Calin Lapugean expected the odd surprise when he started stripping a newly-leased retail unit on Sheffield’s Ecclesall Road back to its bare bones. The previous shop’s decor had remained unchanged for years.
But he didn’t bargain on uncovering a 40-year-old painting by one of the most respected contemporary artists in the UK.
Calin’s independent i-Repair Stop, which services, upgrades and repairs Apple devices has just opened for business, creating 2 jobs.
As he refurbished the unit, most recently a ladies’ fashion boutique, he was stunned to discover hidden treasures.
The first revelation was a set of beautiful hexagonal vintage tiles. Then Calin removed some old plasterboard and uncovered a stunning and unusual mural.
A signature revealed the name of the artist, Krysia D. Michna-Nowak.
After Calin contacted the artist, now based in Hertfordshire, to learn more she visited Sheffield to see her picture and tell the story behind painting it in the early 1970s.
Michna-Nowak went to school in Sheffield then worked for the City Art Galleries. She created many pieces of art for the Northern General Hospital in Sheffield during the 1970s. Her work was also exhibited at the Phillip Francis Gallery in Ecclesall Rd in 1979.
“This painting was a copy of a work by Georges Lepape, an artist who illustrated the fashion designs of Paul Poiret,” said Michna-Nowak, “and I painted it for the shop which was called ‘Masquerade.’ It specialised in vintage clothing.
“When I painted it I was the art education officer for the Sheffield City Galleries. Six of us modelled some of the clothes and we were filmed for Yorkshire TV, outside the shop. For me this is a most exciting rediscovery. I am truly thrilled and amazed.”
Calin continued: “We’d started stripping the building down to its roots with the intention of going for a vintage look. We were very surprised when we found some vintage tiles under one side of the wall but even more surprised when we found this painting.
“It has survived underneath the plasterboard in a great condition. When we found Krysia’s signature and contacted her she explained how she came to paint the mural. We were thrilled to reunite her with it when she visited Sheffield.
“Over 45 years since Krysia painted this mural, it’s fantastic for it to see the daylight again as a stunning feature in our new shop.”
The mural – surrounded by equally well-preserved unusual vintage tiles – is now a proud feature of Calin’s i-Repair Stop, next to Starbucks on Ecclesall Road. The shop specialises in helping people preserve the lifespan of their Apple devices.