Bank of America Announces RISD Museum As a 2014 Art Conservation Project Grant Recipient

PROVIDENCE, RI – Bank of America today announced that the RISD Museum will receive funding to restore Cuban painter Wifredo Lam’s The Eternal Presence (An Homage to Alejandro García Caturla) through the company’s 2014 global Art Conservation Project. Since the program’s inception in 2010, Bank of America has provided grants to museums in 27 countries supporting 72 conservation projects.

A significant purchase by the RISD Museum in 1966, Lam’s 1944 mixed media painting sustained water damage on along the bottom right side of its jute canvas in 1968, while in transit from an exhibition in Paris. The damaged work was stabilized by conservation experts, but deemed too fragile to lend to other exhibitions.

“This painting is one of Wifredo Lam’s most important works and one of the highlights of the RISD Museum’s 20th-century collection,” said RISD Museum Director John W. Smith. “This very generous grant from Bank of America allows the Museum to undertake a major conservation project that will ensure that future generations will continue to experience and appreciate this landmark work.”

An important holding of the RISD Museum, and its Nancy Sayles Day Collection of Modern Latin American Art in particular, The Eternal Presence is a powerful example of Lam’s mid-century work. A favorite of Museum visitors, it also features prominently in the Museum’s educational programs for local students.

A remarkable 20th-century artist, Lam (1902-1982) was born in Cuba to a Chinese father and a mother of African, Indian and European decent. His career path took him around the world, and his artistic style combined aspects of his African, Spanish, and Chinese heritage with conventions of European modernism and his own unique vision.

New advances in conservation techniques and technology make the large (7 x 6 1/2 foot) work a perfect candidate for restoration, which will be completed at the Williamstown Art ConservationCenter, in Williamstown, MA, by Thomas Branchik, Director and Conservator of Paintings. Branchik is a conservation expert who was involved in the original examination and stabilization of damage early in his career. The new restoration project includes continued stabilization of the composition, replacement of the lining, and a new stretcher.

“Through the Art Conservation Project, we’re working with institutions like the RISD Museum to restore important works of art, such as The Eternal Presence, to the way they were meant to be seen,” said Bill Hatfield, Rhode Island president, Bank of America. “This restoration will help the Museum share this striking and culturally important painting with art lovers in Providence and around the world.”

In 2013, the company’s Art Conservation Project supported the restoration of a diverse range of works including Tudor portraits of Queen Elizabeth at the National Portrait Gallery in London; Augustus Saint-Gaudens’s Diana at the Philadelphia Museum of Art; four portraits by John Butler Yeats at the Abbey Theatre in Dublin; three iconic Jackson Pollock paintings at Museum of Modern Art in New York; and Rembrandt’s Scholar in his study at the National Gallery in Prague.

About the RISD Museum

The RISD Museum—southeastern New England’s only comprehensive art museum—was established in Providence in 1877, alongside the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD). The Museum’s permanent collection of more than 91,000 objects includes paintings, sculpture, decorative arts, costume, furniture, and other works of art and design from all over the world, from ancient times to the latest in contemporary art. Information:

About Bank of America

Bank of America is one of the world’s leading financial institutions, serving individual consumers, small businesses, middle-market businesses and large corporations with a full range of banking, investing, asset management and other financial and risk management products and services. The company provides unmatched convenience in the United States, serving approximately 49 million consumer and small business relationships with approximately 5,000 retail banking offices and approximately 16,000 ATMs and award-winning online banking with 30 million active users and more than 15 million mobile users. Bank of America is among the world’s leading wealth management companies and is a global leader in corporate and investment banking and trading across a broad range of asset classes, serving corporations, governments, institutions and individuals around the world. Bank of America offers industry-leading support to approximately 3 million small business owners through a suite of innovative, easy-to-use online products and services. The company serves clients through operations in more than 40 countries. Bank of America Corporation stock (NYSE: BAC) is listed on the New York Stock Exchange. For more Bank of America news, visit the Bank of America newsroom.

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