Moving ‘Labor Day in La Boca’

Jan 19 | 2021

MercoArt (Mercovan's art transport division) in Argentina recently provided moving services, including disassembly, conditioning and transport, for one of the most important works of the renowned Argentine artist Benito Quinquela Martin from its home at a multinational banking firm, into storage. The move was required to allow refurbishment work on the building to take place.

MercoArt erected scaffolding to allow removal of the perimeter frame that fixes the painting to the wall.The mural entitled ‘Labor Day in La Boca’ is one of his most important achievements which dazzles for its grandeur and detail: an oil on plywood linen, more than nine metres long and almost three metres high, where the classic port landscape of Quinquela Martin's hometown is represented and where a varied palette of colours mixed with the most exquisite naturalness of the characteristic movement of a classic morning working day.

The mural, which was commissioned by the artist in 1962, had been on display in the main hall of the building for more than 15 years. Based on the conditions shown by the mural, and considering that it was going to be stored indefinitely due to the remodeling that was being carried out at the bank's headquarters, MercoArt in conjunction with the institution decided to carry out an intervention to condition and stabilize the artwork before the transportation and storage.

Scaffolding was erected before removing the perimeter frame that fixed the four heavy panels to the wall. These were later taken down to the work tables to be worked on by art curators Lila Madambashi and Orieta La Rocca.

The painting was then stabilised as large areas of the surface were cracked. The work involved injecting or filtering different adhesives and then protecting the treated areas with veiling. This last procedure was also repeated on the perimeter edges of the four panels.

Once the art curators’ tasks were completed, the four now restored and conditioned panels were transported to the final location. The tailor-made crates were made with the best materials in MercoArt’s workshops to protect the artwork during storage while the restyling of the new display area is completed so they can once again be admired by the public and the bank’s customers.


Photo:  MercoArt erected scaffolding to allow removal of the perimeter frame that fixes the painting to the wall.