Art Business

52 Faces: Art restoration an art in itself

The desk where Bob Norman does his restoration work in Keosauqua. The Iowa native returned to Keosauqua after a career in Texas that took off after the oil boom. The 93-year-old counts Rockefellers and Kennedys among past clients. [Bob Hansen/thehawkeye.com] Hide caption Bob Norman has worked for the rich and famous, and the merely rich, over decades-long career KEOSAUQUA — Step into Bob Norman’s compact home and workshop and you might be excused for believing you had just fallen down the rabbit hole with Alice into Wonderland. His cottage is chock-a-block in wonderful things — paintings, photographs, sculptures, antiques, memories — and Bob is the White Rabbit guiding you through the maze. The quiet Van Buren County village on the banks of the Des Moines River is hardly the place you would expect to find someone like Norman, an art restorer and appraiser of national reputation, whose rescue projects can be found in the nation’s most prestigious museums and private collections. The 93-year-old restorer has worked for much of his professional life in Texas, but he maintained deep roots in the woods and valleys of bucolic southeast Iowa. Those roots were re-established in 1993, when Bob’s late wife, Dorothy, […]

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