New Bella 2018 - Part 4
Welcome to part 4 of the Winter 2018 new collections launch! There's so much new, we've divided the excitement into a six part mini-series of introductory posts.
Today the focus is on natural materials - past, present and future. We'll honor picture frame innovator James McNeill Whistler and delve into the modern rustic texture of Gauge.
"An artist is not paid for his labor but for his vision." - James McNeill Whistler
At Bella we're lucky to have The Art Institute of Chicago right down the street. And true to our nature, we spend as much time looking at the frames there as we do the artwork. On a recent visit to the American wing, we spent extra time in front of the paintings and frames of James McNeil Whistler. Best known for the iconic somber painting of his mother, he was also an influencer of early American picture frame design.
Whistler was an ex-pat living in England in the 1860’s. He was greatly influenced by the Pre-Raphaelites and befriended the father of the movement Dante Gabriel Rossetti. In response to the Industrial Revolution, the Pre-Raphaelites believed art needed to be less mechanical or mannerist and return to the natural classicism achieved in the high Renaissance.
Whistler borrowed on the style's undecorated flat surfaced frame profiles and adopted the technique of applying gold leaf directly to the natural wood - usually hardwood oak - without any layer of gesso. This process allowed the subtle grain of the wood to show through and gave the leaf a softer tone rather than the highly burnished reflective effect of conventional gilding. Whistler was also partial to selecting different tones of gold leaf, more red or green rather than yellow, to best complement his work.
Our Whistler is created using an oak veneer over finger-joined pine. Gold or silver leaf is hand-applied directly to the veneer and a layer of light or dark wax is added to tone and seal the leaf. Our reed cap and wide angled profile and the transversal veneer application on the smallest profile are an homage but also modern adaptations of Whistler's original style.
Use each gold, silver or bronze Whistler frame separately or stack all three of the same finish together to create a modern version of the traditional early-American frame profile. For the even more daring, follow the trends and mix your metallics. Blending the warm and cool tones of Whistler together is completely encouraged.
“Raw materials contribute one of the most significant elements of design: texture.” - Mark Molthan, Interior Designer at Platinum Homes, Dallas, TX
The Gauge frame collection speaks to the home decor trend of exposed materials. Previously, showing unfinished elements of construction and raw materials like brick and steel was the purview of the urban industrial loft. But today, all sorts of homes are incorporating exposed brick, beams, and other materials.
This change reflects an appreciation for the craftsmanship that went into the space. By showing some of the bones of the home, we can appreciate how the building was made. Led by the simplicity of Scandinavian design, tastes in decor are shifting away from heavy ornamental design. But spaces are anything but plain. In lieu of elaborate patterns, newer homes feature structural materials like polished concrete, and exposed brick and ceiling beams. Showing the textures of wood, brick, concrete, and other materials, creates interiors that are dynamic and elegant.
Our Gauge is a collection of three neutral tones with rich texture like plaster work or unfinished concrete. The same artists behind our hand-painted Rothko and Stanley collections are creating this painterly effect entirely by hand. Gauge comes in two sizes or (wink wink) gauges; a small block and an extra tall chunky cap with exaggerated lip.
Thanks for following along. Our next edition of the intro blogs is dedicated to exciting additions to our most popular collection from 2017! Can you guess which one? The suspense!
As always, contact our helpful customer service staff with inquiries and requests. Happy framing!