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Artistic Picture Framing.
Will Hutchins gave an interesting talk upon picture framing before a room full
of people under the auspices of the Arts and Crafts Society Wednesday. He considered
the purpose of the frame to be the marking of the boundary of the picture and
the establishing of some relationship with the walls where it is placed. Mr.
Hutchins felt that the ordinary picture framers have little idea of the artistic
side of their work, and are framing pictures because they happened not to get
into the dry goods business or something equally remote from art. He therefore
urged his hearers, if they cherished artistic ideals, to be firm in insisting
upon framing of real merit. He displayed many framed pictures to illustrate
Mr. Hutchin's did not follow quite the line suggested by Ruskin's celebrated
definition of a frame as something to provide a space of silence about a picture.
He thought some frames might have some intrinsic beauty that should constitute
them a part of the picture though in all cases he favored frames of a design
that should subordinate them to the scene they set off. For oil paintings he
favored in a general way bronze or gold frames somewhat reduced in tone. He
preferred some slight design to give a human touch. One frame that he liked
contained scroll work which repeated itself in a certain rhythm for a few times,
then changed its direction slightly, to get rid of the dizzy effect produced
by too constant repetition.
The use of wood framing for colored pictures Mr. Hutchins considered rather
hazardous, though occasionally used successfully. Wood frames should be colored
to harmonize quite closely with the dominant note of the picture. Sometimes
the complementary color can be used, the speaker instancing an orange frame
for a blue picture. Mr. Hutchins did not consider that colored frames can be
used successfully with photographs, and argued against the use of the white
mat on such pictures. The use of photographs, to any large extent for the walls
of a house was open to much question, he thought, but he showed some beautiful
reproductions of the masterpieces which were framed artistically with narrow
wood strips in dark tones.
Some of the frames displayed were by Hermann Dudly Murphy of Boston, who has
acquired a wide reputation for artistic framing of his pictures.
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Many a 19th century patron had their portrait bordered with an elaborate frame, a work of art all its own, or one haphazardly chosen. Often highly gilded and ornate, these frames often overtook the painting or, at best, clashed with it. Will Hutchins, like others involved in the Arts and Crafts Movement, believed that the frames should compliment paintings, but not dominate them. He brought examples of frames created by Hermann Dudley Murphy to illustrate his point. Murphy was a painter and frame-maker in Boston who taught at the Harvard school of Architecture. He considered the design and making of frames to be an art form and signed and dated them accordingly.
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"Artistic Picture Framing"
| publisher Greenfield Gazette and Courier
| date Jan 27, 1906
| location Greenfield, Massachusetts
| height 6.0"
| width 2.25"
| process/materials printed paper, ink
| item type Periodicals/Article
| accession # #L02.036
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