According to the Gettysburg Times, Judge Alan Kay has told the Recent Past Preservation Network and National Park Service officials to discuss a possible relocation agreement for the old Gettysburg Clyclorama. The park plans to demolish the building in mid-December.
Attorneys for Recent Past Preservation will seek an injunction if an agreement is not reached with the Park Service on relocating the building. The group maintains the significance of the building based on its status as a rare East Coast project by Richard Neutra. Neutra is considered one of modernism‘s most important architects.
The Gettysburg Cyclorama reopened on Sept. 26, 2008 at the new visitor center, which includes a 24,000 square foot Gettysburg Museum of the American Civil War. After an introductory film, visitors proceed into a room containing the cyclorama, which surrounds the viewers and puts them in the middle of the battle.
The panorama oil painting by Paul Dominique Phillippoteaux depicts Pickett’s Charge, at which the Union army stood against Lee’s Confederate troops in 1863. The painting was first shown in Boston in 1884 until it was moved it Gettysburg from 1910-13. After this initial movement, it was overpainted to hide the flaws or breaks. More overpaint repairs were made in the 1940’s and 1959-62.
The most recent restoration efforts by Olin Conservation Inc. of Great Falls, Virginia, and Perry Huston & Associates, Inc. of Fort Worth, Texas began in 2003 by removing dirt from the canvas and consolidating to secure loose or flaking paint. Olin and Huston have removed layers of repair paint from previous projects which had altered the original scene. The goal was to restore the painting as closely as possible to it’s original state, as it was when Phillippoteaux painted it.
Blogger Leslie Johnston recently discussed her visit to the newly restored Cyclorama, describing the way that the three-dimensional diorama at the base of the cyclorama “leads seamlessly into the painting.” Johnston praises the sound and light show which recreates Pickett’s Charge, putting the visitor in the middle of the battle. Of the Cyclorama, she writes, “It’s still an amazing illusion and it takes your breath away.”
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