PARDEEVILLE — Building owners discovered a forgotten wall mural hidden behind paneling they removed as part of a remodeling project at A Second Look Consignment store.
Phil Schultz and his son Christopher discovered the painting, which depicts a scene in Crater National Park in Oregon, during the project in January.
“Well I was just elated,” said Schultz. “I had absolutely no idea it was there.”
The painting is in decent condition, with some fading and some damage from the construction work, Schultz said. The painting is signed by the artist as Wahl from Prairie du Chien.
Schultz said he has tried to find information about the artist online but has not come up with anything.
“I could not find them,” said Schultz. “There’s lots of them by that name but none of them were right.”
To prevent further damage, Schultz placed a frame around the painting, which will be displayed in the consignment store.
Store owner Sarah Killoran said at first she was not in favor of leaving the painting on display, but it has grown on her.
“At first I didn’t like it at all, I said this is not going to go in here whatsoever,” said Killoran. “Phil said to give it a chance. But now I do like it.”
Killoran said it has become an unexpected attraction for the store.
“People come in just to look at it,” said Killoran. “It was hiding under there.”
University of Wisconsin-Madison art professor Nancy Mladenoff said because the art was painted directly on the wall, the artist likely used a fresco technique, which involves painting with pigments directly on wet plaster.
She said the painting could date back to the 1920s or ‘30s. Mladenoff said discovering covered murals is rare.