2013 Hampton Designer Showhouse features Lowy frames

Lowy is honored to be participating in the 12th annual Hampton Designer Showhouse, along with 30 other interior design and home furnishing companies, with the proceeds going to benefit the Southampton Hospital.


The 2013 Hampton Designer Showhouse, Bridgehampton, NY  (courtesy of Hampton Designer Showhouse)

This year’s Showhouse is located in a charming, traditional shingle style house on Brick Kiln Road in Bridgehampton, NY.  Lowy designed three antique and period frame displays in the main gallery on the first floor.

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Lisa Wyer, Lowy’s Gallery Director with one of her frame installations at the 2013 Showhouse

Lisa Wyer, Gallery Director for the past 25 years, selected the frames for Lowy’s space and supervised the installations. “Lowy has over 5000 frames, dating from the 16th to the 21st century, so I had a lot to choose from,” said Wyer.

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A collection of Lowy’s early 20th century American Impressionist frames and two paintings by Simon Parkes

Groupings at the Showhouse include 18th and 19th century Swedish framed mirrors, a collection of black and silver frames ranging from 17th century Spanish to 21st century modern, suitable for use with paintings or as mirrors, and a group of early 20th century American Impressionist frames, along with two recent paintings by local artist Simon Parkes.

The Hampton Designer Showhouse is open to the public daily through Monday, Sept. 2.  Visit www.hamptondesignershowhouse.com for Showhouse hours, directions and admission prices.

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

Frame of the Week – A rare grille frame by Stanford White

This week’s featured work is a late 19th century American gilt composition frame of receding profile with raised grille panel, continuous front leaf-and-berry ornament, and acanthus leaf corners, designed by Stanford White and made by Joseph and Alexander Cabus.

7124Late 19th century American gilt composition frame with raised grille panel designed by Stanford White

The design of the grille frame can be traced back to pierced 16th century Venetian frames.  The concept was to use a space under the grille to gather and reflect light.  Stanford White accomplished this by using a burnished gold panel to emanate light from underneath a softer gilt composition wire framework above.

White’s frame designs were bold, brilliant and as memorable as the man himself.  He did not mark his frames with his initials or any other identifying symbols.  There was no need for him to do so because his frames were for the most part instantly recognizable.

At 26, White co-founded the prestigious architecture firm McKim, Mead and White.  He designed frames for artist friends as well as patrons, and reportedly did not charge for his designs and would not allow frame makers to duplicate them for anyone else.

White collected antique frames for inspiration and often reconfigured them as new frames.  Strongly influenced by the Italian masters, he favored more subtle designs and finishes (the introduction of the electric light in 1900 made earlier bright finishes seem garish), which he matched carefully to individual paintings.

The ornamentation on his frames was usually cast in composition, sometimes over a wire grille.  The frames were then gilded in gold or metal leaf, or finished with Roman bronze patina for a softer finish.

White favored the frame maker Joseph Cabus, who crafted his frames from 1882 to 1894.  Joseph’s son, Alexander, joined the shop in 1891.  White had a falling out with Alexander in the mid 1890s, after which Oscar Rudolph became his preferred frame maker.

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Detail of the raised grille panel

White designed frames for several artists, but one of his most successful collaborations was with the American painter Thomas Wilmer Dewing.  Dewing’s delicate, evocative, and even ghostlike paintings of women were enhanced by White’s golden grilles.  Susan Hobbs, Dewing’s biographer, describes them as looking like “gilded lace and shimmery teardrops.”

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

Featured Frame of the Week!

This week’s frame is a fantastic early 18th century French Régence frame with demi centers and corners. Master artisans spent many months designing, carving and gilding these by hand.

18th century frame

A frame such as this would have been used on French paintings of the period, such as Louis Le Nain’s Peasants Taking a Meal.

Le Nain Peasant's Meal
Louis Le Nain, Peasants Taking a Meal (image courtesy of Christopher L.C.E. Witcombe at Sweet Briar College, http://www.witcombe.sbc.edu)

During the 19th century, dealers often used ornate frames of this type to decorate French Impressionist paintings, balancing the picture’s sensuous and painterly expressiveness with the frame’s structured embellishment and intricate patterning.