Mural restoration work in Legal preserves Maisonneuve history

Above: Anne Maisonneuve brushes up on the apron of her Great Grandmother Madonna Maisonneuve, who is featured on the Maisonneuve mural located in Legal.

Below: Morinville resident Murray Knight assists with the restoration.

– Lucie Roy Photos

artlegalby Lucie Roy

The Maisonneuve mural located east of the Bon Appetit Restaurant on Main Street in Legal got a cleaning last week. Anne Maisonneuve said she believed the 15-year-old mural had never been cleaned.

She took off the mural’s varnish layer and retouched the paint layer, lightening some areas and retouching one corner. Maisonneuve said some areas had faded, and some areas were darker around the frame. Additionally, the bottom section had issues with paint on two panels.

Maisonneuve said the family hired the services of David Turnbull, Public Art Conservator, to do a quick consultation in terms of recommendations on how to restore the mural.

That restoration included using a mild soap and warm water to clean the mural and a clear water rinse. Mineral spirits were used to get down to the gel coat that was on top of the paint.

Maisonneuve’s Uncle Murray Knight assisted in applying a new acrylic gel coat, which was allowed to cure for a day or two before a finishing varnish was applied. That final coat will be a varnish that offers UV protection and also protects from vandalism.

“If we did everything properly, it should last for another 15 years,” Maisonneuve said. “But we will put it on a regular maintenance schedule.”

Maisonneuve originally painted the mural in 2000 when she was coming out of her Fine Arts Degree and going into her Masters.

The Maisonneuve have a strong historical tie to Morinville. Philias Maisonneuve, the artist’s great-grandfather, took a homestead near Morinville in 1892. In 1903, they moved to Edmonton where he was the contractor for the Transit Hotel. By 1909, they moved back to Morinville where he had accepted and signed a contract with the Filles de Jesus nuns to design and build the Morinville convent. He supervised the convent’s construction until its completion that December.

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