Larry Shar Vets the Winter Antiques Show

Each January for the past 10 years, Larry Shar, President of Julius Lowy Frame and Restoring Company, has made his way to the Park Avenue Armory to vet antique frames that will be exhibited during the annual Winter Antiques Show. The process of vetting aims to authenticate works of art and antiques. Every object available for purchase at the Winter Antiques Show has been vetted for authenticity, date and condition.

Every year, the directors of the show invite recognized authorities in various disciplines to vet their areas of expertise and ensure the show-worthiness of the objects. Larry had the distinct honor of being one of the founding members of the frame vetting committee a decade ago.

Larry reacts to a frame on display at the 2013 Winter Antiques Show.
Larry reacts to a frame on display at the 2013 Winter Antiques Show.

As the 59th annual show was getting ready for its gala opening night on Thursday, Jan. 24, Larry could be found ambling the exhibits with two colleagues, reviewing framed artwork.  “As frames can often add significant importance and value to the artwork being exhibited, it is our job to ensure that the frames are accurately represented in terms of their period, condition and significance to the artwork,” said Mr. Shar.

Shar also cited a trend he’s noticed over the last several years: Dealers and exhibitors are paying far more attention to the frames chosen, using more period frames and better quality reproductions. Dealers and exhibitors will often go to the point of identifying the frames that are original to the artwork. This not only enhances the aesthetic presentation but also increases the credibility of the object.

The 2013 show has several noteworthy examples of period original frames on works, including:

  • An original Stanford White grille frame on a work by Thomas Wilmer Dewing at Gerald Peters Gallery
  • A Stanford White designed, Dutch-inspired frame on a John Singer Sargent at Adelson Galleries
  • A 19th century fluted cover frame on a George Inness at Tom Colville Fine Arts
  • An exquisite Frederic Harer frame on a Bucks County landscape at Hirschl & Adler Galleries
Larry Shar considers the impact of a gilded frame on the painting it is surrounding.
Larry Shar considers the impact of a gilded frame on the painting it is surrounding.

The 59th Annual Winter Antiques Show is held at the Park Avenue Armory, Park Avenue at East 67th Street.  The show opens to the public Friday January 25 and closes Sunday February 3; open daily 12 p.m. – 8 p.m., Sundays and Thursdays 12 p.m. – 6 p.m, with a special young collectors’ night Thursday, January 31, 7:00 p.m.-9:00 p.m.

For more information, visit http://www.winterantiquesshow.com.

For more information about Lowy and the world’s largest collection of antique and custom frames, and our state-of-the-art painting conservation and restoration services, visit http://www.lowyonline.com, or call 212-861-8585.

Featured Frame of the Week!

This 18th century frame from the Lowy collection was deaccessioned from the Metropolitan Museum of Art in 1992. When Lowy Frame and Restoring Co. acquired it, the frame was covered with a black layer of dirt and grime, obscuring the gilded carvings and vert antique ground panels, which were found to be in remarkable condition underneath.

A fabulous frame of reverse profile, featuring inner continuous carving of clustered fruit, panels decorated with spread-winged birds at corners connected by elaborately scrolled leaf ornament, and outer carving of a continuous-wing motif.
A fabulous frame of reverse profile, featuring inner continuous carving of clustered fruit, panels decorated with spread-winged birds at corners connected by elaborately scrolled leaf ornament, and outer carving of a continuous-wing motif.

After Lowy’s tireless restorers painstakingly removed the buildup, we discovered an intricate and enigmatic design. Because the frame incorporates a range of exemplary patterns and motifs from many different artistic styles, its provenance is not entirely certain. Most experts believe the frame is Italian, but Larry Shar wouldn’t rule out Germany or even England. In any event, as the phoenixes suggest, this frame should be immortal!

17th-century Syrian Dish with Phoenixes, image courtesy of The Metropolitan Museum of Art
17th-century Syrian Dish with Phoenixes, image courtesy of The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Call 212-861-8585 or join our mailing list to find out more about Lowy Frame and Restoring Co.’s collection of over 5,000 antique frames, the largest anywhere in the world.

Gilded Everything

Excited about gilded frames? You’re not alone – just look at the golden pieces displayed at The White House, many of which Lowy’s master gilder, Wayne Reynolds, worked on. There’s no limit to the effects that can be achieved with gilding. In fact, one of Lowy Frame and Restoring Co.’s gilders, Janine Lambers, also works in gold leaf to create stunning artworks that use traditional techniques in a contemporary way.

Janine Lambers, Oxidized Screen Maquette
Janine Lambers, Oxidized Screen Maquette

In her work, Janine uses a silver leafing process known as water gilding and draws from more than fifteen years of experience as a gilder of frames and furniture. As with the antique reproduction frames we make at Lowy, she starts with a wooden support, which she then layers with traditional gesso and clay. On this surface, she applies gold and precious leaf such as palladium or silver on a much larger scale than usual, allowing the metal to naturally oxidize. Influenced by artists including Max Kuehne, Gustav Klimt and Charles Prendergast, she is inspired by artistic techniques that fuse art with craft in modern forms. Janine has exhibited at Gallery 66 in Cold Spring, NY, and at RiverWinds Gallery in her adopted hometown of Beacon, NY, which is also home to Dia, the largest contemporary art museum in the United States.

Janine Lambers, Screen with Poppies, 57” x 64 3/8”
Janine Lambers, Screen with Poppies, 57” x 64 3/8”

Even wearable objects can be gilded. Ian Campbell, a recent graduate of Yale University’s M.F.A. program in Sculpture, makes wearable gilded sunglasses and jackets through his fashion label, Igor&. And opening this month, the Frick Collection Museum will display one of the most important public collections of European timepieces and five spectacular clocks, many of which are gilded. These striking examples confirm our sneaking suspicion: Lowy Frame and Restoring Co. is at the center of a thriving and robust field!

Leather Jacket by Igor&
Leather Jacket by Igor&

To find out more about gilding, call 212-861-8585 or click here.

Auricular Frames

Meaning “of the ear,” the term “auricular” can be used to describe a certain breed of frame resembling ears and earlobes. These frames also featured masks and marine shapes, making the style a popular choice among merchants and traders who lived in seaports and wanted their art to reflect their lifestyle. When Cardinal Leopoldo de Medici, the “brilliant” member of the famous family, decided to reframe his paintings, he used the auricular frame to unify his magnificent and diverse collection.

This Italian carved and gilt mannerist frame of reverse profile in the auricular style features stylized shell motifs at centers surrounded by deeply sculptued scrolls and volutes.
This Italian carved and gilt mannerist frame of reverse profile in the auricular style features stylized shell motifs at centers surrounded by deeply sculptued scrolls and volutes.

While Medici’s framing project happened during the 17th century, the style was developed much earlier — around 1600 — by silversmiths based in Holland. Jan Steen’s 17th-century painting The Family Concert depicts an auricular frame set amidst a lively social scene, suggesting the desirability and stature of such objects in Northern Europe by the mid-17th century.

 Jan Steen, The Family Concert (image courtesy of the Art Institute of Chicago)
Jan Steen, The Family Concert (image courtesy of the Art Institute of Chicago)

Interested in auricular frames? Lowy Frame and Restoring Co. has the largest collection of antique frames in the world available for purchase, or we can work with you on a custom product. Get in touch or call 212-861-8585.