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.

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

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″