Conception Abbey

Conception, MO

Structural damage wrought by an earthquake led to a comprehensive interior redecoration and mural conservation campaign at Conception Abbey, a Romanesque-style Benedictine monastery built from 1880-1891. The church houses the sole surviving cycle of twenty-four 19th-century Beuronese wall paintings depicting the lives of Mary, Jesus, and Saints Benedict and Scholastica, based on the series in Prague that was destroyed in 1945.

EverGreene’s fine arts conservators treated all of the wall paintings, which were executed directly on plaster. Treatments included extensive consolidation of the plaster substrate, crack repair, stabilization of flaking paint, removal of extensive overpaint, addressing planar distortion, surface cleaning, and minimal in-­painting. The project was completed in seven months by two conservators and two conservation technicians.

One lost mural was repainted by EverGreene artist Eugene Nikitin based on archival photographs. EverGreene developed and executed a new decorative scheme that emerged from a design charette process with the monastic community. The scheme was derived from the 1880’s decoration and incorporated the brotherhood’s goals for a lighter color palette.