Mission San Juan Capistrano holds a large group of paintings in the permanent collection. Ranging in date from the 18th to the 20th centuries the paintings help to tell the story of the history and culture here.
Due to poor storage practices earlier in the Mission’s history, many of the paintings are in need of conservation. Conservation, however, is an expensive process. As funds become available, often through private donations for specific works of art, Mission staff has the paintings cleaned and conserved, one by one. See conservation in action.
To get involved with funding for painting conservation, join the Mission San Juan Capistrano Art Guild. The Mission San Juan Capistrano Art Guild’s purpose is to promote and support the conservation, acquisition, and connoisseurship of the Mission’s fine arts collection. Members will be invited to special events such as lectures and museum tours.
“Untitled” by Una Gray
The painting pictured below was donated to Mission San Juan Capistrano’s Museum collection in 2014 by Ms. Nancy Ramsey of Southern California. The painting had been passed down through generations of her family, and not always stored in the most ideal conditions which led to cracking in the paint and dirt accumulation on the surface.
Little is known about the artist, Una Gray. Records indicate however that she was one of the rare female painters in California during the late 1800s and early 1900s until she moved to Boston, Massachusetts in 1919. Her painting is “Untitled” and shows the Mission’s South Wing and Sala with the surrounding gardens in bloom.
In early 2021 the painting received conservation treatment at Fine Art Conservation Laboratories in Santa Barbara, California. The treatment included repairing, removal of discolored varnish, stabilization of cracking in the paint, in-painting losses and applying a new varnish. The conservation project was completed with generous funding provided by long-time Mission friends Deanna and Robert Saint-Aubin.
We invite you to visit the Mission to see this lovely work of art in person exhibited in the Mission Treasures Exhibit, open Tuesday through Sunday, 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
In Need of Conservation
Conservation in Action
Artist Unknown, c. late 1700s
Conservation funded through a grant courtesy of the California Missions Foundation
Susanna and the Elders
Artist Unknown, c. late 18th century
Conserved with funds donated by Tony Montemurro and J.P. Haines and Susan Breslin
Jesus Looking Over His Shoulder
Artist Unknown, 19th century
Conserved through the generosity of the Women’s Guild
Our Lady of Sorrows
Artist Unknown, c. 19th century
Conserved with funding provided by the California Missions Foundation and with private donations made in the memory of long time Mission volunteer, Bev Smith
Jesus Wearing the Crown of Thorns
Artist Unknown, c. 18th century
Conserved through the generosity of the Honorable Warren and Jan Siegel
Veronica Wipes the Face of Jesus
Artist Unknown, c. 19th century
Conserved through the generosity of J.P. Haines and Tony Montemurro in loving memory of Tony’s mother, Mrs. Marie Montemurro (1928-2015)
Station of the Cross XII, 1800
Mission San Juan Capistrano’s Station of the Cross XII Conservation Project included finding a 214 year old painting hidden in Serra Chapel for more than 40 years. When conservators lifted the painting from the wall, they found a Los Angeles newspaper from April 20, 1923 hidden beneath. Conservators also discovered the signature of the original artist, Jose Francisco Zervin. With private funding support, the project is now completed, and the historic painting is on display in the Serra Chapel.
The original painting is part of the Station of the Cross collection of historic paintings that came from Mexico to Mission San Juan Capistrano in the early 1800s. Years of poor handling and environmental conditions led to its deterioration. In 1973, the then pastor of the Mission, Monsignor Vincent Lloyd Russell recognized the need for conservation but the Mission lacked the necessary funds for treatment. Monsignor Russell then directed parishioner and artist William Maldonado to paint a replica.
The result was the re-discovery of the historic painting. Due to its poor condition, a campaign for conservation began. In May 2014, the painting was restored and returned to the Serra Chapel.
The Immaculate Conception, c. 1800
Conservation funded by the generosity of Danielle Diestel
The Penitent Sinful Woman, c. late 1800s
Conservation funded by the generosity of Mr. and Mrs. Mike Beckman
The Immaculate Conception, c. late 1700s
Mission San Juan Capistrano “Mission Treasures” Book
This official Mission Treasures book features precious paintings, religious artifacts, and important documents from the museum collection – a collection of both sacred and historic items related to Mission San Juan Capistrano’s significant past. With many striking, never-before-seen visuals dating from the 1700s to the present, this beautiful book includes conservation details and rich descriptions, highlighting the story of Mission San Juan Capistrano, one of California’s most beautiful and historic sites.BUY NOW
The Mission Art Guild
The Mission San Juan Capistrano Art Guild’s purpose is to promote and support the conservation, acquisition, and connoisseurship of the Mission’s fine arts collection. Members will be invited to special events such as lectures and museum tours.
There are several paintings in the Mission’s museum collection that are in urgent need of funding to support conservation treatment. Any additional funding to support the restoration and preservation of these priceless works is immensely appreciated.
For more information about becoming involved in the Art Guild, please contact Executive Director Mechelle Lawrence Adams at (949) 234 – 1311 or by email firstname.lastname@example.org.JOIN
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Member benefits include free daily admission and other exclusive perks.: Join