ART CONSERVATOR, TEACHER, HUMANITARIAN

ANTON WILLIAM RAJER (1952-2011)

Tony Rajer restoring Nek Chank sculpture at the American Folk Art Museum in NYC.
Anton (Tony) William Rajer from Green Bay and Madison, WI passed away on November 18, 2011 while in Cedar Rapids, Iowa where he was restoring a 4’8” x 22’ WPA mural for Harrison Elementary School. Tony was born in Sheboygan, WI and lived in Green Bay, WI with his wife, Christine Style. Tony’s studies in art history and conservation included UW-Milwaukee, the Sorbonne in Paris, the Churubusco Regional Conservation Center, in Mexico City, Harvard University, and the ICCROM, in Rome, Italy (1992). Tony was an AssociateConservator for the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art in Kansas City, MO, an Art Conservator for the Texas Conservation Center in West Texas, Project Conservator to the restoration of the Wisconsin State Capitol, Madison, WI and Project Director for SOS! (Save Outdoor Sculpture) Wisconsin Chapter, a grant program supported by the Smithsonian Institution. He co-authored the book, ‘Public Sculpture in Wisconsin: An Atlas of Outdoor Monuments, Memorials, & Masterpieces in the Badger State’ in 1999. Tony began his own art conservation business for museums and private clients and managed his Madison based business Fine Arts Conservation for 24 years. He conducted a multitude of conservation assessments and worked with CAP-Heritage Preservation at various sites including Ten Chimneys west of Milwaukee, The Wisconsin Veterans Museum in Madison and the Wriston Art Center at Lawrence University. His bilingual book ‘Paris en Panamá / Paris in Panama: Robert Lewis and the History of His Restored Art Works in the National Theatre of Panama’ is available through the UW Press along with Tony’s most recent book, ‘Museums, Zoos, and Botanical Gardens of Wisconsin.’

His talent and contribution touched many different communities in the U.S and abroad where he made use of 5 languages he spoke. He loved teaching and presenting lectures wherever his artistic projects took him. He shared his love of humor, history, folk art, Roman reenactments, and his numerous art history, conservation and disaster relief lectures to groups of all ages throughout the world. Tony was a WVA NE chapter member and was co- chair for the 2009 Wisconsin Biennial with Christine Style.

His dedication and skill resulted in having the art of Rudy Rotter relocated to Gallery 3 in Manitowoc, WI. He was most engaged with the preservation of Nek Chand’s ‘Rock Garden’ in Chandigarh, Northern India where he traveled at least once a year for well over a decade. Tony was the U.S. administrator for the London-based Nek Chand Foundation and also a good friend to Nek Chand.

Tony’s philosophy was “look, listen, observe and recommend, always with an eye towards practical solutions that a team approach can implement.” He will be greatly missed and we acknowledge his great contributions.

Please visit www.legacy.com to see more of his obituary and leave a comment in the guestbook. Memorial donations in his name may be given to the WVA endowment fund or to the Museum of Wisconsin Art at www.wisconsinart.org. Contact Christine Style for more information or to share a Tony story: stylec.prints@gmail.com.

Tony Rajer restoring Nek Chank sculpture at the American Folk Art Museum in NYC. A drawing from one of Rajer’s journals, an image of a man splicing wires after 9/11, done while Tony was a volunteer with the Red Cross in NYC.
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