Museum wins grant

The International Women’s Air & Space Museum (IWASM) has received funding from the Wolf Aviation Fund for the conservation treatment of an Eric Sloane oil portrait of award winning balloonist Constance Wolf.

During her lifetime, Constance Wolf (1905-1994) was the first woman to cross the Alps in a balloon and set 15 world records, including a first in woman’s endurance. She was known for always wearing a thin mesh veil over her face and flying hydrogen filled balloons. On the 200th anniversary of the constitution, Constance flew a Liberty Bell shaped balloon over Philadelphia.

Constance donated memorabilia of her record making flights to IWASM and a pen and ink drawing by friend, noted artist, Eric Sloane titled “The Feeling of Lift.” After her death in 1994, IWASM received the oil portrait. The portrait is of Constance Wolf and is dated 1932, when she was 27 years old. The portrait is signed “E.S. 1932” and until last year no one connected the initials with the artist, Eric Sloane. The portrait has never been exhibited at IWASM because of the condition it was in when received.

Artist Eric Sloane is well known for his aviation-related art, museum officials note. Sloane was commissioned to decorate many aviators’ airplanes at Roosevelt Field and Floyd Bennett Field. Today his works are featured at the Stanley-Sloane Museum, the Addison Gallery of American Art, Smithsonian Air & Space Museum and the Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art.

Treatment of the portrait will be completed by The Intermuseum Conservation Association (ICA) in Cleveland, Ohio. ICA was the nation’s first non-profit regional art conservation center. The organization was founded in 1952 by the directors of six major Midwestern museums to provide professional, high quality, and cost effective art conservation services.

The Wolf Aviation Fund was established in the wills of Alfred L. and Constance C. Wolf. The fund was created to help individuals to work together in support of general aviation.

Visit the museum now through June 17 to view the untreated oil portrait of Constance Wolf. A special unveiling will take place at the museum once the conservation treatment is completed.

The International Women’s Air & Space Museum is located in the Burke Lakefront Airport terminal building in Cleveland. Museum admission is free and exhibits are open 8 am – 7 pm daily. For more information:


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