We just finished framing this exceptional and exemplary work by Alexander Max Koester, a leading Impressionist painter of the Munich school around the turn of the last century. “Ducks In a Pond,” (no date), oil on canvas, 31″ x 52″ is a beautiful example of his favorite subject. And I like that Koester rejected the colder view of nature that Impressionism generally took — a view, a frame on the world, relatively indifferent to the significance of subject matter, instead taking primarily a scientific, empirical approach to painting as pure observation of light translated to paint on canvas. Koester chose to maintain the frame of natural affection for the land and its creatures. The biography on AskArt says, “whereas his contemporaries in France, for example, might have reduced the birds to no more than dabs of paint, Koester…always gave them an endearing character and presence of their own.” A frame should always reflect the care and natural affection that inspire paintings—at least those uncorrupted by purely commercial motives and that remain true to the genuine mission of art—and are their whole reason for being.
Framed by his love of nature, Koester’s “Ducks In a Pond” deserved a natural wood frame, alive to the beauty of the birds and their watery habitat—something better than the indifferent production gold frame it was in (at right). We used a carved compound scoop, No. 301 CV + Cap 811 CV in walnut at 3-1/2″ wide plus a 1″ wide carved walnut liner. The scoop form leading in to the painting enhances not only the perspective in the painting, but creates the effect of the banks of the pond (extending the visible banks) framing the life of the water birds. It also echoes the waves in the water, as does the carving, and works in complement to the fat outer bead and cushion form of the liner, which is oil-gilded in 18 karat pale gold leaf.
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