With the Robert Tetlow exhibit on display, I’m continuing my series of posts on the theme of framing watercolors with this charming 12″ x 18″ piece by D’Arcy Gaw (1868-1944), called “Carmel Cottage.” The painting is framed close in a 2-1/2″ quartersawn white oak profile with Medieval Oak stain and a gilt slip. The frame is flat and simple, with just one element: the raised, carved element designed to echo the chimney, its carved texture resonating also with the brushwork.
At one time serving as president of the California Guild of Arts and Crafts, Gaw seems to have been fully devoted to the Arts and Crafts Movement’s ideal of the unity of the arts. She was not only a painter, but an interior designer and metalsmith as well.
In September 1909 D’Arcy Gaw opened a studio on Sutter Street in San Francisco in partnership with the coppersmith Dirk van Erp. According to Wikipedia, while the studio bore Van Erp’s name, “it was Gaw that was both designer and metalworker, and it was her copper and mica lamp designs what made the Van Erp Studios famous.” Perhaps feeling she was getting inadequate credit had something to do with the partnership being dissolved just two years later. Nonetheless, The San Francisco Call praised the studio as “one of the most-interesting studios” in the City “where, in conjunction, they conduct two classes a week in metal work and design. The interior of the attractive place was designed and executed by Miss Gaw. The harmonious tones of draperies and hangings, with the long, low shelves, settees and mission furniture, tend to make it bright and attractive along lines almost severe in their simplicity. Interior decorating and metal fixtures are really Miss Gaw’s life work.”
I’d love to know D’Arcy Gaw’s ideas on framing, but those words give me hope that she would approve of this framing of her painting, and find it unifying and harmonious—a simple home for a painting of a simple home.
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