Pairing Frames with 19th Century Art

Among the icons of Realism, Naturalism and other styles presented at Christie’s New York’s upcoming 19th Century European Art sale, Lowy worked with the auction house to match a selection of paintings with frames that augment the art’s already historically significant imagery.

Filled with artists such as Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot, Gustave Courbet and Sir Alfred Munnings, Christie’s sale on April 29th presents some of the icons of 19th Century European art, ranging from France to England to Spain.

With that variation in styles and provenance, Lowy strove to combine these seminal works with likewise beautiful, as well as historically important, frames, linking the histories and ornamentation of the frames to the paintings.

Much of Christie’s 19th Century European Art sale consists of landscape paintings made during the development of Realism and Naturalism, which focused more on the representation of various social classes rather than the Neo-Classical ideal.

Gustave Courbet, Le Jardin de la Mère Toutain à Honfleur, oil on canvas, c.1859-1861 (Courtesy of Christie’s New York)
Gustave Courbet, Le Jardin de la Mère Toutain à Honfleur, oil on canvas, c.1859-1861 (Courtesy of Christie’s New York)

A rebellious and controversial artist in 19th Century France, Gustave Courbet, aside from creating masterpieces such as The Artist’s Studio: A Real Allegory of a Seven Year Phase in my Artistic and Moral Life, also depicted realistic, vibrant landscapes, as seen in Le Jardin de la Mère Toutain à Honfleur.

Painted circa 1859-1861 during a trip he made with writer and musician Alexandre Schanne, Courbet presents a charming, sun-tinged French countryside with extremely detailed trees and a quaint cabin.

18th-century carved and gilt Louis XIV frame (5760)
18th-century carved and gilt Louis XIV frame (5760)

In order to augment the natural beauty of Courbet’s landscape, Lowy combined Courbet’s iconic realism with the extravagant ornamentation of a18th-century carved and gilt Louis XIV frame. This rare Louis XIV frame reflects a similar connection to nature as Courbet’s landscape through its opulent carvings.

Emilio Sanchez-Perrier, A Summer Day on the River, oil on panel (Courtesy of Christie’s New York)
Emilio Sanchez-Perrier, A Summer Day on the River, oil on panel (Courtesy of Christie’s New York)

Similar to the connection between Courbet and the Louis XIV frame, Lowy perceptively paired Spanish artist Emilio Sanchz-Perrier’s A Summer Day on the River with a frame similar to his style of painting.

19th century gilded composition fluted cove frame (2250)
19th century gilded composition fluted cove frame (2250)

Known for his landscapes, genre paintings and water scenes, Sanchez-Perrier’s A Summer Day on the River presents a luminous scene of two subjects enjoying a summer day while boating.  Lowy chose to frame Sanchez-Perrier’s landscape in a 19th century gilded composition fluted cove frame, which features nature-inspired ornaments.  Adding depth through the frame, the fluted cove frames are often linked to the Hudson River School and their own sunlight-driven landscapes.

Moving from landscapes to one of England’s most famous and undeniably popular horse painters, Sir Alfred Munnings’s horse paintings feature heavily in Christie’s 19th Century European Art auction with four paintings up for sale.

Sir Alfred Munnings, The Whip, c.1922, oil on panel (Courtesy of Christie’s New York)
Sir Alfred Munnings, The Whip, c.1922, oil on panel (Courtesy of Christie’s New York)

Fascinated by horses and racing since the beginning of his career, Munnings treats the horses in his paintings with tremendous care, as seen in his The Whip.  Created while Munnings was living in Cornwall, The Whip portrays not only the detailed body and the form of the horse, but also its distinct expressions.  With less precise brushstrokes throughout the rest of the work except for on the horse’s face, Munnings reveals his concern for the horse as well as the light surrounding the horse and the rider.

19th century English Whistler-style frame (4029)
19th century English Whistler-style frame (4029)

In order to not overshadow his simplistic yet sensitive painting, Lowy placed the painting in a 19th century English Whistler-style frame.  Mirroring the period and the provenance of Munnings’s painting, the frame is not ornate but, more simplistic and graceful, reflecting Munnings’s treatment of the horse.

For more information on Lowy’s collection of frames, visit www.lowyonline.com or call 212-861-8585

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