In 1957, the American artist Emile Norman completed his largest and best-known work of art: a 1,824-square-foot decorative mural window rendered in the “endomosaic” technique Norman developed and named. The work was commissioned by the Masons of California for the California Masonic Temple, a massive mid-century marble building atop San Francisco’s Nob Hill. Each of its 45 panels consists of two acrylic sheets sandwiching mall pieces of colored glass, fabric, metal, shells and other materials. The mural depicts the Masons in California history and was completed with the assistance of Norman’s lifelong partner, Brooks Clement.
Over time, cracks developed in a few of the panels, some admitting dirt and moisture. In some cases the adhesive between the panels failed, causing the endomosaic elements to slip from their original position. ARG Conservation Services was contracted to treat the accumulated dirt and grime on the outside of the panels and repair the cracks, delamination, bowing, and displaced tesserae within. Conservators replaced degraded acrylic sheets, filled cracks, and reattached tesserae to restore the visual continuity of this significant work of California art.
Images 1 & 2 © David Wakely