Paintings & Restoration
In the 70 + years since they were painted, many of Willard's canvases became dulled with dirt and smoke. The paintings, Sabino Canyon (left) and Catalina Mountains (right), are halfway through the cleaning process that is uncovering the original color and brilliance of Willard's images.
Surviving correspondence shows that most shops bought paintings in batches. A painting measuring 3 ½” x 3 ½” sold for sixty cents, a 5” x 7” was ninety cents, while larger paintings cost more, $6.00 for an 11” x 14”, and $20 for a 16” x 20." Willard signed his larger paintings "W Page" and the small pieces only have his initials, "WP."
As well, Willard wrote titles on the backs of his paintings using a pencil, and pasted on a small label with his name and the location of his studio, Boulder, Colorado. In addition to Willard's title and label, many shops and galleries that regularly sold his work added their own labels.
Colors of the time-hardened oils on Willard's palette can still be matched to the colors in his paintings: purples and pinks of his mountains, green saguaros of the Arizona desert, and flickering yellow aspen leaves in the Colorado mountains.