Annotated Bibliography of Frame Publications,
1995 to 2017
By country: France
Alcouffe, Daniel, ‘La fabrication des cadres au faubourg Saint-Antoine sous le règne de Louis XIV’, in Olivier Bonfait et al. (eds), Curiosité: Études d'histoire de l'art en l'honneur d'Antoine Schnapper, Paris, Flammarion, 1998, pp.125-30. A well-documented historical study of framing in the reign of Louis XIV in a part of Paris where the city guilds had no authority. See also the same author’s Les artisans décorateurs du bois au au faubourg Saint-Antoine sous le règne de Louis XIV d’apres les minutes des notaires parisiens, Dijon, 2008, 316pp, a dictionary of wood workers of all kinds.
Baulez, Christian, ‘Souvenirs of an embassy: the comte d’Adhémar in London, 1783-87’, Burlington Magazine, vol.151, June 2009, pp.372-81, 11 illustrations. Sale catalogues of the contents of the house in Piccadilly of the comte d’Adhémar, French ambassador to the court of George III from 1783-8, reveal the taste of this former low-ranking aide-major of Nîmes in his rapid clime to social eminence. Amongst his extravagant furnishings was an official royal portrait from the king, a painting of Louis XVI by Antoine Callet in a carved frame by Buteux which was recently rediscovered in Powderham Castle (now Waddesdon Manor).
Cahn, Isabelle, ‘Bordures néo-impressionistes, une experimentation aux limites de la peinture’, in Le néo-impressionisme: de Seurat à Paul Klee, Musée d'Orsay, Paris, 2005, pp.62-71. A well-illustrated and well-informed short account, typographically confusing, focusing on Georges Seurat but also including information on Paul Signac. The essay looks at the influence of Chevreul’s colour theories, Seurat’s white frames and painted borders of the 1880s, and the painted frames of Theo van Rysselberghe and Georges Lemman in Belgium in the early 1890s.
Callen, Anthea, The Art of Impressionism: Painting technique and the making of modernity, Yale University Press, New Haven and London, 2000, 245pp, 281 colour illustrations. The chapter, ‘Framing the Debate', discusses in detail the frames used by the Impressionists themselves, and by their dealers, patrons and collectors. The historical context and contemporary academic practice are set out, and well-known quotations included from the work of artists, critics and journalists, supported by reference to less familiar comments from other sources. The chapter is divided into sections covering innovatory designs, temporary ‘painting frames', painting distance and the frame, gallery installation, lighting and the effect of the female consumer on presentation, and varnishes, tinted waxes and glass as modifiers with the frame of the artwork. With full endnotes, and a helpful bibliography.
Destremau, Frédéric, ‘Pierre Cluzel (1850-1894), encadreur de Redon, Pissarro, Degas, Lautrec, Anquetin, Gauguin’, Bulletin de la société de l’histoire de l’art français, 1995, pp 239-47. For 14 years Cluzel worked as a picture framer in Montmartre for the artists who feature in the title of this article. For Degas he made the classic reeded frames of distinctive profile.
Easton, Elizabeth, and Jared Bark, ‘Pictures properly framed: Degas and innovation in Impressionist frames', Burlington Magazine, vol.150, September 2008, pp.603-11, 19 illustrations, discusses the comparative radicalism of Degas's frame designs, expressed in terms of their profiles, lack of focal ornament, and colour. Much of this is familiar from Isabelle Cahn, Cadres de peintres (exh.cat., Musée d'Orsay, 1989), and from subsequent articles and essays on Degas's frames; where it breaks new ground is in an examination of the reverse of two paintings, The collector of prints, 1866, and A woman ironing, 1873 (both New York, Metropolitan Museum of Art). From comparison of the corners of the first, which are splined in the French manner, with those of the second, which has a butt-jointed mount and separate rabbeted outer moulding, the author concludes that Degas had The collector framed in France for his patrons, the Havemeyers, whilst the latter were responsible for the American frame of A woman ironing. This conclusion is supported by the metric measurements of one picture, and the imperial measurements of the other, along with the American basswood used for making the second frame. The article includes a brief consideration of the relationship between Degas and Cluzel, his framemaker from the 1880s until his death in 1894, and ends with a discussion of his use of coloured frames along with gilded patterns.
Foa, Michelle, Georges Seurat: The Art of Vision, Yale University Press, 2015, 235 pp, 141 figures, with framing discussed pp. 101-11; see also p.125, 217 nn.48-50. The short-lived pointillist painter, Georges Seurat (1859-91) is known for his innovative painted borders and frames. This wide ranging and fresh interpretation of his work devotes a lengthy section to the framing and display of his paintings, from his early white frames, to painted borders from about 1886 in colours more or less complementary to those in the picture, and then by 1889, or perhaps even in 1888, to painted borders which were perceived as dark blue, violet or grey. The author identifies Poseuses, 1886-7 (Barnes Foundation, Philadelphia), as marking the beginning of Seurat’s rethinking of the edges of his pictures and she points to the prominence given, within the painting itself, to various framed pictures in multiple kinds of frames. A letter from Matisse to a friend and fellow painter, Charles Camoin, in 1915 identifies Seurat’s painted borders as a type of repoussoir, that is a means of heightening the illusion of three dimensionality by seeming to throw parts of the composition back into fictional depth, as the author puts it. Yet another observer, the critic Clement Greenberg, took an opposing point of view (although not presented as such by the author of this book), identifying Seurat as ‘the first to attack the concept of the easel painting as a window’.
Harden, Edgar, ‘Claude et les quatre Louis' Dossier de l'Art, no.58, June 1999, pp.64-7. Reproducing four early views of Claude Monet's studio and discussing Monet's use of fine old frames for his pictures, especially those in the Louis XVI style.
Jeffares, Neil, Elisabeth Louise Vigée Le Brun: Part 2. Her pastel frames, 1772-1789, The Frame Blog, 21 May 2016. A well-illustrated survey of original frames on Vigée Le Brun’s pastels, all of them oval in neoclassical style.
MacDonald, Heather, Stormy Skies, Calm Waters: Vernet's Lansdowne Landscapes, Dallas Museum of Art, 2011, 48pp., 26 illustrations. The French landscape and marine artist, Joseph Vernet, painted a pair of large landscapes for William Petty, Marquis of Lansdowne. When exhibiting the first of the pair, Mountain Landscape with Approaching Storm, at the Salon in Paris in 1775 he borrowed a frame from one of his ‘Ports de France’ from the French royal collection. After the exhibition the picture was sent to London. The artist provided detailed notes as to how the painting should be stretched, glazed and framed, along with his design for a neoclassical frame (Bowood House archive; repr. in this publication, p.25). It is not known whether this handsome frame with a prominent ogee ornamented with acanthus leaves, large beads and a wide flat, was ever made.
Medlam, Sarah, ‘Callet's Portrait of Louis XVI: A Picture Frame as Diplomatic Tool', Furniture History, vol.33, 2007, pp.143-54, concerning the elaborate frame with royal coat of arms made by François-Charles Buteux for ambassadorial use in 1783 to house Antoine-François Callet's portrait of Louis XVI, formerly at Powderham Castle, Devon, and now at Waddesdon Manor, and related frames in other collections.
Penny, Nicholas, see National Portrait Gallery - Notes on frames in the exhibition, Portraits by Ingres
Raurich, Gérard and Françoise Coffrant, Encadrements d'artistes, Éditions Fleurus, Paris, 1998, 124 pp, numerous colour illustrations. The gimmicky side of recent French frames, as chosen by a string of minor artists, with a few interesting illustrations of earlier frames, mainly French late 19th and early 20th century.
Schaefer, Iris, Caroline von Saint-George and Katja Lewerentz, Painting Light: The Hidden Techniques of the Impressionists, Milan, 2008, pp.179-87. This exhibition publication includes a short and straightforward illustrated section on picture frames, treating the themes of traditional frames, the first artist-frames, the new frames of the Impressionists, and Pointillist borders and frames.
Schnapper, Antoine, ‘Bordures, toiles et couleurs: une révolution dans le marché de la peinture vers 1675’, Bulletin de la Societé de l’histoire de l’art français, année2000, 2001, pp.85-104. A detailed documentary study, with sections on frame vocabulary, formats, prices (usually 5-10% of that of the painting), contracts and orders, frames for Louis XIV, frame dealers, supports and colours, with three technical appendices, using a wide range of documentary source material including the records of the painter and gilt wood merchant, Etienne Desrais (1715).
Siefert, Helge, Claude-Joseph Vernet 1714-1789, exh. cat., Neue Pinakothek, Munich, 1997, pp.32-4, 85-7. A section of the catalogue is devoted to the frames on Vernet's work, eight of which are reproduced; four frames have the stamp of E.L. INFROIT. It is worth noting that Vernet preferred straight sided frames in the Roman taste to the curves and ornaments of the baroque. See also Philip Conisbee's review of Siefert's catalogue in the Burlington Magazine, vol.139, 1997, pp.567-8.
Slight, Jon, Liotard: a review of the RA exhibition, The Frame Blog, 9 January 2016. Together with an an additional note on his frames by Lynn Roberts. Copiously illustrated with Liotard’s elaborate and finely carved rococo frames in various styles according to the country where he was working.
Smeaton, Susanne, Elisabeth Louise Vigée Le Brun: Part 1, The Frame Blog, 9 May 2016. A review of the 2015-16 exhibition devoted to this leading late 18th and early 19th-century international portrait painter. Together with an appendix by Lynn Roberts on some of the artist’s frames. See also Jeffares, Neil, Elisabeth Louise Vigée Le Brun: Part 2. Her pastel frames, 1772-1789.
Wiggins, Arnold, & Sons, Frame estampillé P.F. Milet, fold-out card, no date but 2005. Illustrates a French frame of c. 1770, with a note on the Académie de Saint-Luc and the guilds of sculpteurs & menuisiers-ébénistes.
Wildenstein, Daniel, Gauguin: A Savage in the Making (Catalogue Raisonné of the Paintings 1873-1888), Skira/Wildenstein Institute, vol.1, 2002, pp.112, 180. Brief essays, ‘Gauguin and the modern frame' and ‘The decorated frame' with illustration, and other scattered references to Gauguin's views on framing.
- Annotated Bibliography of Frame Publications, 1995-2010
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