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Exhibition features magnificent carved frames from the reigns of four French kings
Featuring more than forty frames and framed paintings, Louis Style offers visitors the rare opportunity to consider in depth the types and function of this art form.

LOS ANGELES, CA.- Louis Style: French Frames, 1610-1792 celebrates the dramatic stylistic transformation and technical skill of French frame making in the 17th and 18th centuries. Drawn from the J. Paul Getty Museum’s collection of antique frames, this exhibition presents an array of French design in wall furniture under four kings -- from the simple moldings and Italian-inspired ornaments in the time of Louis XIII (1610-1643), to the opulent carved and gilded masterpieces in the age of Louis XIV (1643-1715), to the sculptural forms and rich finishes of the transitional period of the Régence (1715-1723) and Louis XV (1723-1774), and concluding with the restrained treatments preferred during the reign of Louis XVI (1774-1792).

On view September 15, 2015 – January 3, 2016, Louis Style: French Frames, 1610-1792 is the first exhibition devoted to frames at the Getty Museum.

Featuring more than forty frames and framed paintings, Louis Style offers visitors the rare opportunity to consider in depth the types and function of this art form. The installation provides a rich compendium of French design and craftsmanship, along with practical tools, such as the vocabulary of ornament needed to identify the period of a frame, as well as insight into the construction and gilding techniques specific to frames made in France. By addressing the important relationship between a painting and its frame (which sometimes date from different periods and regions), visitors to the exhibition will also gain an awareness of the significance and use of frames in museums.

During the early 1600s through the 1700s, a golden age for frame-making in Paris, the functional surrounds for paintings became expressions of artistry, innovation, taste, and wealth. The primary stylistic trendsetters were the kings of France, whose desire for increasingly opulent forms of display spurred the creative efforts of brilliant designers and craftsmen to magnificent expressions of their personal styles. French frames of this period are distinguished by the use of oak and gold leaf as materials, and techniques of water gilding, elaborate carved ornamentation and varied finishes.

Over the course of several decades, the Museum has assembled a substantial group of period frames to enhance and appropriately display its paintings collection, resulting in a rich and varied assemblage of moldings. Enduring visitor interest in frames and framing led to the publication of D. Gene Karraker’s Looking at European Frames: A Guide to Terms, Styles and Techniques (J. Paul Getty Museum, 2009), illustrated exclusively by works in the collection. The celebration of the 300th anniversary of the death of Louis XIV this year, marked by two major loan exhibitions at the Getty Center, provides the opportunity to present one of the largest and most beautiful areas of the frame collection.

Louis Style: French Frames, 1610-1792 was organized by Senior Curator of Paintings and Department Head, Davide Gasparotto, Curator of Paintings, Anne Woollett, and Associate Conservator of Frames, Gene Karraker.

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