September 03, 2015

J. Paul Getty Museum Presents Louis Style: French Frames, 1610-1792

Exhibition features magnificent carved and gilded frames from the reigns of four French kings: Louis XIII, Louis XIV, Louis XV, and Louis XVI

At the J. Paul Getty Museum, Getty Center
September 15, 2015 – January 3, 2016
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Amy Hood
Getty Communications
(310) 440-6427
Captions: (left) Portrait of a Young Man in Military Costume, 1650. Bartholomeus van der Helst (Dutch, 1613-1670). Oil on canvas. 70.PA.12. Louis XIII frame. Carved, gessoed and gilded oak: 36 x 30 ½ in. (right) Louis XIV frame. Carved, gessoed and gilded oak: 17 ¾ x 16 ½ in.

LOS ANGELES – Louis Style: French Frames, 1610-1792 celebrates the dramatic stylistic transformation and technical skill of French frame making in the 17th and 18th centuries. Drawn from the J. Paul Getty Museum’s collection of antique frames, this exhibition presents an array of French design in wall furniture under four kings -- from the simple moldings and Italian-inspired ornaments in the time of Louis XIII (1610-1643), to the opulent carved and gilded masterpieces in the age of Louis XIV (1643-1715), to the sculptural forms and rich finishes of the transitional period of the Régence (1715-1723) and Louis XV (1723-1774), and concluding with the restrained treatments preferred during the reign of Louis XVI (1774-1792).

On view September 15, 2015 – January 3, 2016, Louis Style: French Frames, 1610-1792 will be the first exhibition devoted to frames at the Getty Museum.

Featuring more than forty frames and framed paintings, Louis Style offers visitors the rare opportunity to consider in depth the types and function of this art form. The installation provides a rich compendium of French design and craftsmanship, along with practical tools, such as the vocabulary of ornament needed to identify the period of a frame, as well as insight into the construction and gilding techniques specific to frames made in France. By addressing the important relationship between a painting and its frame (which sometimes date from different periods and regions), visitors to the exhibition will also gain an awareness of the significance and use of frames in museums.

(left) Louis XV frame. Jean Chérin (French, 1733/34 - 1785). Carved, gessoed and gilded oak; 42 7/8 x 33 7/8 in. (right) Mars and Venus, an Allegory of Peace, 1770. Louis-Jean-François Lagrenée (French 1725-1805). Oil on canvas. 97.PA.65. Louis XVI frame. Carved, gessoed and gilded oak.: 33 ½ x 29 ¼ in. All J. Paul Getty Museum.

During the early 1600s through the 1700s, a golden age for frame-making in Paris, the functional surrounds for paintings became expressions of artistry, innovation, taste, and wealth. The primary stylistic trendsetters were the kings of France, whose desire for increasingly opulent forms of display spurred the creative efforts of brilliant designers and craftsmen to magnificent expressions of their personal styles. French frames of this period are distinguished by the use of oak and gold leaf as materials, and techniques of water gilding, elaborate carved ornamentation and varied finishes.

Over the course of several decades, the Museum has assembled a substantial group of period frames to enhance and appropriately display its paintings collection, resulting in a rich and varied assemblage of moldings. Enduring visitor interest in frames and framing led to the publication of D. Gene Karraker’s Looking at European Frames: A Guide to Terms, Styles and Techniques (J. Paul Getty Museum, 2009), illustrated exclusively by works in the collection. The celebration of the 300th anniversary of the death of Louis XIV this year, marked by two major loan exhibitions at the Getty Center, provides the opportunity to present one of the largest and most beautiful areas of the frame collection.

Louis Style: French Frames, 1610-1792 was organized by Senior Curator of Paintings and Department Head, Davide Gasparotto, Curator of Paintings, Anne Woollett, and Associate Conservator of Frames, Gene Karraker.

Related Events

Happy Marriages: Paintings and their Frames in Curatorial and Conservation Practice

Curator Davide Gasparotto and conservator Gene Karraker, both of the J. Paul Getty Museum, address the role that frames play in presenting paintings in a museum. They discuss the use of centuries-old techniques to restore frames, how they select frames, and the aesthetic considerations involved in re-framing works in the collection.

Saturday, September 19, 3:00 p.m.
Getty Center: Museum Lecture Hall
Get tickets here

Curator and Conservator Gallery Tours:

Davide Gasparotto, senior curator of paintings, and Gene Karraker, associate conservator of frames, the J. Paul Getty Museum, lead a gallery tour of the exhibition. Meet under the stairs in the Entrance Hall.

Wednesday, September 16, 10:30 a.m.
Getty Center: Museum galleries

Paintings curator Anne Woollett and conservator Gene Karraker lead a gallery tour of the exhibition. Meet under the stairs in the Entrance Hall.

Wednesday, October 28, 10:30 a.m.
Getty Center: Museum galleries


Patrice Marandel, Chief Curator, Department of European Art, Los Angeles County Museum of Art Wednesday, December 9, 2015 7:00 pm

Market Scene in an Imaginary Oriental Port, about 1764. Jean-Baptiste Pillement (French, 1728 - 1808). Oil on canvas. 2003.20. Louis XV frame: 26 7/8 x 36 1/4 x 3 in. The J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles.

Other exhibitions that commemorate the 300th anniversary of the death of Louis XIV, France’s magnificent Sun King:

A Kingdom of Images: French Prints in the Age of Louis XIV, 1660-1715
Through September 6, 2015

Organized by the Getty Research Institute (GRI) in special collaboration with the Bibliothèque nationale de France, this exhibition explores the rich variety of prints that came to define French power and prestige in the era of Louis XIV—from grand royal portraits to satiric views of everyday life, and from small-scale fashion prints decorated with actual fabrics to monumental panoramas of Versailles and the Louvre. During the Sun King’s long reign, printmakers and publishers effectively deployed prints to promote French culture, art, and style. It was during this time that Paris became the center of the printmaking world, a position it would maintain for 200 years. A Kingdom of Images features nearly 100 works from the GRI’s Special Collections and the Bibliothèque nationale de France. This exhibition is curated by Louis Marchesano, curator of prints at the GRI, Christina Aube, curatorial assistant at the GRI, Peter Fuhring of the Fondation Custodia in Paris, and Vanessa Selbach and Rémi Mathis, curators of prints at the Bibliothèque nationale de France.

Louis XIV at the Getty
Through July 31, 2016

The Getty Museum’s collection of decorative arts is particularly strong in works associated with the reign of Louis XIV. From June 9, 2015 to July 31, 2016 a special installation in the Museum’s South Pavilion will focus attention on a variety of extraordinary pieces in the Getty’s collection made during Louis’ lifetime when France became the leading producer of the luxury arts in Europe. The installation includes an elaborate suite of tapestries made for one of Louis XIV’s sons, a monumental Cabinet-on-Stand attributed to the royal cabinetmaker André-Charles Boulle, and a small ivory table that is one of the few surviving objects known to have been owned by the king. In addition to these decorative arts, an important Florentine bronze, formerly in the personal collection of the king, and a selection of richly illuminated manuscript leaves depicting designs for emblems celebrating the triumphs and virtues of the French monarchy under the Sun King will be displayed. The special installation is curated by Anne-Lise Desmas, head of the department of sculpture and decorative arts at the Getty Museum, and Jeffrey Weaver, associate curator of sculpture and decorative arts.

Woven Gold: Tapestries of Louis XIV
December 15, 2015–May 1, 2016

Colorful and glittering tapestries, handwoven after designs by the most renowned artists, were the ultimate expression of status, power, taste, and wealth. As patron, heir, and collector, Louis XIV (reigned 1643–1715), vastly augmented the prestigious French royal collection of tapestries. Displayed within his palaces while in residence and in outdoor courtyards on feast days, these monumental hangings embodied and proclaimed his magnificence. With rare loans from the French state, this major international loan exhibition, exclusive to the Getty, presents a selection of grand tapestries that evoke the brilliance of the Sun King’s court.
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The J. Paul Getty Trust is an international cultural and philanthropic institution devoted to the visual arts that includes the J. Paul Getty Museum, the Getty Research Institute, the Getty Conservation Institute, and the Getty Foundation. The J. Paul Getty Trust and Getty programs serve a varied audience from two locations: the Getty Center in Los Angeles and the Getty Villa in Pacific Palisades.

The J. Paul Getty Museum collects Greek and Roman antiquities, European paintings, drawings, manuscripts, sculpture and decorative arts to 1900, as well as photographs from around the world to the present day. The Museum’s mission is to display and interpret its collections, and present important loan exhibitions and publications for the enjoyment and education of visitors locally and internationally. This is supported by an active program of research, conservation, and public programs that seek to deepen our knowledge of and connection to works of art.

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