morandi

Traditional, Modern

This charming oil painting is both traditional and modern.  The still life subject matter is traditional, yet the composition and paint handling is strikingly contemporary.  Its linear arrangement of objects reminds us of Giorgio Morandi’s minimal take on the still life to re-invigorate painting in the early 1900’s.  The painting’s thick brush strokes and muted palette are also refreshingly modern.  In order to properly compliment this piece, we needed to select a frame that could match its interesting duality.

We found a perfect match with a handmade, Art Deco frame that also carried both modern and classic elements.  The rounded pattern throughout the frame mirrors the paintings texture, while the radiating corner design pulls the eye into the center of the piece.  Considering the painting’s shimmering highlights, we finished the frame with a masterfully applied gold leaf.  The final, framed piece glows with the warmth of gold while showcasing the painting’s beautifully nuanced surface.

industrial steel frame

Steel Frames and Industrial Content

This captivating photograph is full of mischief and drama.  The staged composition and the exaggerated lighting give it a theatrical quality that is reminiscent of Americana illustration.  The scene particularly references Norman Rockwell and Andy Warhol, but with a dark twist.  We sought to match the gritty, industrial textures in the image’s scenery with a handmade, steel frame.

Rather than highlighting the lighter tones in the image with a modern white frame, we chose the steel for its industrial fabrication, its neutral dark tone, and its metallic highlights.  When light bounces off the frame at its edges, a light grey tone is produced that matches the appliances and wires in the image.  Simultaneously, the darker, raw texture of the steel beautifully compliments the high contrast shadows present in the figures and background.  The welded seams of the frame’s corners lend the piece a particularly intriguing detail.  We find the raw, metallic tones in this custom frame to be a perfect match for the picture’s dark, behind-the-scenes setting.

exotic wood frame

Using Exotic Woods to Enhance an Artwork

Here at Paris Framemakers, we carry a wide array of exotic woods available in natural finishes. These woods offer so much variation in color, texture, and grain pattern! Along with their aesthetic richness, these woods carry rich histories, which can add new depths to the works of art that they encase. Purpleheart, for example, comes from the very center of the peltogyne tree, which grows only in the tropical rainforests of Brazil, Guyana and Suriname. It turns a vivid purple color as soon as it is cut, and its unique grain resembles a series of tiny X’s.

Lacewood is the quartersawn lumber of the American sycamore tree. When cut this way, its grain resembles short interlocking strokes. These marks almost exactly mirror the distinctive brushwork in the paintings of Vincent Van Gogh. Recently, when searching for the perfect frame to enhance a small reproduction of Van Gogh’s “Rest Work (after Millet)”, we found that our Lacewood frame matched eerily well, both in hue and in pattern. Finding a naturally occurring match to Van Gogh’s signature style underscores his connection to the world around him, just as the art within is connected to the frame around it.

The possibilities are vast when it comes to natural wood finishes. Finding the perfect frame can not only create a beautiful piece of home decoration, but also place a work of art in historical, cultural and conceptual context. Natural woods are less austere than blacks or whites, but more sober than a painted color. They carry with them intimations of the trees they came from, and the faraway lands they grew upon.

What Framing can do for your piece: 1940 to 2013

Sometimes a piece of art just needs a makeover. Recently, we framed a lithograph that was was funded by the Works Progress Administration, which was part of FDR’s New Deal program.  This particular piece was originally framed in a set and purchased sometime in the late forties.  For decades, the pieces resided at different households in twin frame designs until one of them made it’s way over to us for repair. This “before” photo shows the sister piece, which remains in its original frame.

Not only was this litho in need of an aesthetic update, but the non-archival material encasing it for so many years had caused the paper to turn yellow. Yellowing is caused by an acid called lignin (which naturally occurs in wood) as it reacts to air and sunlight. As the process of discoloration progresses, the paper becomes brittle and eventually crumbles. That’s why using acid-free mats and UV-protected glass is so important. No matter how far the deterioration process has progressed, these materials will stop it in its tracks!

We chose a unique commercial moulding with a silvery-black finish and a scalloped shape. The variation in the black finish brings out the subtleties in the lithograph’s tones, while the organic shapes in the moulding itself highlight the swirling patterns in the image’s moody sky. The mat we chose was a slightly brownish clay tone—a few shades lighter than the paper—but not so white as to call attention to the yellowness. These choices meshed well but there was still something missing, some detail needed to pull all the elements together. This situation called for a fillet! A fillet is a thin lip of moulding that sits inside the opening of the frame. A fillet is a handy way to add detail to a frame that needs just a little something extra. The touch of gold added a warm glow to the whole piece, and gave it a more vintage and regal look, placing it in the time period in which it was made, without making it looked “dated”.

Framing can have a dramatic effect on a work of art—both in how it will be perceived by a viewer, and how well it will hold up over the years. Each detail counts towards the overall finished product, and sometimes the smallest element—a fillet for example—can make all the difference.

ceramic tiles

Lubna Chowdhary’s Ceramic Tiles

Lubna Chowdhary (www.lubnachowdhary.co.uk) is a London-based artist who works internationally. She creates richly-colored, modular compositions on tiles through a wide variety of precisely controlled ceramic techniques. Chowdhary’s artwork has been featured in interior and exterior architectural spaces. Her recent commissions include BBC, Conran and Partners, and Bellway Homes. Working in collaboration with architects, designers and art consultants, her project proposals are developed to fit the needs of the brief. Her work is available for purchase through her website.

We had the pleasure of framing several collections of her tiles, grouping them and arranging them to create two new compositions. We used handmade floater frames for both groupings of tiles. One had a light teak finish and the other had a dark teak finish. It was a challenge to get all the tiles to appear to be flush with each other since they had varying thicknesses. Together, the tiles unify to create an image, but the floater frame preserves their 3-dimensionality and reminds us that they are individuals as well as parts of a whole.