Launching the monograph in Munich
The presentation of the publication Tracing the Art of the Straub Family took place in the Bavarian State Office of Monuments and Sites, Munich, on 24 October 2019.
The presentation of the publication was the fourth meeting of the research groups after Graz, Zagreb and Ljubljana. The program for the presentation included a visit to the Catholic Branch Church of St George in Bichl. The high altar from 1753 was one of four works of art created by J. B. Straub, which were examined in the context of the international project Tracing the Art of the Straub Family in Bavaria. The examination was performed during March 2019 by the student Lea Rechenauer (Stuttgart Academy of the Fine Arts and Design, Conservation and restoration of paintings and polychromy) and the restorer Rupert Karbacher.
The colleagues from Croatia, Slovenia and Austria started their journey from the Bavarian State Office of Monuments and Sites in Munich at 9:00 am with two of the institute´s buses. At 10:00 am Rupert Karbacher introduced the presentation of Lea Rechenauer, who had written her master´s thesis about the examination of the two high altars of St George: in Munich-Bogenhausen and Bichl. The drawing by J.B. Straub for the high altar in Bichl still exists. It allows comparison between the original idea and the actual situation and demonstrates the changes. J. B. Straub was not only a talented sculptor and a successful business man, but he also had a perfect instinct for finding the best solution suited to each architectural situation. Lea Rechenauer presented a 30-minute summary of the examination included in her master´s thesis. She stated the known facts of the formation process and the different developments during the 19th and 20th centuries. The documentation from the previous examination and restoration in 1979-81 by restorers from the Bavarian State Office of Monuments and Sites is quite comprehensive. It was studied eagerly in the context of the new examination. Through this analysis it was possible to demonstrate that there had been a misinterpretation by our former colleagues concerning the original contact area (without polychromy) of the wooden profile on the painted background of the altar and the date of origin of the niche in the wall behind the altar. This caused the painted background, which was reconstructed after the discovery of three pieces of the original background panels, to be put between the wooden architecture of the high altar and the wall of the choir. The niche was interpreted at that time as an addition of the restoration in the 19th century. Therefore, the niche was completely covered up during reconstruction. Exact drawings and mappings in the master´s thesis prove the misinterpretation and demonstrate formal changes between 1753 and 1981. The results of the technological analysis of the wooden parts and the polychromy were also explained.
Back in Munich, in the Säulenhalle of the institute, a catering company provided a meal for the participants. Photos of the field research and meetings were presented in the background. At 1:30 pm the conservator general Prof. Architect Mathias Pfeil, the head of the Bavarian State Office of Monuments and Sites, held a welcoming speech. Rupert Karbacher presented the book and its contents. At the end the freshly-printed books were handed out to the guests.
Rupert Karbacher, Lea Rechenauer
Photographs: Julia Brandt