Members of the school community gathered at a reception Thursday evening to celebrate the return of the triptych, our historic painting depicting the life of St. Bernard of Clairvaux, one of the school’s namesakes, that was created by internationally acclaimed portraitist Stanislav Rembski. At the reception, Head of School Sid Rowell recognized the donors who made the restoration possible, in particular, David Oakley SBS '47, who has taken the lead in campaigning for the triptych for more than a decade. In his remarks, Rowell commended Oakley for his determination to see the painting restored, noting "through his efforts, he has shown the power of what one motivated person can do." He also warmly thanked Bob Hemm SBS '46 who joined the restoration campaign two years ago.
After the headmaster's introduction, Oakley stood at the podium in front of the newly-restored triptych and announced proudly that the campaign was officially at an end. He offered special thanks to the GSB Parents' Association for their leadership gift to the triptych campaign, and to all who refused to give up on restoring the work of art. Following him, Hemm provided a brief overview of the painting's history and its subject matter, the life of St. Bernard of Clairvaux and his commitment to service and education.
The triptych, which Rowell called "a visible connection between the school of today and the school of yesterday," was installed in Founders Hall in 1929. Over the years, the painting became damaged, with the canvas tearing in several spots, and the original varnish discolored. Over the past eight months, Christyl Cusworth, a fine-art conservator based in Lambertville, New Jersey, undertook the painting's restoration. She and her team painstakingly removed the triptych and its frame last summer, transporting it to her studio in Lambertville, and they re-installed the triptych and frame to Founders over spring break.
Gill St. Bernard’s is a private, coeducational day school for students age three through grade 12, located in suburban New Jersey. Each of the three school divisions provides a rigorous, meaningful and age-appropriate curriculum, and all students benefit from the environmental learning opportunities that exist on our 208-acre campus.