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Hollis Taggart Galleries, A Framing Challenge: a Bowl by Marsden Hartley

November 27, 2003

2 minute read

Hollis Taggart Galleries, A Framing Challenge- a Bowl by Marsden Hartley
A Framing Challenge

When a work of art is composed on a common object that is three-dimensional, then it becomes a framing challenge. It also requires careful consideration to determine how best to present it to illuminate both its beauty and uniqueness.

Everyone on the Lowy team took great interest when Vivian Bullaudy of Hollis Taggart Galleries brought to us a one-of-a-kind wooden bowl painted by Marsden Hartley. The bowl was painted during the period in which Hartley produced his “Provincetown” series and was a strong example of his style. The composition of the bowl evokes images of the sea with a sailboat as the subject and a whimsical starfish at the top. Vivian thought it was important to present the bowl as an artwork, and she came to Lowy for ideas.

After consultation with Lisa Wyer, Lowy’s vice president of Sales, it was decided the bowl would be best viewed like a painting and therefore should be framed as a painting would be framed to hang on a wall. A Spanish style receding frame was chosen to accommodate the 3 3/4″ depth of the bowl and the rustic, simple design of the frame complemented both the composition and the palette. A black liner was chosen to surround the bowl and isolate it within the frame.

Bringing the bowl and frame together required a meeting of aesthetics and ingenuity. David Frye, head of the fitting department at Lowy, designed a way to fit the bowl in the frame in such a way that would be discreet, yet strong and reversible. He made small wooden blocks and attached them to the back of the frame at each of the four corners. He then created foam core piers at each corner to support the liner at a specific height. He fashioned clips from aluminum reinforced with a tapered piece of wood and lined with a soft, cushioning material to ensure the bowl would not be scratched. The clips gripped the edge of the bowl at each of the four corners and pulled the bowl back into the frame flush with the liner. They were secured to the blocks of wood with screws that created tension on the bowl to hold it securely in place, and then were painted to match the bowl. Each foam core pier was given a window so the screw could be easily accessible to make any necessary adjustments.

The result was a presentation that allowed the bowl to be displayed and viewed as the extraordinary work of art that it is.