Millard Sheets (1907-1989), “Boats of Novo”

1974. Watercolor, 22″ x 30″. Framed in No. 143 “Hudson” (modified) — 3-1/4″ in quartersawn oak (Medieval Oak stain).

The bold and colorful California watercolor has all the presence of an oil painting, warranting our framing it close (an 8-ply gasket mat and lined rabbet, along with Museum Glass, keep it archival). The spirit of the painting demanded a simple profile. Our No. 143 “Hudson”, a wide flat with a cove up to a cushion back edge, was the right shape but too subtle for this big piece, so we deepend the cove a little and widened the back edge. The strong form of the boats, the focal point and subject of the painting dictated the form of the frame. I also like how this profile works with the soft trees and hills. Flattened form suits both the shallow perspective and artist’s approach which is less illusionistic than it is a decorative treatment of the paper as a flat surface. Gilt oak liner adds a line of definition, acknowledges the bright sunlight, and highlights the piece.

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