The Curious Mister Catesby: An Event at the Grolier Club

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Mark Catesby, great naturalist of the 17th century, began his artistic journey studying in the United States. After leaving England to feed his curiosity, he lived in Virginia for seven years. He returned to his home with paintings of the plants and animals he had studied, and it was then, that he began his great venture into naturalist painting, eventually cataloging "the flora and fauna of the Carolinas and the Bahamas by gathering seeds and specimens, compiling notes, and making watercolor sketches" (The Catesby Commemorative Trust).

Last Friday night, we were honored to take part in a fantastic night celebrating the imprint of this legendary artist. Our framed prints were front and center as guests entered the Grolier Club, making the initial imprint. The discussion was lead by Leslie Overstreet from the Smithsonian Libraries, who discussed the production of the three editions of Catesby's Natural History of Carolina, Florida and the Bahama Islands. Dr. Charles Nelson then went on to discuss his new book, The Curious Mister Catesby; a "Truly Ingenious" naturalist explores new worlds eventually ending with David J. Elliott, the Executive Director of the Catesby Commemorative Trust, on Mark Catesby. We were honored to be a part of this momentous occasion, and were thrilled to make some custom works for the event.

View a selection of our Catesby prints online here or please visit one of our store locations for the full collection. You may also enjoy Before Kermit, There was Catesby by Jessica Pigza.

On Trend: Asian Frames & Dragon Motifs

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We've collaborated with the industry's top interior designers on projects since 1926, so it's no surprise we are always fascinated with the direction of design and how current trends always find a way back into art and framing. A lot of our inspiration comes directly from our consultations with clients, who love to take advantage of our wide range of styles, from Spanish to Asian, modern or French -  we're always curious to see what comes next!

This year's predictions as shown in the April edition of House Beautiful aligned perfectly with several of our favorite frames and prints, pictured above. The bold elements of our custom Asian frames give strength to its paired architecture print, making a stunning piece. View a selection of our Asian frames here and architectural prints here.

Known for their positive energy, and colorful textiles, Asian prints and motifs have always had that clean sense of beautiful minimalism, evoking tranquility. We love the mix of the creamy neutrals with the fiery reds, cool blues, and crisp whites, hues sure to transcend the limits of design.

The rise of the dragon, who are known as the legendary creatures in Chinese mythology, have been used in the home for centuries, recently making their revival into the interior design world by way of fabrics, dinnerware, and wall decor. The dining chairs shown below, while classic, work wonderfully in this serene outdoor space designed by Kelly Wearstler. She allows the chairs to stand out, mixing similar colors and prints, anchoring the space with an ornate Asian chest. Influential interior designers and photographers are taking note, and these bold trends might be here to stay.

Whatever your style, we are here to help you find your way, our custom framing experts are highly experienced in making a unique experience, as we consider our clients, family.

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Images via our Pinterest page

​Our Iconic Ledger: A History of J.Pocker

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We are truly humbled to have served the New York City area for over 89 years, establishing fantastic relationships with some amazing characters along the way. Our ledger is chock full of influential artists, actors, and designers, with most of them being lifetime J.Pocker loyalists. 

Every so often, we enjoy reviewing our ledger, and wanted to share a few clients of ours that have continued to leave their mark in the design world.

Iconic actress Lauren Bacall was a true collector of art, and valued the importance of custom framing. Her belongings recently featured as up for auction at Bonham’s New York. "Her collection is truly a reflection of her extraordinary taste and remarkable life," said Jon King, Bonham’s' vice president. Architectural Digest showed her Dakota apartment adorned with custom framed prints and paintings, leaving us wondering if she could maybe be the true originator of the 'gallery wall.' This collection rivals that of others, including works from some of the greatest artists of the 20th century.

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Vogue editor Diana Vreeland, a flamboyant Parisian at heart, is another special client. Her home was an eccentric rendezvous of her travels, experiences, and loved ones. "I want my home to look like a garden!" she exclaimed, rounding up these colorful works, consulting with Marvin Pocker and his specialists for advice on her custom framing and mirror projects. She too, loved bunching her framed pieces together on the walls, visually stimulating her visitors, as she did in her over 30 years of exhilarating the fashion world.

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Famed interior designers Melanie Kahane and Billy Baldwin were also disciples of J.Pocker, sourcing prints, frames, and mirrors for their clients. We were lucky enough to continue these relationships over decades, and these items have been passed down through the generations, leaving a mark in the everyday homes of countless families.

Melanie Kahane, or as we know her, the 'Queen of Color,' caught the public's eye in 1946, when she accented a black-and-white French provincial bedroom with pumpkin-colored furniture. An idea so revolutionary, this room would eventually become one of the most photographed interiors published to date. Her style still reigns true today, her fresh approach resonating with those after her, pairing her use of framed art custom made by J.Pocker specialists with her more contemporary furnishings.

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Billy Baldwin, of Baldwin + Martin, Inc. visited our East 63rd Street location frequently, a lover of antiques and ethnic decor, he loved the idea of living alongside pieces that held a history, and acquired a great deal of paintings that needed to be framed, usually going for a classic French gold ornate style frame. You can view a selection of our French frames here.

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We're a family owned business, and have been the leading specialist in the industry for decades. Let us help you make your mark today, preserving pieces for your children and grandchildren to enjoy. View a selection of our frames, prints and mirrors online or visit us today at 135 East 63rd Street, New York NY 10065 or one of our other store locations. You can also give us a ring at 212-838-5488, or shoot us an email at info@jpocker.com.

 

Images via our Pinterest page

Classical Meets Contemporary

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Our longtime friend and client Alexa Hampton is no stranger to having her gorgeous work showcased, but when she recently renovated her Manhattan apartment, powerhouse Architectural Digest featured it's first glance in their April issue.

'Classical meets contemporary' as coined by AD, perfectly sums up the space, as she methodically merges the old with the new. In the living room, a desk from her collection with Hickory Chair, a cocktail table (made by Frederick P. Victoria & Son) and the stylish Jansen-style club chair give a new world glamour to an otherwise old world space.

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As a longtime client and dear friend of my family, our expert staff worked with Alexa on custom frames for the entire space.  I especially love Alexa's selection of elegant prints, a perfect fit for her historic New York City building. (You can shop the look with our similar prints here). A gold gilded mirrors hangs, anchoring the room as it's centered between the family's bookcase, and a neutral hued gallery wall. She proves gallery walls of all shapes and sizes add a bit of fun to a room, while still keeping symmetry in mind. Designing a stylish livable space for a family of five seems impossible, but she seems to do it effortlessly. See more of this incredible space here.

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View a selection of our frames here and please do visit one of our stores for the full collection.

 

Images via Architectural Digest

Before Kermit, There Was Catesby by Jessica Pigza

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To celebrate Mark Catesby's birthday last week, we'd like to share a wonderful post from the New York Public Library 'Before Kermit, There Was Catesby' by Jessica Pigza of the Rare Book Division.

The feature highlights the tremendous work of Mark Catesby as a leading naturalist and plant collector. Thanks to his devotion to the natural world as well as his adventurous sprit... many of the first illustrations and records of North American wild and plantlife are because of him. One of my favorite Catesby prints that we have in our gallery is an illustration of the Land, Water and Green Tree Frog. To view a selection of our Catesby prints online click here and find Jessica's article below.

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Kermit the Frog has always been my favorite Jim Henson creation, and my first childhood crush as well. Although many people associate Kermit with The Muppet Show, he played many parts on Sesame Street over the years too, and I always loved seeing him in whatever role he played.  

My devotion to Kermit has led to a love for frogs in print as well, from Arnold Lobel's Frog and Toad books to Ken Kimura's 999 Frogs. And whenever I examine illustrated natural histories in the Rare Book Division where I work, I'm always on the lookout for Kermit's amphibious ancestors. Some of my favorite frogs are in Mark Catesby's The natural history of Carolina, Florida, and the Bahama Islands: containing the figures of birds, beasts, fishes, serpents, insects and plants: particulary the forest-trees, shrubs, and other plants, not hitherto described, or very incorrectly figured by authors... 

Mark Catesby was a largely self-trained English botanist and plant collector, and he accomplished something quite tremendous: he researched, wrote, and illustrated the first book to depict North America's plants and animals. Catesby traveled to the English colonies in North America twice, spending many years there collecting seeds and specimens, and studying and sketching the continent's birds, fish, snakes, and mammals. 

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The frogs pictured  above are reproduced from original hand colored etchings in the Rare Book Division's 1754 edition of Catesby's book. His book contains lots more than frogs, though, and you can browse more flora and fauna (including some Big Birds!) here. And if you'd like to read his monumental work in its entirety, you can do so here (Volume 1) and here (Volume 2).

View a small selection of our Catesby prints on the website here and please do visit one of our stores to see the full collection.

 

Article and Images via The New York Public Library

J.Pocker's Business Page on Yelp

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Recently we worked with the wonderful team at Yelp to shoot a video for our new Yelp business page. When telling the J.Pocker story, it's so important to me that we convey the personal framing experience our clients receive at all our stores.  Our clients have trusted us with their most treasured art since 1926 and that tradition continues today.  Visit our business page to watch the video.

Small Frame - Big Impact: Domberger Calendar Sheet Editions 1967-1971

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Even with screen printing's popularity today, most people don't realize the man that pioneered and developed screen printing as an artistic medium was Luitpold Domberger. Decades ago my father fell in love with his work in 1966 at the Frankfurt Book Fair, and he immediately bought half the collection. I was beyond thrilled when I realized Domberger's latest online exhibit was one featuring this very type of work: "It was owed to Marvin Pocker's enthusiasm and commitment, that the serigraphs from Filderstadt made a name for themselves in New York and the rest of the United States."

I've always known my parents wanted to put their own stamp on what they considered to be the best in picture framing, but this is such a lovely reminder about the importance of remaining innovative and open minded when it comes to new artists and new ways of framing art. Below we share the introduction to this online exhibit and a selection of the images. 

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It all began in 1966 when Luitpold Domberger published a calendar with 12 small-format original serigraphs by contemporary artists in an exclusive coffer. Back then, both the quality and the presentation of these graphics were unique. Concurrent to the signed edition a limited edition of unsigned calendars was also on offer.

When US-American Marvin Pocker discovered this innovative - and today legendary – silkscreen edition titled Internationale zeitgenössische Kunst (International Contemporary Art) with 12 serigraphs at the Frankfurt Book Fair in 1966, he instantly bought half of the calendar edition as he was strongly impressed by the prints’ quality. And so Pocker not only remained a good customer in the years to follow but became a close friend of the Domberger family, too.

Marvin Pocker ran a renowned picture frame shop on New York’s Lexington Avenue and he had a professional eye for quality. Only the best silkscreens were merely good enough for his frames to stand a chance in New York.

It was owed to Marvin Pocker’s enthusiasm and commitment, that the serigraphs from Filderstadt made a name for themselves in New York and the rest of the United States.

Today, many of the artists who started to print with Domberger almost 50 years ago are part of the Who’s Who in international art history.

But today, the success story of the calendar sheet editions contain another meaning, too, which has been important to the house of Domberger up until today:

It is not the format that is important but always the quality. For small walls and budgets there are also works of art living up to their names.

This is why we are offering these small-format works as single sheets today unless they are not already out of stock. On the American graphic market, individual sheets of this edition have been generating high prices such as, among others, the much sought-after motives by Robert Indiana.

The fact that international contemporary artists have contributed to this high-class artist calendar project for many years, speaks for a good cooperation with Domberger on the one hand and also for the fact that artists and publisher were very well aware that they could make access to art easier through a calendar on the other.

Everyone who embraced an artistic motif was inspired more and more with each month and indulged increasingly in ART. 

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Introduction and Images via Edition Domberger

Sporting Prints

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We are all fans of Downton Abbey here at J.Pocker, but we were especially inspired by the classic horse race in last week's episode. It got us thinking about the sporting prints in our own collection. Robyn Pocker has been a longtime fan of the British racing world so we asked her to weigh in on some special framing tips.

A collector has to really appreciate the quality behind sporting images. Not everyone can own the originals but there are great alternatives available.

The best ones to look for are copperplate engravings made from the original copper plates. They are printed on lovely paper, each one done by hand, one at a time, printed in black and white then colored by a master colorist.  When well done, you can clearly see the details of the horses’ eyes and the faces of the riders. Racing images have the most color. The silks worn by jockeys have a color range that is always dramatic. 

The originals are often seen framed in traditional black Hogarth frames with gold detail. After that, there is a choice of walnut burl veneer or what we would call a traditional sporting frame, gold with a lambs tongue detail at the lip.

Sporting prints are always well done in a study and massed together they are so handsome. Endless topics are available including hunting, horse racing, coursing (rabbit hunting), hog hunting in India, and behind the scenes imagery of country life.

Here are a few of our favorite sporting prints:

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View more sporting prints here, and a selection of our frames here. Please do visit one of the stores for the full collection.

Suzanne Smeaton on Kulicke Frames

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The clean, simple metal frames that so often form the perfect complement to contemporary artworks were a radical innovation when they were first introduced in the 1950’s. Designed by artist, designer and framemaker Robert Kulicke (1924-2007), the frames were his solution to requests from his Abstract Expressionist artist-friends Robert Motherwell, Willem DeKooning, Barnett Newman and Franz Kline. The frame was inspired by the Barcelona chair, designed by Mies Van de Rohe. Kulicke said, “I came to realize that abstract painting needed a welded polished metal frame in order to be elegant enough for the large powerful art.” Kulicke also provided over 2,000 such frames to the Museum of Modern Art for use in traveling exhibitions, and their use radically transformed the aesthetic of framing employed at MOMA after their 1984 expansion.

Kulicke also later developed a Lucite frame for the photography department at MOMA; now referred to as the Plexibox frame. The Plexibox frame addressed the desire for both an unobtrusive frame and one that would guard against dust. Both the welded aluminum frames and the Plexibox frames offer an unadorned yet sophisticated framing treatment for art and photography. 

Thank you to Suzanne Smeaton for writing this guest post.

View a selection of our frames here, or visit one of the stores for our full collection.

Inspired by Marsala

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Like many design enthusiasts, it's always exciting when Pantone announces their color of the year. Cross-referencing trends that span interior design, fashion, and beauty, it always amazes me how relevant and meaningful the color ends up being for professionals across so many different industries. For interiors Pantone explains that Marsala is, “complex and full-bodied without being overpowering, it provides a unifying element for interior spaces.” I would have to agree with that statement — I've seen Marsala referenced in many new interiors (especially wall colors!) that our interior design clients bring to us when working on custom framing and mirror projects. 
 
Marsala also happens to be a color in so many of my favorite flowers, I was thrilled to receive new prints for spring that embody so many different variations of Marsala. View a preview of our new Marsala inspired floral prints below, along with some of my favorite inspiration from our Pinterest boards.

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View a selection of our prints here, or visit one of the stores for our full collection.

 

Images via our Pinterest page

Botanical Prints

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In the depths of winter sometimes it’s impossible not to think about spring - especially being a gardener and flower fanatic (I’m even counting down until May when I go to London for the Chelsea Flower Show!). With that said, it’s important to remember that winter is a season for reinvention, and the purpose of our home becomes even more a place of refuge, relaxation and entertaining. Botanical prints are more versatile than you may think - and for me they become even more meaningful in the cold winter months. A lovely botanical watercolor can mix in a salon style wall just as easily as it can be a statement over a sofa. I love big groups of botanical prints hung in a grid - I’m also more inclined to stack two or three for more impact, even if they are not a pair. Some of my favorite botanical prints of all time are by Mark Catesby - see an edited selection of his prints here.

As for some tips on framing botanical prints, archival framing is key. Avoid the horror of burn marks from old matting. There are no rules about framing - French mats, silk mats, and modern or traditional - it’s all about the effect you want in the space.

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Find more framing inspiration on our Pinterest page and view a selection of our Botanical prints here or visit one of the stores to see the full collection. 

 

 Image via our Pinterest page

Robyn Pocker in Domino Magazine

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We came back to the office this year to discover Domino’s winter issue, and as always, it was chalk full of design inspiration. Months ago they called on us to offer some guidance when creating a gallery wall with their Style Editor, Elaina Sullivan. We are so thrilled to be included in this issue and wanted to share Robyn’s advice below:

1. First, lay everything you might want to consider out on the floor before hanging on the wall. You may decide to purchase additional photographs or artwork if the collection needs a bit more “body.”


2. If you’re having difficulty visualizing the spacing, mask out the arrangement with painter’s tape. You can then see if you’ll have enough height to adequately fill the space and make the wall “important” looking. Try to include a mix of vertical and horizontal works to fully occupy the wall.


3. For the sake of ease, start by hanging on the right side and move to the left. Use picture-hanging hardware (such as the OOK brand) or, alternatively, two nails for each piece, each hammered one third of the way into the wall.  BTW: Download a level app on your phone to ensure your pieces won’t hang askew. 

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Find more gallery wall inspiration on our Pinterest page and read the feature on Domino's website here.

 

Images by Brittany Ambridge and via our Pinterest page

Mark Catesby

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Some of the earliest known American illustrations of natural history are credited to Mark Catesby, an English naturalist who committed his life to documenting the natural world and pioneering the field of modern natural science in the 18th century. 

His watercolors (many of them featured in our prints collection) still capture my imagination with their beauty. As an artist, his etching of birds and plants chronicled the diverse natural beauty of colonial America 100 years before Audubon. (It also turns out Catesby was quite resourceful — at first he was actually unable to afford an engraver… and self taught himself before presenting his first collection of illustrations to the Royal Society of London!). Catesby was the first naturalist to conduct a study of the lush and varied habitat of North America (we have an extensive collection of his botanical prints) and as a scientist, he was the first to empirically observe and recognize the natural and man-made dangers of species survival.  

As both a scientist and an artist at the golden dawn of modern natural science, it’s astonishing how relevant and beautiful his illustrations still are today. Case in point— there is a gorgeous home in the Bahamas featured in House Beautiful’s December issue by interior designer Amanda Lindroth. Hanging above the sofa in the family’s living room is a collection of our Catesby prints — a Flamingo, Wood Pelican and Whooping Crane. Maybe just as Catesby saw them 500 years ago. 

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View a small selection of our Catesby prints on the website here and please do visit one of our stores to see the full collection.

 

Image via House Beautiful

Robyn Pocker on Mirrors

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Decorating with mirrors can be tricky — the right size, style and scale of decorative mirrors can really impact an interior. We asked Robyn Pocker to weigh in on several inspiring spaces that use decorative mirrors: 

"A wall of various mirrors is a real space opener. The best part is the light it can bring to any space. #1 rule is to be sure something attractive is being reflected in the mirrors (i.e. a well conceived wall and not a messy desk!). The mirrors should have some unifying aspect and that's where you can really get creative."

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"The foyer is your personal statement. Make it bold and really set the tone before you guests walk on. The adage that 'you never get a second chance to make a first impression' is in full force in the entryway. The first rule of hanging a mirror is in perfect here. Reflect something pretty. The stairway banister and all the blue and white are filling up the space because the mirror frame is its own statement. And then the reflection, quite a picture."

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"Over Mantles, as they are known in England, become part of the architecture of the room itself. Make sure to show your framer images of accessories and objects you'd like to style as well the interior inspiration — the grand scale of these mirrors become such a statement and focal point of any room, so make sure you work closely with your framer to get it just right."

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"Bathrooms are a place to have some fun with choosing a frame. Bamboo for an Asian inspired wallcovering is fun. In my powder room I have one that is painted blue and the frets of the bamboo are silver leaf. You can add texture with a faux finish or wood grain. A great mirror choice can really be the final polish and detail for a bathroom. Don't settle in this space, you use it every single day."

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"This Spanish style frame is more versatile than you might think... it's a wonderful large scale mirror with drama. It can also work well on small black and white drawings. (It's quite often used on lithographs by Picasso or Braque.) The scale is everything with this style of frame. Drama when you want to make something black and white, more bold and classic on a Braque." 

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I love this modern take on a trumeau mirror. It incorporates the traditional 18th century French mirrors style which is usually exceptionally traditional. A mirror this size and proportion can't help but bring light to a room. It's the focus (yet in a subtle way) of otherwise leftover space.”

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To view our custom mirror collection click here

 

All images via our Pinterest page

 

The Lauder Cubism Show

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‘Cubism: The Leonard A. Lauder Collection’ on view at the Metropolitan Museum of Art through February 16, 2015 contains masterworks by four artists who created the movement: Pablo Picasso (Spanish 1881-1973), Georges Braque (French 1882-1963), Fernand Leger (French 1881-1955), and Juan Gris (Spanish 1887-1927). Coming from Lauder’s personal collection the artworks are sensitively framed and provide opportunities to see what forms of frames are found on such artworks. 

The most prevalent design is the cassetta frame, executed in many variations. The cassetta profile emerged from 15th Century Venice and has a wide, flat panel with raised inner and outer edges (hence the term cassetta or ‘little box’). The cassetta frames are most often black and frequently utilize delicate gold designs confined to the corners and/or midpoints of the frame; their angularity and restraint are an excellent choice for the refracted compositions. Similarly, a gold step frame on Braque’s Bottle of Rum has softened edges of each step and recedes into the composition, heightening the sense of perspective. Black, as a surface in general, is a sophisticated and dramatic choice for such modern artworks and heightens the expressive brushwork and palette. On Leger’s Sketch for Acrobats In the Circus a matte black surface echoes and supports the matte surface of the canvas. 

Carved Spanish designs in black and gold speak to Picasso’s roots and his fondness for 17th Century frames; on his Head of a Woman - Study for Nude With Drapery the robust carving and interplay of black and gold surfaces underscores the drama and boldness of the image. 

In contrast, a pale delicate work by Leger, Drawing for The Card Players, contains both angles and soft rounded shapes. It is sympathetically framed with a similarly curved reverse ogee frame finished in a light, understated gold that does not overwhelm and complements the warmer tonalities of the drawing.

On the whole the frames in the exhibition are excellent choices in terms of both historical precedent and sympathetic designs that support and enhance the Cubist compositions - it is a rare chance to see a coherently framed collection.

Holiday House

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Founded by Iris Dankner seven years ago to raise breast cancer awareness in the design industry, Holiday House is now open on East 63 Street. If you have never attended, this is your year. It has never been more beautiful. After just getting home from the opening night gala, I’m even more inspired by Iris and the inspiring designers that support breast cancer research. It’s really unlike any other designer show house. The wonderful Iris Dankner sends her own energy outward to every corner of Holiday House. Some highlights…

Amy Lau's dining room could make you swoon for sheer scale and tabletop design. Leslie Banker's tropical room for a small dinner party is so inviting and the bookshelves hold so many curiosities to examine. I also loved Caleb Anderson's use of art, almost installed in a bookshelf as bookends. I thought that was a very elegant way to display a small painting. Matthew Patrick Smyth's use of gray mirrors was perfect. Hard to see the line between using those mirrors as art and mirror.


The real highlight is the courtyard gallery. Filled with photos of beautiful breast cancer survivors and short stories about each brave woman. To learn more log onto www.clothingimmaterial.com

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For more information on Holiday House visit www.holidayhousenyc.com