The Central Park Conservancy is a non-profit association founded in 1980 by a group of American citizens, who’s aim is to redevelop one of the world’s most famous and attractive parks: Central Park. This association was the protagonist of a project for the redevelopment of Grand Army Plaza, which lies in the heart of New York City’s Central Park.
The project, which involved the installation of new sidewalks, benches, and lights, as well as the replacement of the trees that fell during the 2011 snow storm, also included the restoration of the statue of General Sherman. The restoration, which has now been completed, was carried out using the gold leaf gilding technique.
A group of gilding experts from “The Gilder’s Studio”, which specializes in the care and restoration of numerous projects worldwide, used the 24 ct Manetti gold leaf to complete the restoration of the Sherman Gilded Bronze Statue, which was designed in 1892 by the American sculptor Gaudens.
The statue of the general William Tecumseh Sherman before the restoration
The equestrian sculpture was completed in Paris in 1903, and was moved to Grand Army Plaza in 1913, following the construction of the Pulitzer Fountain, in order to give a touch of symmetry to the plaza itself.
The technique employed for this restoration project was oil gilding: the “oil” used in this process is a glue made from linseed oil, resin and pigments, and is primarily used to apply the gold leaf to small parts. Once applied, the glue is left to partially dry (up to a maximum of 24 hours), after which the gold leaf is laid over top. The gold leaf is made to adhere to the entire surface by pressing it down with cotton, after which the gilder dusts off the gilded surface using soft brush to eliminate any impurities.
The plaza, which was previously the object of a major restoration effort in 1990, underwent further renovations in 2013 in order to restore its original splendour once and for all.
The statue of the general William Tecumseh Sherman after the restoration