contemporary framing

contemporary framing

Contemporary Framing for Older Works

We recently framed two beautiful works on paper by Claude Flight (top) and Cyril Powers (below), both from the Art Deco period.  This style is surprisingly contemporary, even by today’s standards, so we wanted to match the geometric and organic feel of the artwork. We used a step frame with a sharp back bevel so it appears to be hovering off the wall on which it rests.  Also we chose to do the matting and frame in a cream tone-on-tone. This treatment allows the frame and matting to disappear and the artwork to be the star.  The eye is immediately drawn to the image and then hovers outward toward the matting and then the frame.

A good framing job lets the art be the star, and the frame is only the background and also protector of the art.

vintage expression

Expressionist Vintage Painting

This stunning expressionist vintage painting from a Parisian artist deserved something unique, so we chose an art deco frame. The decorative art style of the 20s and 30s was characterized by bold geometric shapes and strong colors. This style is mirrored in both the piece and the hand gilded white gold frame.

french matting

french matting

French Matting

On this illustration of Diane, we chose to use an older technique in a contemporary way: French matting.

French matting was popular in the 1970’s, and we are reviving the tradition to cater to modern times. Keeping the details minimal, we wanted to accentuate the Art Deco style of the illustration by adding two antique gold pin stripes with a light washy grey band about ¾” away from the 8ply bevel.  We also did a scroll mat where the sides are narrow and the top and bottom are heavy to further elongate the image.

Below is a close-up shot of the matting and an overall image which shows off the frame we chose: a step frame with a dark teak finish. This step profile is complimentary to the Deco era, and the profile and finish suit the piece perfectly.

old photo

Tiny Glimpse into the Past

Good things come in small packages. This tiny, mysterious, antique photo of a 4-year-old girl is over a century old! Something so small and so steeped in history carries an inherent magic. We had to frame it in a style as enchanting as the photograph itself.

We floated the piece on a dark olive silk. The dark green adds subtle color to bounce off of the sepia tones in the photograph. The luscious texture of silk alludes the Edwardian era, yet the decision to float it is fresh and contemporary. The fluted silver frame is commercially-made. But unlike many frame shops, we order our mouldings in length, then cut them and join them ourselves in our woodshop. This gives us the ability to control how patterns match up in corners. In this case we were able to create corner details by strategically chopping the moulding in all the right places. The result is a delightfully art-deco look, both elegant and quiet.

We topped it all off with museum glass, which will protect the photo from any further light damage, while providing amazing clarity with virtually no reflection.


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.