After public outcry and six months of restoration, Maxfield Parrish's The Pied Piper of Hamelin is back at the Palace Hotel for good.
The Pied Piper became the center of attention in March after hotel owners wanted to put the painting valued at $3 to $5 million on auction at Christie's in New York. The Pied Piper has been a part of the Palace Hotel for more than 100 years.
"People missed it, the bar wasn't the same without it," says hotel manager Tom Scaramellino. "The excitement and energy is back. It's amazing to see what it's done for business."
The painting has been exposed to smoke, liquid, and yellowing after years of living in a bar. Conservators removed layers of superficial grime to uncover the true condition of the piece.
"The restoration of the Pied Piper was indeed an intricate process. Ownership remained in contact with the conservators to guarantee the best outcome for the treasured piece," says hotel General Manager Christophe Thomas.
Maxfield's Pied Piper Bar, where The Pied Piper runs 16 feet long by 6 feet tall behind the bar, was dubbed one of San Francisco's "legendary bars and restaurants" by San Francisco Architectural Heritage. Parrish was paid $6,000 when he was commissioned to paint the work in 1909 for the hotel's grand reopening following the Great Quake, three years prior.
The tale of The Pied Piper dates back to 1284 in the rat-infested town of Hamelin, Germany. The piper was hired by the townsfolk to lure the rats away to the river where they drowned. Upon his return, the townsfolk refused to pay him. Seeking revenge, the man played his pipe again, luring the children from the town, never to be seen again.
Dark stuff. Enjoy your Manhattan.