Here is a framing project that we were asked to undertake by Elizabeth Easton when she was Chair of the Department of European Painting and Sculpture at The Brooklyn Museum. The painting is by Jozsef Rippl-Ronai (Hungarian, 1861-1927), a member of the Nabi group, which included Vuillard and Bonnard, among others. They shared an interest in the decorative arts, and a number of them designed ceramics, tiles, screens and other decorative objects.
The picture had been exhibited at the Museum in the black frame shown below, which Ms. Easton felt overwhelmed the picture.
József Rippl-Rónai, Woman with Three Girls, ca. 1909, oil on board.
In looking through the Nabi literature, we discovered this image of a tile Rippl-Ronai designed, shown below.
We made a simple cassetta frame and ornamented the panel with the border pattern from the artist’s tile design. We built the ornament up in layers of gesso and finished the frame with casein paint. The finished frame is shown below, presenting Rippl-Ronai's painting.
Why frame it this way? Despite the artist’s vigorous pursuit of various fields of design, we could not find any record of his having designed frames. Nevertheless, to us it seemed a fine thing to acknowledge the artist’s work in the decorative arts by borrowing an ornamental border from the artist’s own work. And we decided that a casein finish was more in keeping with this charming and modest scene than a gold frame would be, and closer to the artist’s design interests as well. So, this frame, whose design pays homage to the artist, now surrounds “Woman with Three Girls.”
We have made only two of these frames. One frames the Rippl-Ronai at The Brooklyn Museum, and the other frames a mirror in our showroom, a detail of which is shown below.
By Jed Bark, Bark Frameworks.