Early works by American artists were mainly displayed in English and European frames in the 17th and 18th centuries, although there were also modest, black frames by American cabinetmakers in the 1730’s and 1740’s. The black painted frame is known as the first
contribution to the American picture framing.
In 1776, the Louis the XVI and other French variations prevailed. These elegant but forms remained popular throughout the 19th century. Another popular frame in America was the frame fashioned during Napoleon Bonaparte’s reign (1804-1815), which was a severe scoop with a plaster-cast corner ornament. From 1850, the heavily plaster-cast decorations became the preference by many American painters, such as Frederic Church (1826-1900). Despite the fondness for such heavily ornamented designs, it was not rare to find beautiful, plain gold frames, such as on portraits associated with the painter Thomas Sully around 1840. By the end of the 19th and early 20th century, the popularity of traditional plastered ornamented frames waned, and James McNeil Whistler (1834-1903) designed moldings on which he painted subtle Orientalisms. Thomas Eakins (1844-1916) also chose to engrave designs on some of
his frames, and Maurice Prendergast (1859-1924) was inspired by 16thcentury Italian moldings, on which he gessoed, engraved, and painted interpretations of historical patterns. This intricate relationship between frame and art was followed by the tendency to reduce the frame to simple
strips or narrow bands for the contemporary abstract art.
The following is a list of periods, that although are important styles, are not relevant to present samples. If there is an interest on these periods, please contact the research group [firstname.lastname@example.org]
Early Colonial Styles, 1700-1760, Rococo Style, 1750-1776, Louis XVI Style, 1776-1800, American Limner Style, 1750-1850, Carlo Maratta Style, 1820, The Victorian Era, 1850-1900, Eastlake Style, 1876-1900, Civil War Style, 1860-1900, Rural Designs, 1819-1830 American Empire Style, 1825-1850