Re-framing Ray Strong

It felt good to free this one from the cheap ‘sixties linen liner and frame. It’s a terrific small (5-3/4″ x 11-3/4″) oil painting by the important and influential California landscape painter Ray Strong (1905-2006).

Ray Strong painting before re-framing

The land forms provided plenty of inspiration for the form of the 2-1/2″ wide walnut frame. The profile slopes up to a slight cove terminating with the raised outer flat, which has carved corners echoing the angularity of the landscape. The wood is oiled and waxed. The chamfered liner, leafed in 18 kt gold, is also carved.

Strong was a student, friend and collaborator of Maynard Dixon‘s, with whom he shared an interest in the Golden Gate Bridge: Dixon’s role in that monumental project includes coming up with the orange color for the structure, while Strong’s 1934 “Golden Gate Bridge,” depicting the bridge under construction, was chosen by President Roosevelt to hang in the White House. Strong and Dixon worked on several mural projects through the WPA. Strong maintained an understanding of the architectural role of paintings—an understanding that naturally lends itself to harmonious framing.

Scroll down to read about a Ray Strong mural we also framed recently.

Framing a Ray Strong mural

The canvas glued to the wall, original damaged trim removed

As it happened, shortly before the piece above came in I was approached by the owners of a 1940’s home here in Berkeley that boasted a Ray Strong mural over the fireplace—evidence of how recently folks still understood the architectural role of paintings, and also that they still valued them highly enough to give them permanent place. Strong was a friend of the man who built the house. The painting is on canvas, but was thoroughly glued to the plaster wall above the fireplace. The wall itself provided most of the framing, and the owners wisely painted it a darker color. The frame itself, designed to go with the minimalist cabinetry flanking the fireplace, is a plain mortise-and-tenon No. 1000—2-1/4″ in stained Honduran Mahogany.

Learn more about Ray Strong…

Go here for a video on the artist…

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3 thoughts on “Re-framing Ray Strong

  1. I’m just curious about the inspiration for the carvings on the outer edge of the frame. You mentioned that they echo the landscape but I’m not sure I see that. Really doesn’t matter because bottom line, if the client is happy it’s a success!

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