Goldwater Memorial Hospital Murals

Roosevelt Island, NY

EverGreene investigated the possible existences of two WPA artworks, by artists Joseph Rugolo and Albert Swinden, originally commissioned for Goldwater Memorial Hospital. Conservators confirmed the location of the murals, assessed their conditions, then safely removed and conserved the historic murals.

Once removed from the site, conservation began at EverGreene’s plaster studio, which had been converted into a negative-air chamber and lead-containment zone. Conservators used both chemical strippers and hand tools to painstakingly remove the overpaint from the historic murals: scalpels and small blades proved most useful in the removal of certain areas of overpaint from the Swinden murals, while heat guns and wooden sculpting tools were effective in revealing the Rugolo artwork.

Once the overpaint was removed, conservators began carefully inpainting areas of complete loss or damage to match the exisiting mural. Conservation paints were used to match the historic color palette of the artworks. The murals are currently awaiting relocation within the new Cornell Tech campus.

Joseph Rugolo

A detail of the conserved Rugolo mural

Joseph Rugolo

The Rugolo mural as found, covered by layers of overpaint

Albert Swinden

The Swinden mural as found, covered in layers of overpaint

Albert Swinden

Conservators removed overpaint in the containment lab

Joseph Rugolo

Conservators used heat guns to remove layers of overpaint

Joseph Rugolo

A negative air chamber was constructed to protect against lead contamination

Albert Swinden

Detail of the conserved Albert Swinden mural

Albert Swinden

Detail of the conserved Albert Swinden mural

Joseph Rugolo

Detail of the conserved Rugolo mural



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