February 8, 2008

“What a difference a [frame] makes…”

Since I didn’t finish yesterday's painting for various reasons and excuses (and I know all of them), I thought I would show you how to elevate these little panels to small wonders. My last day job was back in 1974. I worked at the venerable Purnell Art Company as a framing craftsman and restorer. I have a lot of respect for the art of framing and it is an art. The reason we frame 2-dimensional works of art is because without containing the image, the lines and colors would visually drift off into space. Perhaps lattice strips would suffice, but a well made frame that complements the work adds to the charm and grace of the artwork. A case it point: The Baltimore Museum of Art is home to the Cone Collection, works by Picasso, Braque and that early 20th century gang of modern masters. The paintings were framed in the big Victorian frames popular in the day. When a new director of the BMA came onboard, she thought it would be a good idea to take off the grand Victorian frames put on by Gertrude Stein and the Cone sisters and put them into something that she thought would have pleased the modern artist’s sensibilities – little gold stripping. It was awful!! The hue and cry that followed the unveiling of the collection can still be heard. Thankfully, cooler heads prevailed. The old frames, mercifully, carefully retained, were restored and the director has moved on to ruin things elsewhere. I myself am a proclaimed frame fetishist and tend to over frame the work I live with. It is not uncommon for me to spend many times the value of the art on a great frame. Here in Baltimore we have the Fleckenstein Gallery. Terry really knows her stuff and offers some drop-dead gorgeous molding. Today’s painting which I posted in December demonstrates just how much a frame works to enhance a painting. The frame you see has a depth of an inch and a half with beautiful mahogany sides. Go ahead; spend the money on a good frame. You will thank me.


Rhonda Hurwitz said...

I am enjoying your commentary as much as your art (which is stunning, by the way). As someone who has tried to cut corners on frame expenses, I know in my heart of hearts that you are absolutely right. It is worth the difference.

Mark Adams said...

Thanks for the compliment Rhonda. Framing costs have gone sky high but, having seen it from the other side, the cost is justified. Trying to convince a patron of that is another story.