Framing Jose Gutierrez Solana

We framed this historical European painting for the Hispanic Society of America, just in time for it to be included in a significant show, “Endless Enigma: Eight Centuries of Fantastic Art,” that just opened last night at the David Zwirner Gallery in New York. The painting of carnival street musicians is by José Gutiérrez Solana (Spain, 1886-1945) and dates from about 1906. The 16″ x 13″ board has rounded corners, so the Society requested a rounded corner frame, but otherwise plain. They requested walnut, for its tight and mild grain, stained black to sustain the painting’s background. (Solana was influenced by Goya’s so-called Black Paintings.) Concerned that the painting, dark as it is, would meld visually with a black frame and the whole package might get lost in most settings, we decided to use a narrow gilt slip inside the frame to contain the image, and provide definition and emphasis.

José Gutiérrez Solana (Madrid, 1886-1945), “Murga (Máscaras Tocando) – Carnival Street Musicians (Masked Figures Playing Music),” ca. 1906. Oil on canvas on board, 16-1/8″ x 13″. Click to view large.

The basic frame was as simple as can be—flat with ordinary mitered corners (basically our No. 1). Then to make the rounded corners, I used a diagonal piece of wood, about 1/4″ thick on the face at each corner. Each corner piece was made to a width to span across the inside corner. Then I simply filed it to the desired radius.

Solana came from a wealthy family, but was a great lover of the common life of the streets, marketplaces, and festivals—as seen in this haunting image of the ancient popular celebration of carnival.

The show, “Endless Enigma: Eight Centuries of Fantastic Art,” at David Zwirner Gallery, 537 West 20th Street in Manhattan, runs through October 27.

If you’re familiar with the blog, you may recall my post a year ago on “Framing Ignacio Zuloaga (in the Prado)”. That piece was also for the Hispanic Society, for their big touring show, “Treasures from the Hispanic Society of America: Visions of the Hispanic World” which opened at The Prado and is at Museo del Palacio de Bellas Artes in Mexico City for another week before heading to the Albuquerque Museum, where it opens Nov. 10 and runs through March 2019.

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