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Nivola Sculptures

Historical Significance

Costantinio Nivola sculpted unique cast stone sculptures incorporated into and around Morse College and Ezra Stiles College, Yale University. Architect Eero Saarinen designed the colleges in homage to stone walled, medieval towns found in the Tuscan hills. Directly incorporated into the walls, parapets and the courtyard landscapes, Nivola’s sand cast and hand finished sculptures invite a conversation with passing observers, the surrounding architecture, the University and art history. The artworks consist of reliefs, freestanding sculpture, fountains and light fixtures, encompassing a full range of sculptural possibility.

Costantino Nivola was born July 5, 1911 in Orani, Italy. He excelled in art at an early age and ultimately became an internationally recognized sculptor with teaching positions at Columbia University, Harvard and the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in the Hague, Holland. Commissions in the United States include Sculptures for the Motorola Building, Chicago; Continental Office Building, Philadelphia; the Legislative Building, Albany; Offices of Mobile Oil, Washington, DC; and Offices for the Federal Offices of Kansas City.

Condition and Treatment

Exposure to New England weather over a 50 year period had caused soiling, atmospheric pollution deposits, cracks, leaching of cementing materials from water infiltration through open cracks, and minor losses. Two large sculptures weighing approximately 4,000 lbs each required removal from the site and reinstallation with new stainless steel anchors as part of the AIA designated “Gold Medal” Renovation of the Colleges by Kieran Timberlake. Overall, Conserve ART conserved approximately 40 sculptures during a two year treatment period.

Conservation Treatment

  • ŸAssessment.
  • Material analysis.
  • Cleaning of biological growths and atmospheric deposits.
  • Removal of inappropriate silicon sealant.
  • Injections.
  • Fills and loss replacement with aggregate matched mortar.
  • New anchor design, fabrication and installation.
  • Setting of sculpture by gantry and crane



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