New York,” he writes; “In the country there are a few chances of sudden rejuvenation—a shift in weather, perhaps, or something arriving in the mail. But in New York the chances are endless.” Discovering The Sherry-Netherland’s glorious past, was a quintessential New York “WOW!” moment. EverGreene’s conservators, plasterers, designers and artists know that there are stories tucked neatly under every coat of paint and beneath every stone; unearthing what has come before can be the most thrilling step forward. The fully restored mural is now on view for all who want to see this amazing New York City landmark on 59th & Fifth.