Framing Emmy Lou Packard

We recently framed this extraordinary large block print by noted California artist Emmy Lou Packard (1914-1998). Measuring 24″ x 18″, it’s an image of an artichoke harvester. I loved the pattern in the background and decided to carry it out in the frame, which is a simple but substantial 3-1/2″ cove molding made in walnut to harmonize with the warm browns in the print and complement the lovely sage green background.

Packard came by her interest in farm workers honestly: her father was a renowned agronomist who started a farming cooperative in the Imperial Valley. Hired as a consultant by the government of Mexico in the ’20’s, he moved his family to that country, where 13 year-old Emmy Lou became friends with Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera. (See the Rivera drawing we framed and which I wrote about a couple of posts back.) In later years, after the death of her husband, she served them as a studio assistant. In 1940 she helped Rivera on a his massive mural project at the Golden Gate International Exposition on Treasure Island in San Francisco Bay. The undated print is believed to be from that decade. A graduate of UC Berkeley, Packard designed abstract bas reliefs for important buildings on campus in the 1960’s.

The corner detail below shows the carving. The carving in the frame felt natural to do, in part because it is simply carrying into the frame the same carving technique used on the block for the print.

Carved walnut frame on block print by Emmy Lou Packard

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