“The moisture ate up into the painting,” she said. “The artist who restored it, Steven Schultz of Green Bay, had to remove part of the bottom of the painting because it was destroyed.”
Schultz cleaned and restored the painting, which measures five feet by eight feet, in 2008, said Dewing. It has served as the backdrop to the parish’s Nativity display every year since 2008. The painting’s origin is a mystery, she added.
“We’re still trying to find out who painted it, whether it was purchased through a church supply place or perhaps someone came to the church and was selling paintings. It’s hard to say. Maybe that’s part of the mystery of it that’s intriguing,” Dewing said.
The painting’s historic connection to the parish is what makes it so special, she added. “We bring it out at Christmas and use it in the Christmas display as a backdrop to the Nativity.”