Lowy and The Layton Collection featured in Fine Art Connoisseur

In the August issue of Fine Art Connoisseur, Editor-In-Chief Peter Trippi pens an article about the Milwaukee Art Museum celebrating its 125th anniversary.  Two of the exhibitions mounted to commemorate this milestone focus on Frederick Layton (1827 – 1919), an English immigrant to Wisconsin who made his fortune in the meatpacking industry, and put together an impressive art collection throughout his life, which he donated to the Museum, creating The Layton Collection.

To read the article, click here.

4803William-Adolphe Bouguereau (1825 – 1905), Homer and his Guide, 1874, 82 ½ x 56 ¼” oil on canvas, gift of Frederick Layton to the Milwaukee Art Museum, with its new Lowy frame

As discussed in detail in our blogpost of May 3, 2013, Reframing Highlights of The Milwaukee Art Museum’s Layton Collection, Lowy had the honor of reframing several paintings in the Layton Collection in time for the anniversary.  One of the paintings was William-Adolphe Bouguereau’s Homer and his Guide, a large (82 ¼ x 56 ¼”) oil on canvas work dating to 1874.

Lisa Wyer, a senior Lowy consultant, selected an 1880s French gilt composition Barbizon-style frame with ogee profile and continuous finely detailed scrolling acanthus leaf ornamentation, almost identical in ornamentation to the original frame seen in archived photos.

 4803 corner

Detailed corner of the 1880s French gilt composition Barbizon-style frame selected to frame Bougoureau’s Homer and his Guide

For more information about the fine art framing and conservation services Lowy provides, please visit www.lowyonline.com or call 212-861-8585.

Frame of the Week – Framing with Light – The Hudson River School

This week’s featured work is a mid- to late 19th century American gilt composition cove frame with textured cove and fruit clusters at the corners.

0583 Fruit clusters accent the corners of this unique mid- to late 19th century American gilt composition cove frame

“The Hudson River School”, sometimes called the first school of American art, was a fraternity of 19th-century artists best known for their dramatic, grandly scaled depictions of American landscapes.

Thomas Cole, who was actually an English émigré, was the unofficial founder of the school, which also included Frederic Church, Albert Bierstadt, and Asher Durand.

Several of the artists lived on New York’s Hudson River – hence the school’s name – and they all painted natural scenes, mountains, valleys, rivers, forests and other wonders of nature, that captured the majesty and unspoiled beauty of the new American frontier.

The Hudson River was famous for its beautiful, often pinkish light and artists of the time were fascinated by it.  Their paintings were infused with that special light that was almost spiritual in effect.  This luminance inspired an offshoot of the Hudson River School, and its artists were aptly named “Luminists”.

Thomas Cole believed that “the frame is the soul of the painting,” and other Hudson River School artists shared his interest in finding, or constructing the perfect frame.

  0583 corner

Detail of corner ornament and textured cove of this week’s frame

Compo was used to create beautiful ornaments inspired by nature, which were applied to layered moldings of significant depth and width, intended to draw the eye into the perspective of the scene and reinforce the majesty of the paintings they encased.

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

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.

Framing an Exhibition

Over the years, Lowy has often been called upon to frame a collection of works by a particular artist for various galleries and exhibitions.  This presents a unique framing challenge: how to frame each individual work of art while creating a cohesive presentation for the group of paintings.

Two such recent shows include Jacob Collins  and Shirl Goedike, both exhibited at Adelson Galleries on East 82nd Street in Manhattan.

Larry Shar mingles with Warren & Jan Adelson & guests at the Shirl Goedike opening.

With both shows, Lowy was able to provide frames for each work, which not only suited each painting itself, but also brought together the ambiance of the show and connected the works to one another.  As so aptly put by Larry Shar, President of Lowy, “The key to framing an exhibition of contemporary artists is to choose architecturally appropriate moldings that work in the space and on the art; with sympathetic patinas that compliment the artist’s palette making for pleasant viewing  and enhancement of the artwork”.

Have a look at some examples:

Photos by John Bigelo Taylor, Courtesy of Adelson Galleries, NY.

Featured Frame of the Week

18th century Swedish

Mirror Frame with Fancy Top

28 1/2″ x 13 5/8″

2 3/4″ wide

A Glass Act

One of the most exciting things about art conservation is having the opportunity to work on legendary and unique artworks.  So we were excited when Etienne Drian’s famous jazz screen recently went up for auction at Christies, and were hoping we’d get to have a look at it.

We knew there was some conservation issues, and wanted to be the ones to deal with them.  Fortuitously, the new owner contacted us, and our dream quickly became reality.

The screen is unique;  it’s made out of 24 panes of mirrored glass which have been inserted into 8 painted brass frame panels.  The image is painted in reverse onto the back of the panes — so in areas where there is no painting you just have a mirror.  It also has a rich history, that you can learn more about here.

The screen was brought to us with a couple of problems:  first off there was some flaking and loss of paint, as well as a pane of mirror glass that had been broken into three pieces. The painted black frames were scratched and damaged, and the replacement hinges were too small and structurally inadequate.

Our first step was to carefully remove the panels from the frame, a feat all on it’s own. We placed each panel onto foam pillows for protection.  On closer inspection, we noticed that the paint layer was bubbling, indicating that the paint was asphaltum (a sticky black resin), and that the damage was probably a result of extreme heat and/or exposure to fire.

We then had to set down the flaking areas and inpaint any losses.  This was a challenge on its own since as I mentioned above, its been painted in reverse, and as such, the inpainting had to be, too!

Once that was done and the media layers were stable enough to be moved, we placed the completed panels in custom made slotted boxes fitted with foam, and moved on to the broken panel.

The breaks were pretty big, so we made custom wood strips to act as a temporary frame while we fit them back together.

We adhered the splits with a silicone glue, and then reinforced them with a metal lattice secured with epoxy resin.  You can see our test on our own broken glass below.  We then laid down a piece of treated Mylar so the resin wouldn’t stick to anything, and popped an additional piece of glass on top for added pressure while the silicone and epoxy dried and the splits were secured.

 Meanwhile, in another part of Lowy, folks were busy removing the tarnished, rusty hinges, drilling four sets of new holes on each and every frame, and installing new, custom fitted hinges after powder coating the frames.

Once both sides were finished with their work, the two met up to replace the panels into the frame.  We needed to see how it looked before we once again dis-assembled the piece and shipped the whole thing to the client’s, where we would finally put it all together and situate it into its new home.  It looked pretty cool.

 All in all: a fun, neat and different project.  I love the way this photographs, with the mirror reflecting back the camera and the background of the room…and maybe we’ll get to see this restoration on the pages of Architectural Digest one day, it’s certainly a winner of a piece.

Featured Frame of the Week

A grand Art Nouveau style French frame with

Incised panel of leaves and chrysanthemums.

Signed at the lower right: Jn. Choiselat

Early 20th century.

Outside dimensions: 65 1/2″ x 52 7/8″