Furchgott Sourdiffe Gallery 25 Years in Business

first_imgFurchgott Sourdiffe Gallery in Shelburne is celebrating their 25th year of business in Vermont as artisan picture framers and restorers of antique frames. An art gallery became an additional part of the business beginning in 1991.Brad Sourdiffe and Joan Furchgott met in Vermont in 1975, and left for 6 years before returning in 1982. At that time they initially set up a frame restoration business operating out of their then home in Buel’s Gore.The skills the couple learned while employed at Kotzbeck Gallery in San Francisco from 1979-1982, are rarely found in the picture framing business today. Furchgott had been working as a picture framer on and off since 1973, and at the San Francisco gallery learned additional traditional skills that included French matting (hand-drawn ink lines and panels of tint or marbelized papers), hand-wrapping fabric mats and conservation skills for the handling of rare and valuable art. The San Francisco gallery employed skilled international craftsman, and there Sourdiffe learned the art of gilding and finishing, both for the making of new hand-finished frames and mats, and restoring antique frames and objects. Back in Vermont, Sourdiffe also learned additional modern conservation techniques while apprenticing at the conservation lab at the Shelburne Museum. Today Sourdiffe is widely recognized for his meticulous and historically accurate work for both individual and public collections. Since moving back to Vermont in 1982, he has restored historic frames for many prestigious institutions which include: the Bennington Museum, the Fleming Museum, the University of Vermont, the Vermont Statehouse, and the Hood Museum at Dartmouth College. Of the dozens of frames he has worked on for the Vermont Statehouse, two of the most notable are the frames for the painting of George Washington hanging above the speakers rostrum, and the 16′ x 23′ painting of the Battle of Cedar Creek. Numerous pieces restored in Charleston , S.C. include those for City Hall, The Gibbes Museum of Art, and the Historic Charleston Foundation. This year he completed extensive restoration of a c.1864 Vermont state seal now hanging in the St. Albans Museum.In 1991, the couple bought the Shelburne Art & Frame Shop in Shelburne Village where both had worked at various times on a part-time basis. That business had been originally established in the 1970’s , so in it’s new incarnation as Furchgott Sourdiffe Gallery it has the distinction of being the oldest commercial art gallery in Chittenden County. The revitalized gallery immediately began to establish a reputation for representing many of the area’s most interesting and accomplished artists.The roster of artists includes such established names as Janet Fredericks, Alison Goodwin, Gail Salzman, Kathleen Kolb, David Smith, Polly Thompson, Beth Pearson, Joseph Salerno and Barbara Wagner as well as numerous others working in many different mediums and styles. There are currently over 40 established and emerging artists represented by the gallery, representing both realism and abstraction, with the emphasis being on work of high caliber, with a distinct artistic vision. In addition to the work currently hanging in the gallery, there is additional work on view at the Bearded Frog, Shelburne’s popular new restaurant in the renovated Shelburne Inn. In recent years, fine crafts and gifts including jewelry, hand-blown glass, wood work, pottery, and scarves have proved an additional draw for those looking for distinctive, affordable treasures.Sourdiffe works primarily out of the couple’s home workshop in Lincoln, on restoration projects and hand finished frames. In describing the meticulous nature of this work, he explains the process: “When conserving frames or objects care is taken to retain as much of the original structure and finish as possible, with any restored areas carefully finished to match the existing patina. Many years of experience have made it possible to have refinished areas be indistinguishable from the surrounding original finish. Materials used are consistent with the original materials, such as water gilding, the traditional gilding of wood, a process that hasn’t changed for centuries. A thin layer of gesso, a mixture of whiting and rabbit skin glue is applied to the wood. Bole is applied, a mixture of clay and rabbit skin glue. The bole is wet with gilder’s liquor, a combination of alcohol and water which brings the glue up to the surface of the bole. Metal leaf (most commonly gold or silver leaf) is applied using a gilder’s tip, a brush made of ox or squirrel hairs, to pick up the leaf. When dry, the leaf is burnished with an agate burnisher to achieve a mirror like finish. If a matte finish is desired the leaf is left unburnished.” Both Furchgott and Sourdiffe have backgrounds in studio art as well as art history which are critical for the design and authenticity of framing both contemporary and historic pieces of art.The gallery utilizes two outside experts in the conservation fields of oil painting and works of art on paper, enabling them to offer a full range of conservation services. Estimates for restoration work are offered at no charge. Furchgott and Sourdiffe are pleased to have Lara Maloy as an employee who has proven adept at learning and mastering the traditional skills of framing and conservation.The frame shop is full service, and does work of every type, including photos, fine art, needlework, shadow boxes, and just about anything imaginable. A recent project involved building an olive wood veneer cabinet type frame, that contained antique spurs, pistol and holster. This summer Sourdiffe created an historically accurate replica frame for the Shelburne Museum’s Manet painting “Le Saumon” which is currently on view at the Denver Museum.Whether it’s a child’s first drawing or a Rembrandt etching, each piece gets the same attention to detail. In addition to the hand-finished frames Sourdiffe creates, there are hundreds of choices from the most basic woods and metals to gorgeous Italian mouldings, with prices for every budget. Besides having a dedicated customer base in Chittenden County, customers come from all over Vermont and beyond, with a considerable clientale traveling from across the lake.The gallery is located in a restored Queen Anne Victorian at 86 Falls Road in Shelburne Village. Gallery hours are Tuesday- Friday 9:30-5:30, and 10-5 on Saturday. More information can be found on the web at www.fsgallery.com(link is external) or by calling 802-985-3848.last_img

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