THE ART INSTITUTE OF CHICAGO
Gill & Lagodich studios hand-crafted one-hundred-and-fifty-one replica frames, painstakingly made of poplar with inlaid mahogany striping, finished in tinted hand-polished gesso, designed to match original Whistler etching and lithograph frames from the collection of The Hunterian Art Collection, University of Glasgow. When Songs on Stone: James McNeill Whistler and the Art of Lithography opened in June 1998 at the Art Institute, our frames were an integral part of the exhibition design, which, with brown paper on the walls and yellow silk draped across the ceiling, recreated the ambience of an original exhibition designed and produced by Whistler during his lifetime.
Since then, Gill & Lagodich has framed a number of Chicago's most beloved paintings, including the iconic Nighthawks, by Edward Hopper, Paris Street, Rainy Day, by Gustave Caillebotte, and The Song of The Lark, by Jules Breton.
JULES ADOLPHE BRETON (1827–1906)
The Song of the Lark, 1884, oil on canvas, 43-1/2” x 33-3/4”, period 19th-century Barbizon-style frame; molding width 6-7/8".
GUSTAVE CAILLEBOTTE (1848 – 1894)
Paris Street; Rainy Day, 1877, oil on canvas, period 19th-century French gilded wood molding frame. This iconic Impressionist painting was recently cleaned and restored to its original appearance. Commentary and interactive images of the recent dramatic restoration are documented here in the Wall Street Journal . "In his masterpiece, "Paris Street; Rainy Day", Gustave Caillebotte brought an unusual monumentality and compositional control to a typical Impressionist subject, the new boulevards that were changing the Paris cityscape. The result is at once real and contrived, casual and choreographed. With its curiously detached figures, the canvas depicts the anonymity that the boulevards seemed to create. By the time it appeared in the third Impressionist exhibition, held in April 1877, the artist was 29 years old, a man of considerable wealth, and not only the youngest but also the most active member of the Impressionist group. He contributed six of his own canvasses to the exhibition; played a leading part in its funding, organization, promotion, and installation; and lent a number of paintings by his colleagues that he owned." —Art Institute of Chicago, permanent collection label. In 2011, the painting was taken off view for conservation, and the empty frame was left as a placeholder in the gallery — an invitation to visitors to pose for their own masterpieces.
EDWARD HOPPER (1882 – 1967)
Nighthawks, 1942, oil on canvas, 33-1/8 x 60 inches, custom-designed, gilded, and patinated frame, 9-karat gray-gold leaf over fine-combed gesso and cast ornament on carved wood; custom-fabricated in the Gill & Lagodich New York studios; combed pattern, ogee profile, and gilded patina based on original Hopper frame models. "Edward Hopper said that Nighthawks was inspired by “a restaurant on New York’s Greenwich Avenue where two streets meet,” but the image—with its carefully constructed composition and lack of narrative—has a timeless, universal quality that transcends its particular locale. One of the best-known images of twentieth-century art, the painting depicts an all-night diner in which three customers, all lost in their own thoughts, have congregated. Hopper’s understanding of the expressive possibilities of light playing on simplified shapes gives the painting its beauty. Fluorescent lights had just come into use in the early 1940s, and the all-night diner emits an eerie glow, like a beacon on the dark street corner. Hopper eliminated any reference to an entrance, and the viewer, drawn to the light, is shut out from the scene by a seamless wedge of glass. The four anonymous and uncommunicative night owls seem as separate and remote from the viewer as they are from one another. (The red-haired woman was actually modeled by the artist’s wife, Jo.) Hopper denied that he purposefully infused this or any other of his paintings with symbols of human isolation and urban emptiness, but he acknowledged that in Nighthawks “unconsciously, probably, I was painting the loneliness of a large city.” — Art Institute of Chicago, Essential Guide, 2013, p. 58 Top photo: Nighthawks on view at l'exposition "Edward Hopper", Grand Palais, Paris, October 2012 – January 2013.
JOHN SINGER SARGENT (1856 – 1925)
The Fountain, Villa Torlonia, Frascati, Italy, 1907, oil on canvas, 28-1/8" x 22-1/4", custom-made replica, 17th-century Italianate frame, gilded hand-carved wood with punchwork frieze. "As one of the most sought-after and prolific portraitists of international high society, American expatriate John Singer Sargent painted the cosmopolitan world to which he belonged with elegance and a bravura touch. Born to American parents residing in Italy, Sargent spent his early adult life in Paris, moving to London in the mid-1880s. The artist traveled frequently, and it was during these trips that he experimented most extensively with painting en plein air, or outdoors. Set in a sunlit garden in the central Italian town of Frascati, this charming double portrait depicts Sargent’s friends and fellow artists Wilfrid and Jane Emmet de Glehn. The painting is filled with light, displaying Sargent’s characteristically dazzling surface articulated with thick impasto and virtuoso brushwork. Jane described the work as a “most amusing and killingly funny picture” in a letter to her sister Lydia. She continued: “I am all in white with a white painting blouse and a pale blue veil around my hat. I look rather like a pierrot, but have a rather worried expression as every painter should who isn’t a perfect fool, says Sargent. Wilfrid is in short sleeves, very idle and good for nothing, and our heads come against the great ‘panache’ of the fountain.'” — Art Institute of Chicago, Essential Guide, 2013, p. 47.
JOHN SINGER SARGENT (1856 – 1925)
Venetian Glass Workers, 1880/82, oil on canvas, 22-1/4" x 33-1/4"; custom-made replica of a 17th-century Northern Italian painting frame; gilded and polychrome hand-carved wood; molding width 4-3/8” "Illuminated with swathes of light against a dark background, bundles of thin glass rods are sorted by laborers in John Singer Sargent's Venetian Glass Workers. The woman in the right foreground is using a zocco, or cutting tool, to slice glass tubes into uniform lengths that will be placed in a metal drum with a mixture of lime, carbonate, sand, carbon, and water. When the drum is heated and turned, the mixture smoothes the edges of the cut glass and forms rounded beads. In the 1880s, Sargent painted many genre scenes featuring workers. Yet this image is noteworthy for its unusual composition, in which the lightest forms are grouped along the edges, and its dramatic brushwork. The latter shows the influence of Baroque painters such as the Spaniard Diego Vélazquez and the Dutchman Franz Hals. The glass rods have become nearly abstract dashes of color, suggesting the effect of Venice's intense light as it penetrates the space. During frequent visits to Venice, Sargent completed over 100 paintings and watercolors of the city. Devoted to music and a fine pianist, Sargent traded this and another Venetian work to a piano-maker in exchange for a piano in 1886." —museum label. Mr. and Mrs. Martin A. Ryerson Collection. 1933.1917
WILLIAM MERRITT CHASE (1849 – 1916)
North River Shad, c. 1910, oil on canvas, 29" x 37", custom-made replica frame, late 18th-century European, Dutch-style, ebonized carved wood with applied ornament, molding width 5-1/2" "William Merritt Chase's "North River Shad" is a striking departure from his better-known Impressionist renderings of city parks and scenes in Shinnecock, New York. Here he was primarily interested in depicting surface texture; the fish displays the artist's virtuosity with pigment and brushwork. Brilliant white brushstrokes form its iridescent scales, accentuating the weight and density of the voluminous creature. Chase painted numerous versions of fish still lifes, many of which were quickly purchased by museums across the country. Because of the popularity of these works, Chase worried that he would be remembered only "as a painter of fish." — Art Institute of Chicago, permanent collection label, Friends of American Art Collection, 1914.56
THOMAS COPPERTHWAITE EAKINS (1844 – 1916)
Study For William Rush Carving His Allegorical Statue Of The Schuylkill, c. 1875-76, oil on canvas, 14-1/8" x 11-1/4", period American 1870s frame, gilded applied composition ornament on wood, molding width: 4-3/8" "Best known for his realist portraits and scenes of contemporary life, Thomas Eakins also spent considerable energy on history paintings. Here, he executed a study for a painting that celebrates an early American sculptor, William Rush. In the finished painting, Rush is depicted carving his Water Nymph and Bittern (1809), for which the model poses; the statue adorned a public square in Philadelphia, the hometown of both artists. Eakins, an ardent advocate of studying from life, highlights this artistic working method in his rendering of the female form. In 1870s America, artistic studies from the nude figure remained a rarity, a condition that Eakins worked hard to overturn in the following years as an instructor at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts". — Art Insititute of Chicago, permanent collection label
MARSDEN HARTLEY (1877 – 1943)
The Last of New England—The Beginning of New Mexico, 1918/19, oil on cardboard, 24 x 30 inches. Framed by Gill & Lagodich, period c. 1930s-40s American Modernist frame, House of Heydenryk, New York maker, wormy chestnut wood with polychrome patina; silver leaf with painted gesso flat liner. Label on Verso: a HEYDENRYK frame / HHJR / THE HOUSE OF HEYDENRYK / 141 WEST 54TH STREET / NEW YORK 19, N.Y. "In 1918 Marsden Hartley went to New Mexico in search of an appropriate subject for an authentic American modern art. In the artist’s 18 months there, the Southwest inspired him to reengage with nature and more realistic representational modes. Hartley described the scenery to his dealer, Alfred Stieglitz: “I like the country very well for it is big and clean and true, and there is nothing dirty standing between one and the sunlight, as there is in the east.” In The Last of New England—The Beginning of New Mexico, Hartley celebrated leaving the exhausted East for the unspoiled landscape of the Southwest, which he felt offered weary Americans an opportunity for rejuvenation in nature." — Art Institute of Chicago, Permanent collection label. Alfred Stieglitz Collection, 1949.546
MARTIN JOHNSON HEADE (1819 – 1904)
York Harbor, Coast of Maine, 1877, oil on canvas, 15-1/4" x 30-1/4", period 1870s frame. "This painting represents Martin Johnson Heade’s mature style from the 1870s and contains many of the compositional elements that have led modern scholars to celebrate the artist as a proponent of Luminism. A 20th-century term, Luminism has consistently been linked to the 19th-century philosophical doctrine of transcendentalism. Stylistically, it is characterized by a horizontal format; tight, invisible brushwork; and pervasive light emanating from an unseen source. Together these qualities embody the intellectual spirit of the American writer and philosopher Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803–1882), who found transcendental unity in the contemplation of nature’s stillness." — Art Institute of Chicago, permanent collection label
detail, above 1870s American frame
WINSLOW HOMER (1836 – 1910)
The Whittling Boy, 1873, oil on canvas, 15-3/4" x 22-11/16", period c. 1870s American painting frame, gilded applied composition ornament on wood; molding width: 5-1/4” . Terra Foundation for American Art, Daniel J. Terra Collection, 1994.12
WINSLOW HOMER (1836 – 1910)
Peach Blossoms, 1878, Oil on canvas, 13-1/4" x 19-5/8", period c. 1870s American Doll & Richards frame, gilded applied composition ornament with incised matte and burnished frieze. "Winslow Homer often depicted scenes of leisure in his early career. This painting features a young woman looking at burgeoning peach blossoms, indicating both early spring and perhaps her youth. The setting, which often recurs in Homer's oeuvre, reflects nostalgia for a fading rural past. Contemporary critics referred to the artist's style at this time as independent of foreign influences, suggesting an inherently American quality. However, his stylistic decisions link this work to both French and Japanese art. Impressionism inspired Homer's use of a lighter palette, and the attention to linearity in the tree is reminiscent of Japanese calligraphy. The painting thus serves as visual evidence of the global artistic exchange of the late 19th century." — Art Institute of Chicago, permanent collection label
JULIUS GARI MELCHERS (1860 – 1932)
Mother and Child, oil on canvas, 25" x 21-3/8", c 1915 American George Of black cassetta frame; gilded and polychrome hand-carved wood, molding width: 4-3/4”
WILLIAM SIDNEY MOUNT (1807–1868)
“Bar-Room Scene”, 1835, oil on canvas, 22” x 27” c. 1840s American painting frame; gilded applied ornament on wood; molding width 4-3/4” "William Sidney Mount’s scenes of everyday life provide insight into the complex social and racial divisions of antebellum America. The central figure in this tavern is a homeless wanderer who literally dances along a line in the floorboards and, as a result, walks a symbolic line between class and race. The color of his skin unites him with the more prosperous men who urge on his drunken revelry, but his poverty makes him an outcast like the African American man in the shadows, who smiles and looks on but is not an integral part of the group." — Permanent collection label
CHARLES WILBERT WHITE (1918 – 1979)
This, My Brother, 1942, oil on canvas, 24" x 36", c. 1930s American Modernist molding, patinated gesso finish on wood, molding width: 2-7/8”, custom-made replica frame fabricated by Gill & Lagodich. "Like many artists of his generation, Chicagoan Charles White believed that art could be an influential force in the struggle to promote racial equality for African Americans, stating, “Paint is the only weapon I have with which to fight what I resent.” He addressed the quest for dignity and freedom in This, My Brother, which takes its title from a poem by John Rood about a rural miner who experiences a political awakening. In the painting, the man appears to break free from a mountain of rubble, alluding to White’s hope that social change could be realized." — Art Institute of Chicago, permanent collection label.
HALE ASPACIO WOODRUFF (1900 – 1980)
Twilight, c. 1926, oil on pressed paperboard, 28 x 32 inches, period frame, early 20th century American painting frame, Max Kuehne, attr. maker, reverse bolection profile, patinated silver-leafed carved wood with gessoed ripple sight edge. Molding width: 3-1/2 inches. "Hale Woodruff was a highly influential muralist and teacher, dedicated to promoting the works of African American artists. Trained at the John Herron Art Institute in Indianapolis and the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in the early 1920s, he chafed at his limited exposure to the latest painting trends. Twilight, one of his early paintings, is an extraordinarily vivid landscape that suggests his desire to define himself as a modernist. A scene of a small grove of trees backlit by an intense sunset, the painting exuberantly evokes the brilliant color of the Fauves. The artist employed assured, fluid brushstrokes to apply bold streaks of pigment, drawing attention to the paint’s tactile qualities. Works such as Twilight inspired the noted Harlem Renaissance author Alain Locke to praise the young artist: “Mr. Woodruff paints landscapes of originality,” wrote Locke, with a “warm beauty” of color." —Art Institute of Chicago, Through prior bequest of Marguerita S. Ritman, 1993.125