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.

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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.

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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.

Reframing Highlights of The Milwaukee Art Museum’s Layton Collection

In celebration of the 125th anniversary of the Milwaukee Art Museum’s foundational Layton Art Collection, Lowy reframed a selection of the collection’s significant paintings with frames specially chosen for their correlation with the history, provenance and style of the works.

In 1888, Fredrick Layton, a British-born billionaire, inspired by his exposure to and love of art and culture, decided to build an art gallery near Cathedral Square in Milwaukee, becoming the foundation of what would be the Milwaukee Art Museum.  The Layton Art Gallery was one of the first single-patron art galleries in the United States, a landmark for its time.

William-Adolphe Bouguereau, Homer and his Guide, 1874, oil on canvas (Courtesy Milwaukee Art Museum)
William-Adolphe Bouguereau, Homer and his Guide, 1874, oil on canvas (Courtesy of the Milwaukee Art Museum)

To underscore the importance of the Layton Collection to the Milwaukee Art Museum, the museum currently features three exhibitions of the history and art of the Layton Collection.  One of these exhibitions entitled Mr. Layton’s Gallery displays a floor-to-ceiling salon-style hanging reminiscent of the original Layton Art Gallery, which includes the seminal painting Homer and His Guide by William-Adolphe Bouguereau.

Part of the Layton Art Gallery’s original collection, William-Adolphe Bouguereau’s Homer and His Guide carries on the Neoclassical tradition of 19th-century French painting.  Dominating French academic painting in the late 19th-century, Bouguereau often focused on religious or mythological subjects.  In Homer and His Guide, Bouguereau was inspired by Andre Chenier’s poem describing shepherds offering their services after hearing the blind Greek poet Homer praying for a guide.

An 1880s French gilt composition Barbizon-style frame with ogee profile and continuous finely detailed scrolling acanthus leaf ornamentation
An 1880s French gilt composition Barbizon-style frame with ogee profile and continuous finely detailed scrolling acanthus leaf ornamentation (4803)

From Lowy’s collection of over 5000 museum-quality frames, Lowy consultants selected a fine 1880s French gilt composition Barbizon-style frame with ogee profile and continuous finely detailed scrolling acanthus leaf ornamentation that has almost identical ornamentation to the original frame as seen in the archival photographs in the Layton Collection to frame this masterpiece.  The intricate pattern is a typical framing pattern used extensively in France and America during the 1880s.

John Sloan, Big Hat, 1909, oil on canvas (Courtesy of the Milwaukee Art Museum)
John Sloan, Big Hat, 1909, oil on canvas (Courtesy of the Milwaukee Art Museum)

Comprised mostly of European art, the Layton Collection also contains some of the most notable American artists such as John Sloan and his 1909 painting Big Hat.  One of the founders of the Ashcan School of American art, Sloan is best known for capturing urban genre scenes and neighborhood life in New York City.

An early 20th-century gilded American cassetta frame of reverse profile with stenciled design on a painted panel by the Newcomb-Macklin Company (6094)
An early 20th-century gilded American cassetta frame of reverse profile with stenciled design on a painted panel by the Newcomb-Macklin Company (6094)

For Sloan’s Big Hat, Lowy selected an early 20th-century gilded American cassetta frame of reverse profile with stenciled design on a painted panel made by the Newcomb-Macklin Company.  With showrooms in New York and Chicago, the Newcomb-Macklin Company was widely known for their beautiful early 20th-century frames.  In addition to the frame’s design being historically and aesthetically correct, the size of the frame fits Big Hat exactly, suggesting the possibility that the frame could be the original frame made for the painting.

Charles Willson Peale, Elizabeth McClure, 1774-75, oil on canvas (Courtesy of the Milwaukee Art Museum)
Charles Willson Peale, Elizabeth McClure, 1774-75, oil on canvas (Courtesy of the Milwaukee Art Museum)

Another remarkable American painting in the Layton Collection is Charles Willson Peale’s Elizabeth McClure.  Specializing in portraiture, Peale painted many important historical figures such as George Washington and Benjamin Franklin in addition to wealthy patrons.

A mid-18th-century English carved and gilded Louis XIV-style frame with continuously carved scrolls and floral sprigs (4746)
A mid-18th-century English carved and gilded Louis XIV-style frame with continuously carved scrolls and floral sprigs (4746)

Lowy framed Charles Willson Peale’s Elizabeth McClure with a mid-18th-century English carved and gilded Louis XIV-style frame with continuously carved scrolls and floral sprigs.  Many successful 18th-century portrait painters such as Peale purchased their frames in England due to the sophistication of English design and craftsmanship.  Seen on other portraits by Peale from this period, this particular frame design was popular in the mid-18th-century in England and France.

George Yewell, Portrait of Frederick Layton (Courtesy of the Milwaukee Art Museum)
George Yewell, Portrait of Frederick Layton (Courtesy of the Milwaukee Art Museum)

The last frame provided by Lowy to the Layton Collection surrounds a portrait of Frederick Layton himself.  Framing George Yewell’s regal Portrait of Frederick Layton, Lowy selected an 1880s French gilt composition Barbizon-style frame with ogee profile and continuous acanthus leaf ornamentation to both enhance the portrait, as well as complement the studied artistic tastes of the man whose art collection became what is now known as the Milwaukee Art Museum.

An 1880s French gilt composition Barbizon-style frame with ogee profile and continuous finely detailed scrolling acanthus leaf ornamentation (0050)
An 1880s French gilt composition Barbizon-style frame with ogee profile and continuous finely detailed scrolling acanthus leaf ornamentation (0050)

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

Featured Frame of the Week

This week’s featured frame is a rare 18th-century carved and gilt Louis XIV frame. Sumptuous and ornate, the frame reflects the aesthetics of Louis XIV, the flamboyant monarch who took the French throne in 1643. 

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

Beginning in the 17th-century, France was the epicenter of the art world, influencing framing styles as well as artistic output.  Heralded as the golden age of frame-making in Europe, the French court determined not only all manners of style and art, but also the decorative elements and shapes of frames.  Establishing the aesthetics of French frames were the succession of Louis, kings who ruled France for over one hundred years. Created by French master frame-makers who belonged to exclusive guilds of carpenters and cabinetmakers, frames during this period are often regarded as some of the most exquisite in the world.

Throughout his reign from 1643 until 1715, Louis XIV adored excessive and luxurious surroundings, which also affected the styles of frames. Illustrating his love for lavish settings, Louis XIV headquartered his court at the decadent Versailles, a gilded architectural masterpieces, containing some of the same opulence as seen in Louis XIV frames.

The Hall of Mirrors at Versailles (via chateauversailles.fr)
The Hall of Mirrors at Versailles (via chateauversailles.fr)

Detailed, bold and filled with organic ornamentation, frames of this period often include representations of fleur-de-lis and sunflowers in homage to Louis XIV and his nickname, the Sun King.

For more information on our 18th-century French frames and any of the 5000 frames in Lowy’s collection, please visit www.lowyonline.com or call 212-861-8585.

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

Featured Frame of the Week

This week’s featured frame is a mid 17th-century cassetta frame with small painted figures and landscapes probably by Stefano della Bella. Lowy’s president, Larry Shar, discovered this exquisite frame on a buying trip in Paris and after a snack of foie gras, decided to bring it back for our showroom.

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On this blog we’ve discussed a number of painters and artists who also designed frames for economy’s sake or to specifically complement the ideas expressed in their artworks. In this rarer circumstance, Stefano della Bella has treated the frame as a canvas. Like a very small panel, or the Elgin Marbles, the vista expands and the story winds along the rectangular surface of the panel.

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Central scene of the east frieze of the Parthenon (image courtesy of The British Museum)

For more information on Lowy’s collection of 5,000 antique frames, please visit www.lowyonline.com or call 212-861-8585.