Exploring Visual Arts across Madison
Feb 6, 2014
10:43 AM

Restored Murals Unveiled at the Memorial Union

Restored Murals Unveiled at the Memorial Union

The next time you pop into the Memorial Union to grab a beer (just think, the chance to lounge on the Terrace is only a few months away!), take a moment to appreciate the new and restored artwork at the just-renovated Der Stiftskeller.

The smaller room adjacent to Der Rathskeller reopens on Monday after four months of restoration, revealing restored and recreated wall murals.

Originally painted by Milwaukee artist Kurt Schaldach in 1978, the murals include “The Battle of Beer and Wine”—a large detailed battle scene that takes place under the question, “When wine and beer make war on each other, who will win, who will lose?”—plus scenes with playful gnomes and text-based pieces commenting on drinking, friendship and life.

Conrad Schmitt Studios, a New Berlin company specializing in restoration and conservation, carefully documented the original murals and their unique colors. Its artisans traced the paintings and painstakingly recreated them in the renovated space and relocated four original murals.

Howard Haas, the Conrad Schmitt Studios project manager, says consistency was a priority. One artist handled all the figurative work in the murals, while another did all the text and yet another worked on all the arches.

“The most important thing, other than the color, was the character of the brushstrokes,” he says.

Another goal was to honor the integrity of the murals without drawing attention to the highly skilled restoration.

“Our responsibility was to replicate,” he says. “Our intent was to make it feel like there was no construction in the first place.”

For more information on Der Stiftskeller, visit here

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About This Blog

A perk of being managing editor of Madison Magazine is the opportunity to delve into exciting aspects of the city—and Madison's art scene is one of my favorites. It's dynamic, diverse and always inspiring. Join me here for artist interviews, details on events, exhibition previews, reviews and more.

Find past arts coverage on my former blog.

– Katie Vaughn
Follow Katie on Twitter @katiemv

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