Restored 1960s sports scene paintings on display at library

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By Ashley Lisenby

Digital Editor

A project about two years in the making is concluding with a showcase of Reginald Mars' restored paintings of sports and recreation at the Oak Park Public Library until August 31.

In 2011 The Oak Park Arts Advisory Committee began fundraising efforts for painter and conservator Timothy Lennon to work on restoring Mars' paintings of ice skating, hockey, basketball, swimming and other sports.

Two years ago he began to conserve the works.

"[The process] began with a pilot project almost two years ago to look at the paintings and clean one in order to see what the difference would be and if it was a worthwhile undertaking," said Lennon, a former Art Institute of Chicago painting conservator.

Mars was commissioned to create the paintings in 1962. The following year they were installed in the Comstock Room at Ridgeland Common. Over time the paintings were removed and put in storage.

Lennon said he was able to restore the works with special conservation cleaners, cotton swaps, scalpels and in a lot of cases clear water. He also retouched paint where color was lost.

A full report of how Lennon brought new life to the Mars Ridgeland collection will be on display in exhibit at the library's Main Library Art Gallery.

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