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San Francisco Zoo Bronzes

ARG Conservation Services, Inc. / San Francisco Zoo Bronzes

San Francisco Zoo Bronzes

Los Angeles-based sculptor, Gwynn Murrill is known for her talent in portraying the primal essence of her animal subjects. While doing away with details that are not necessary to perceive the creatures, Murrill leaves no doubt about the animals she portrays. Working in wood and marble at the beginning of her career, Murrill has since adopted bronze as her medium of choice. The San Francisco Zoo is home to three of her sculptures. Two feline sculptures, “Cougar III” and “Tiger 2” are located at the Zoo’s front entrance. The third sculpture, “Hawk V” is located outside of the Koret Animal Resource Center inside the Zoo.

ARG Conservation Services (ARG/CS) was contracted by the San Francisco Arts Commission to perform conservation treatments on “Cougar III”, “Tiger 2”, and “Hawk V” located at the San Francisco Zoo, at 1 Zoo Road in San Francisco, California. During ARG/CS’ site visit on September 6, 2016, all three sculptures exhibited active corrosion. A lack of protective coatings was also observed. ARG/CS formulated its treatment plan with the goals of stabilizing the sculptures’ materials, chromatically integrating treatments with the sculptures’ existing patina, and providing each sculpture with a sacrificial wax coating.

The conservation work carried out included general cleanings of the sculptures with water and a pH-neutral detergent followed by the application of multiple coats of both pigmented and clear wax. All work was carried out in accordance with the American Institute for the Conservation of Historic and Artistic Works’ Code of Ethics and Guidelines for Practice. 


Conservation Treatments


San Francisco Arts Commission


San Francisco, California


Finishes, Sculptures