Adopt-A-Monument: Winter Update

December 22, 2020

After a spring and summer of delays due to Coronavirus mandates, it is gratifying we were able to move forward with the maintenance of 20 wide ranging monuments in the Adopt-A-Monument program, among them, three “masterpieces” in New York City’s public art collection:

  • Henry Ward Beecher by John Quincy Adams Ward, 1891, Columbus Park, Brooklyn
  • Admiral Farragut by Augustus Saint-Gaudens, 1880, Madison Square Park, Manhattan
  • The Heinrich Heine Fountain (“Die Lorelei”) by Ernst Herter, 1899, Joyce Kilmer Park, Bronx
  • Before and after photos of the Henry Ward Beecher monument
    Before and after images of the restoration of the Henry Ward Beecher monument. Photos: courtesy of Wilson Conservation.
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  • before and after restoration photos of the Farragut monument
    Before and after images of the restoration of the Admiral Farragut monument. Photos: courtesy of Wilson Conservation.
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  • Before and after photos of the Die Lorelei Monument restoration
    Restoration of the Die Lorelei fountain. Photos: (left) courtesy of Cultural Heritage Conservation; (right) courtesy of NYC Parks Department (Bronx).
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The Beecher and the Farragut monuments were marred with graffiti but otherwise in good condition. Each bronze figure was cleaned with  a mild detergent using soft brushes and synthetic pads to remove dirt and biological material from the surface. The stone bases were pressure washed with a Vulpex detergent. Lastly, the bronzes were waxed with a clear microcrystalline paste wax and hand- buffed. The monuments look resplendent! Our invaluable partners, Wilson Conservation, who originally restored each statue, executed the maintenance.

By comparison, the majestic, multi-figured, marble Heine Fountain, always requires special attention and at least two or three days of arduous work to remove as much of the biological growth as feasible. Based on previous years of cleaning, it is not possible to remove all residue on the marble. It is noteworthy that the fragility of 121-year-old marble requires sensitivity and precision! Scaffolding was erected for access and cleaning of “Die Lorelei” at the top of the fountain. Weathered cracks and joints of former repairs were infilled and repointed. Select areas of marble were stabilized. Amanda Trienens, conservator, and William Clary, stone mason, were the great team that performed the work.

With the Park’s Department budget drastically cut, the annual installation of holiday plantings was eliminated. Fortunately, the MAS had funds in our Heine Fountain Endowment to provide greenery to surround the base. Working with the terrific Bronx Horticulture team, we selected beautiful winter shrubs to protect the fountain from freeze-thaw conditions and vandalism, as well as to enhance this elegant public monument — a centerpiece of the Bronx!

Special Thanks to our Donors

To the Paul and Klara Porzelt Foundation for the Henry Ward Beecher and Admiral Farragut monuments, a partnership that began over three decades ago, and has been a core patronage of the Adopt-Monument Program.

To the Anna-Maria and Stephen Kellen Foundation for the Heinrich Heine Fountain, which had the exceptional vision to bring a new chapter to this once embattled Bronx monument with its restoration in 1998 and insuring its continued maintenance.