Lowy gives back – The Shars launch “Frame the Future”

Larry and Brad Shar wanted to give back to the community they have spent their lives in, so they founded Lowy’s Frame The Future program, in which Lowy provides after school arts education classes to NYC school children who would otherwise have little or no exposure to the visual arts.

In partnership with Arts to Grow, a New York metro area nonprofit that provides arts instruction free of charge to area children, Lowy provided a 15-session arts education class at the Lincoln Square Neighborhood Center for 30 students.  Arts to Grow serves less advantaged children who are growing up with a host of challenges.  Lincoln Square is located within a NYC Housing Authority facility where most of the children served live in single family or multi-generational family units many on public assistance or working multiple minimum wage jobs at or below the poverty line.

Frame The Future painters

Children in Lowy’s Frame The Future arts education class learning to paint

“Through exposure to the arts, less advantaged children gain access to learning valuable skills in critical thinking, social and emotional development as well as math and reading, in ways that are not otherwise available to them stated Mallory King, the Founder and Executive Director of Arts to Grow.  “Since 2005, we’ve been able to help over 2000 less advantaged children discover their full potential through exposing them to the arts, and in partnership with Lowy we will reach even more.”

“I’ve spent my entire life in the New York arts community and feel it is very important to give back,” said Larry Shar, president of Lowy.  “By sponsoring these classes, we help ensure the future of arts education, and foster future artists.”

Two groups of students participated in Lowy’s first sponsored class.  Children ages 5-8 and 9-11 worked with Arts to Grow’s professional artist/teacher Michelle Hill, who led them through an exploration of artistic vocabulary and taught them basic drawing skills using high quality art materials.

Students started with learning how to draw landscapes by focusing on horizon lines, seasonal colors and vanishing points.  Then they moved on to drawing and painting still life using a bowl of fruit as their subject.  In these lessons they learned how to focus on perspective, color and shapes using quality craypas, Sharpies, watercolors and special watercolor paper and brushes.

At the end of the 15 sessions, there were several masterpieces on view, ranging from urban landscapes to vibrant watercolor renderings of still lives.

Artist and still lifeA proud budding artist and her still life

Each child walked away with new skills and for some a new way to communicate. One 10-year old student who chose never to speak in class become an active participant and found his way of communicating through his artistic output.

Teaching artist Michelle  Hill slowly began reaching out by using his work as an example of “what to do”.  He started to respond and this interaction became a silent language for him. The positive reinforcement he received has unlocked a personal motivation to communicate through his artistic process.  Arts to Grow and Lowy are honored to know that our art class has been a gateway for a silent child to communicate.

IMG_6706One of the artists talks to Brad Shar, third generation owner of Lowy, about his painting

In autumn 2013, Lowy and Arts to Grow will host an exhibition of the children’s paintings and a silent auction that will allow people to bid on and purchase these works.  For more information on the specific date of this auction event, please email info@lowyonline.com

All funds raised at this auction will be donated to Arts to Grow to ensure continuation of Frame the Future classes at Lincoln Square Neighborhood Center and other program sites in low income neighborhoods throughout the five borough of NYC.  50+ schools and community organization are waiting for Arts to Grow programs.  To learn more about Arts to Grow, click here.

Frame of the week: A Renaissance rarity

This week’s featured work is an extremely rare 15th century Florentine carved and gilt tabernacle frame with fluted pilaster and Corinthian capitals. 


A rare carved and gilt tabernacle frame from 15th century Florence

During the Renaissance, Italy was the center of the frame world, and most frames were used in a religious context, typically carved out of the same piece of wood as the panel painting that surrounded it. 

In time, they were liberated from the ecclesiastical world that had been their primary home, and lighter, more versatile frames stepped out onto a new stage.  These frames were proudly displayed at court and in royal households, regal reminders of the wealth and elevated status of their owners.

The tabernacle, or aedicular frame, which first appeared in Italy in the early 15th century, was a smaller and more portable version of its architectural-inspired antecedents, often including pilasters and columns.  This kind of frame could add a touch of the sacred to more secular surroundings.


Detail of 15th century Florentine tabernacle frame’s Corinthian capital

Whether on display in a church or in a palace, frames were significant works of art in their own right.  They were commissioned by rich patrons, who used them to display their wealth, and were fashioned by artists and artisans to showcase their talents.  In fact, it was not unusual for a patron to engage a carver to build a substantial frame before an artist was retained to create a painting for it. 

Frame and furniture workshops flourished throughout Italy and at that moment in time, the successful framer was equal to any artist, and the work of one complimented the work of the other. 

The tabernacle style frame has retained its popularity for centuries.  In a blog post two weeks ago, (June 11), we featured an exquisite tabernacle frame designed by Stanford White circa 1900.

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

Frame of the Week

This week’s featured work is a silver-leaf frame of reverse profile with incised rosette corners, inner and outer incised zigzag bands and notched carvings by frame maker Frederick Harer.

ImageSilver-leaf frame by Frederick Harer featuring a reverse profile and incised rosette corners, early to mid 20th century, from the Lowy Collection

Harer (1879 – 1948) was an artist, furniture maker and frame maker in Bucks County, Pennsylvania.  He created imaginative and beautifully handcrafted frames for paintings by artists of the Pennsylvania School of Impressionism, including Daniel Garber and Edward W. Redfield.

Inspiring other frame makers of the region, such as Bernard Badura (one of his students), Francis Coll, Raymond Vanselous and Philip N. Yates, Harer helped to establish Bucks County as a vital frame center of the Arts & Crafts Movement in the early 20th century. 


Detail of silver-leaf frame by Harer showing the reverse profile and incised rosette corners

Harer began making frames to support himself while studying at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts.  The son of a successful furniture maker, he also proved to be a very skilled craftsman, designing frames for prominent artists in New York and Boston, such as Leopold Seyffert and William Paxton.  His travels to the British West Indies and Spain influenced his rich style, which incorporated primitive motifs and old-world techniques.

Next month, Lowy is participating in the Hamptons Designer Showhouse (http://hamptondesignershowhouse.com/) in Bridgehampton, and this Harer frame is featured as part of Lowy’s design.

For more information on our collection of Harer frames and any of the 5000 frames in Lowy’s inventory, please visit www.lowyonline.com or call 212-861-8585.

Frame of the Week

This week’s featured work is a gilt composition tabernacle frame with decorated entablature supported by fluted pilasters, designed by Stanford White for Portrait of a Lady by Abbott H. Thayer.

The frame, circa 1900, features a continuous anthemion design on the frieze that is repeated at the bottom on the predella while a greek key motif surrounds the sight molding.  It is decorated with cast composition ornamentation, gilded with 23k gold leaf and burnished to a bright lustrous finish.


Gilt composition tabernacle frame designed by Stanford White, circa 1900

The design of the tabernacle or aedicular frame was originally derived from classical architecture and is one of the earliest frame designs.

Used for altarpieces or devotional paintings to give the feeling of a shrine, the frame was originally carved out of the same piece of wood as the panel painting that surrounded it.  The first examples of these frames being made as separate entities from paintings date from the 15th century in Italy, and the design continued into the 16th century.

Beginning in the 1860s, Lawrence Alma-Tadema and Frederick Lord Leighton designed tabernacle frames for their paintings and English Pre-Raphaelite artists such as Edward Bynre-Jones began to use this frame style as well on their mythological works, with the idea being that it created the illusion of a window into another world.

Tabernacle frames became popular in America at the end of the 19th century, fitting in well with the Renaissance revival style popular at the time.


Abbott Handerson Thayer, Portrait of a Lady (Mrs. William B. Cabot), Oil on canvas, 39 x 32 3/8 inches, Smithsonian American Art Museum

A label on the verso reads:  Portrait of a Lady/Collection of John Gellatly, 34 West 57th Street.  Painted in red on the verso, S.L. 10214 (reference to the Smithsonian loan), and stencils on verso #24465,4104110 are consistent with framing practices of the Newcomb-Macklin Company.

For more information on our collection of Stanford White designed frames and any of the 5000 frames in Lowy’s inventory, please visit www.lowyonline.com or call 212-861-8585.

Western art takes center stage at Prix de West

This weekend, the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum in Oklahoma City will host the renowned invitational art exhibit, Prix de West, featuring a diverse collection of over 300 Western paintings and sculptures by contemporary Western artists.


Tucker Smith, Above Roaring Fork, oil on linen, 20 x 28″

Works include landscapes and wildlife scenes, and range from contemporary and impressionist works to historical pieces depicting the early days of the West.  The two-day fete will include art seminars, receptions and an awards banquet.

ImageThe June issue of Western Art Collector, which will be widely distributed at the Prix de West, features an 8-page article that explores changing tastes in western art, and how Lowy frames have played an important part in the history of the genre.  Read it at http://lowyonline.com/westernart.php.

For more information on the Prix de West, visit http://www.nationalcowboymuseum.org/events/pdw/.