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NEW Pieces

Since its founding, The Drexel Collection has continued to expand and enhance its collection through donations and collection purchases. These new acquisitions are used to complement and refine the existing collection or fill presently existing gaps. New acquisitions are considered on their relevance and consistence with the purposes and programs of The Drexel Collection.

Recent Acquisitions:

Title: Portrait of Mary Astor Paul (1889-1950)
Artist: Cecilia Beaux (1855-1942)
Creation Date: c. 1893
Bequest of Lady Mary Bessborough: June 2013
Accession Number: 13.005.0001

Joining two other portraits of the Drexel family by society portraitist Cecilia Beaux, this large portrait of then 4-year-old Mary Astor Paul, a granddaughter of Anthony J. Drexel, is a welcome addition to The Drexel Collection. A bequest from the late Mary, Countess of Bessborough, the daughter of the sitter, the painting will be hung in the Anthony J. Drexel Picture Gallery along with other family portraits, including a portrait of Mary Astor Paul as an adult by artist Philip Alexius de László (1869 - 1937).

Title: Portrait of Edward McCall
Artist: Francis Martin Drexel
Creation Date: 1827
Collection Purchase: October 4, 2013
Accession Number: 13.007.0001

The Drexel Collection has one of the largest collections of paintings by Francis Martin Drexel, the father of Anthony J. Drexel, who was a portrait artist before starting the firm Drexel & Co. From 1826-1829, Francis Martin Drexel was in South America painting portraits of prominent men and women. This portrait of Edward McCall is one of the paintings from this period, and is recorded in Drexel’s handwritten journal in South America as having been painted April 22, 1827. This portrait was purchased by The Drexel Collection in October of 2013 and is a great addition to the collection as it joins only one other painting we have from Drexel’s trip to South America. The painting is currently on view in the Anthony J. Drexel Picture Gallery.



CONSERVED Pieces

In 2012 The Drexel Collection began a comprehensive conservation survey, identifying the pieces in need of conservation and selecting professional conservators from around the Philadelphia area to help repair and restore these objects. Over 30 pieces in the collection have been conserved since 2012, including a range of objects from paintings and frames to clocks and furniture. This project will continue with not only the individual treatment of objects, but through preventive conservation by upgrading the storage and display areas to comply with the current museum standards.

Highlighted Object:

Title: Banjo Clock
Artist: Artist Unknown
Creation Date: 19th Century
Conservation Date: Fall 2013
Accession Number: 3403

An elegant 19th century banjo clock, named for its unique shape, this clock is one of the many excellent examples of clocks and watches within The Drexel Collection. Joining the ranks of the David Rittenhouse Astronomical-Musical clock and the rare conical clock by Eugene Farcot and Albert Ernest Carrier-Belleuse, located in the Great Court, this banjo clock was a clear choice for conservation.

To bring the clock to its original glory, the dial was refinished, the movement was overhauled including cable replacement and rebuilding the pulley system for the pendulum and the decorative reverse painting on glass along the neck of the clock was retouched.

Now that the banjo clock is revived and ready to run, it is currently adorning the walls of the President’s office; ready to keep pace within the active setting of Drexel University.

Title: Portrait of a South American Official
Artist: Francis Martin Drexel
Creation Date: 1827
Conservation Date: September 12, 2013
Accession Number: 01.001.0001

Conserved this past summer, this portrait is one of the few in The Drexel Collection that was painted by Francis Martin Drexel while in South America. As one of the few examples in The Drexel Collection of this period of Francis Martin Drexel’s career it was a priority to have it conserved.

During conservation the surface of the painting was cleaned and the varnish was removed. The conservator then consolidated the painting to stabilize areas where the paint was flaking, especially around any cracks in the paint layer. The canvas was then removed from the stretcher and relaxed to diminish the warping and the edges were reinforced. The canvas was then reattached to the stretcher and the missing keys were replaced. The losses in the frame were repaired and after reassembly the reverse of the painting was protected with a foam-core backing board.

With the conservation complete, the painting is now on view in the Anthony J. Drexel Picture Gallery along with a number of other portraits by Francis Martin Drexel.