Mellon Fountain National Gallery Of Art

Washington, DC

We were contracted by the National Gallery of Art to perform conservation treatment of the Andrew W. Mellon Memorial fountain located on Constitution and 6th St. NW in Washington DC. The fountain, dedicated in 1952, comprises three nested cast bronze basins in a large granite-rimmed basin. The fountain was cast by General Bronze Co. And features zodiac sculptures designed by Sidney Waugh and cast by Modern Art Factory.

The bronze elements of the fountain exhibited heavy deposits of minerals, soiling, deformation and displacement. Our conservators worked to remove the mineral deposits with a combination of water jetting and dry ice blasting. The majority of the fountain’s historic patina was preserved during the removal of mineral deposits. Areas requiring repatination were treated with a solution of Cupric Nitrate. The target areas were heated with propane torches during the application of Cupric Nitrate to develop a consistent and stable patina. Our conservators took care to match the surrounding historic patina. Missing bronze piping elements were replicated and were patinated to match the historic materials. All surfaces were then coated with a hot applied wax coating.