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110-Year-Old Statue Of General Sherman Given Golden Facelift

The Gold Leaf That Was Applied In 1990 Has Started To Flake Off
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NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — He is 110 years old and getting a facelift.

CBS 2 was recently given a sneak peek at a masterpiece of public art in Manhattan that has been kept under wraps for long overdue work.

On Friday, CBS 2’s Tony Aiello went under cover at Army Plaza for an exclusive look at the work being done on the statue of victory leading Civil War general William Sherman.

The gold leaf that was first applied to the statue in 1990 began flaking off. Now, with a fresh coat of gold the general has gone from gloomy to glam.

The new coat accentuates the amazing details sculpted by Augustus Saint-Gaudens.

“The buckle on the belt is perfectly carved with an eagle,” the Central Park Conservancy’s Chris Nolan explained.

Regilding every inch of the statue was a monumental job, but the raw material was relatively inexpensive at roughly $40,000 for less than one pound of super-thin gold leaf, Aiello reported.

“This gold is incredibly malleable. You can beat it really, really thin,” chief gilder Michael Kramer said.

Kramer said it was an honor to restore the statue and that the biggest challenge was avoiding the mistakes of the 1990 regilding.

“The general reaction was that it was garish and inappropriate,” Kramer said.

The 1990 regilding has started to flake off (L). The 2013 regilding has been done with a toned down coat of gold leaf (R). (Credit CBS 2)

The 1990 regilding has started to flake off (L). The 2013 regilding has been done with a toned down coat of gold leaf (R). (Credit CBS 2)

This time, the gold was treated to tone things down. It was also clear-coated to pigeon proof the work.

The wraps on the statue will be taken off next month and the general and Victory will look like losers, no more.

General Sherman posed more than a dozen times for the monument. The restoration funds were raised by private donors, Aiello reported.

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