Style Court

Nine Years of Textiles, Art History, Gardens, and a Little Mental Traveling with Courtney Barnes


Iron Man

[Photo by Peter Frank Edwards for Charleston Magazine]

The recent passing of master blacksmith Philip Simmons has received good coverage in Charleston and I don't want the month to end without sharing some of the interesting links. If you are not familiar with his work, you might enjoy exploring these:

Charleston Magazine's tribute by Stephanie Hunt

Philip Simmons Foundation

Remembering a Master on the Drayton Hall blog

The Post and Courier coverage

Daily Pairing

Anthropologie's latest Bertram chair sports menswear stripes from British fashion designer, Paul Smith. To accompany it, here is a previously posted link: the V & A video with Sir Paul Smith exploring the museum's collection, including a Cecil Beaton chair. (Click here if you have trouble with the first link.)



After looking at Tim Hussey's photographs of Jill Hooper's studio with all of its handsome, well-worn art supplies, I started daydreaming about antique and vintage tools that could be used today, either as originally intended or in an entirely new way.

Paintboxes came to mind first. Old Reeves paintboxes ranging from vintage metal examples to one of the company's distinguished 18th-century boxes with original watercolors given by General George Washington to Nelly Custis* may turn up at Christies or on eBay. The detail images at the top show an eBay find, and pictured third is Turner's 19th-century box from the Tate archives. On its site, Winsor & Newton has other examples along with paint history.

*Christies auction highlight reported in Maine Antique Digest, March 2004.

Summer Study

Recently I received some nice emails from readers who are planning trips to Charleston, South Carolina and Savannah, Georgia and hope to do a bit of gallery hopping. If you also plan to visit in person, or simply want to learn something new, Ann Long Fine Art offers a helpful online archive of in-depth articles.

Gallery artists such as Jill Hooper have been the subject of numerous features in both art periodicals and general lifestyle mags. Diving into the articles is a great way to better understand why this young painter is so passionate about classical old-school realism, and to appreciate her years of intensive training in Italy. For Charleston Magazine, September 2008, Stephanie Hunt did an interesting piece about Hooper's laborious process which includes mixing her own inks as Rembrandt and Velazquez did. (In the previous post I neglected to mention that Hooper is is the youngest living artist ever to be represented in the Gibbes' collection.)

And, yes, some of the publications geared toward collectors offer price guides for various artists' work.

Here's Tara Guerard at home, photographed by Roo Way for Charleston Magazine, March 2008; Hooper's work hangs in the background. Visit interior designer Angie Hranowsky's site for more views of the house.

Image at top: Jill Hooper working. Below are vignettes in her studio. All photographed by Tim Hussey for Charleston Magazine, September 2008.


Wall of the Day: Jill Hooper

Tim Hussey photographed artist Jill Hooper in her home for Charleston Magazine, September 2008. Hooper is among the younger classically trained realist painters represented by Ann Long Fine Art, and her work is included in the preview for the upcoming Young Collectors' Show. You can also see Hooper's work in the permanent collection of the Gibbes Museum of Art. Private collectors who are fans include Charleston tastemaker Tara Guerard.

Reminder: Young Collectors' Sale

The annual Young Collectors' Sale at Ann Long Fine Art takes place Friday, July 10th in Charleston, SC. All works will be priced between $300 and $3,000.

Both paintings shown here are by Jura Bedic. From the top, Bloody Mary, oil on panel, 9¾" x 9¾", followed by Apricote, oil on panel, 6" x 10". Contact the gallery for details.

BTW: I noticed that Mario Robinson's work will be featured in the show. Robinson is very skilled in working with pastels, and Amelia Handegan appreciates his style.

Images © 2009 Ann Long Fine Art


Enjoy Your Weekend

One of my goals for the weekend is to finish reading some exhibition catalogs from The Morris Museum of Art, in particular the essays that accompanied the Will Henry Stevens show. Curator Estill Curtis Pennington says that Stevens' works on paper, such as the abstract 1938 pastel above, suggest he was much more than a "mildly accomplished artist with some mystical relationship to nature," as certain critics may have thought in the past. Pennington observes that Stevens was "inspired to subtle experimentation with a rather delicate, indeed somewhat illusive medium." If you find yourself in or around Augusta, Georgia this summer, be sure to explore The Morris' mid-century holdings. Below, Stevens is shown in his Newcomb College studio, 1941.

And of course I also have more art to hang. For an unframed Molinelli print that I purchased from Coleen and Co., I was inspired by the simple masculine frames on Mallory Mathison's wall. I took my cues from the wooden beams in the picture and juxtaposed very dark brown with the candy-pink, but a gilt frame would have been another striking option. The second piece is a modest vintage store find that I reinvented with a burnished gold frame.

I hope this weekend you find something interesting in your corner of the world, too.

Images one and two are from The Morris' publication, Will Henry Stevens: An Eye Transformed, A Hand Transforming (July 15–December 31, 1993).

BTW: Some of the reading I've already done has led me to artist Josephine Marien Crawford, a Southerner who studied cubism with André Lhote in Paris in the late 1920s. Click here to learn about a free related exhibition on view in NOLA through August 29. A book by North Carolinian Louise C. Hoffman accompanies the show. Crawford's work is also included in Women Artists in Louisiana, 1825–1965: A Place of Their Own, on view through September 13 at NOMA.


Find of the Day

In stock at the moment at Binders' Buckhead location are large sheets of luscious marbleized paper. Shot through the pretty sorbet shades is a rich grown-up gold. When I saw the huge roll, several DIY projects came to mind.

One was Nick Olsen's oft-blogged IKEA coffee table covered with similar glued-on marbleized paper, shown above in Paul Costello's photo for domino, November 2006. But on a smaller scale there was Charlotte Moss' idea to line old boxes with decorative papers, as told to Southern Accents here. Lining a child's chest of drawers or a medicine cabinet, or covering the exterior of a box are other possibilities that I'm sure you've already thought of.

The simplest option, though, would be to wrap summer birthday or shower presents with it. A cluster of marbled packages on a sideboard and swirled ice cream in clear glasses would equal instant decoration. Here's a favorite related past post with a great database suggested by Janet Blyberg. There is a detailed essay, too.

Ice cream courtesy Yuichi Sakuraba.

Not edible, but similar and fun: recycled crayons via Ellen Baker and Make and Takes.

On a more scholarly note, antiquarian dealer, The Veatchs Arts of the Book, offers rare titles on marbling and papermaking such as the 19th-century book, On Improvements in Marbling the Edges of Books and Paper, and James Sumner's The Mysterious Marbler.

Marbleized balloons via Zesmerelda.

And Even More Spade

Not every print, drawing or painting in the Spade apartment is framed with cream matting. When Eric Morin photographed the kitchen several years ago, butterflies surrounded by punchy spring-green mats were displayed in the kitchen.

To learn about Séguy butterflies and prints available through The New York Public Library archives see this related past post.

Image via NYPL Digital.


Buying Local (and a Little More Spade)

If it seems that I've been mentioning Emily Amy Gallery a lot lately, it is because the gallery's calendar currently features so many events of interest to beginning collectors. For example, the upcoming opening reception for the group show, Buy Local, is scheduled for Friday, July 10th from 7 to 10 p.m. On view will be works from emerging artists including Zuzka Vaclavik, Kristina Bailey, Holly Golson Bryan, Whitney Stansell, Meta Gary, and Will Kay. Shown at top is Vaclavik's watercolor, Delicious Rhythms. Stansell will be participating as a guest artist; learn more about her over at Timothy Tew.

Contact EAG to RSVP for the reception.

Haskell, aka Belle Decor, just jogged my memory about some older images I had on file. This is the Spade weekend house as seen on Oprah a few years ago. Sadly, I don't think I have the staircase that Haskell remembers from H & G, but it's still great to see the art here.

I do see Goodbye Picasso on the coffee table.

The Apartment

These cool blue porch ceilings look so inviting on a day like today. Do you recognize the Crescent Avenue apartment building in Atlanta? Our city has few remaining old structures like this, and I love any excuse to share a pretty painted porch ceiling.

This is the current home of The Literary Center, but in the 1920s author Margaret Mitchell lived here. Today the Center hosts and promotes very diverse contemporary writers including Alice Walker, Pat Conroy, Tom Wolfe, Jon Meacham, and Marilynne Robinson. Also offered are numerous writing workshops for adults and young students.

Additionally, the site serves as the midtown campus of the Atlanta History Center and it has recently been modified to offer visitors a more historically accurate experience. One change included moving a fence that previously blocked this side of the building. Next time you are in the neighborhood, stop by and explore the 21st century happenings.

For more information about upcoming events, click here or call 404.249.7015. Images courtesy Margaret Mitchell House.

Keeping it Simple

Kate and Andy Spade have a really terrific art collection. Nothing needs any extra embellishment, and in keeping with their personal style all of the works are framed in an understated way. I thought it would be interesting to zoom in on some of the pieces, to contrast with the approaches shown in the previous post. That said, as long as matting doesn't detract from the art, it's hard to say one way is better than another.

Click pictures to better see the details. All images cropped from Eric Morin photographs.

Just to further illustrate all the options out there, below are two exceptional modern pieces purposely framed by an Atlanta woman in a traditional style to mingle with her Continental antiques. A bit more embellishment has been added, but the framing is still very reserved and the art is not overshadowed.


Fillet v. Double Matting

The term "fillet," as it is used by framers, may not crop up in most people's casual conversations but everyone has probably seen quite a few of these decorative elements without thinking much about them. Their point, after all, is to draw the eye in and sharpen the focus on a work of art. Basically a fillet is a thin strip of molding commonly placed between the art and the matting, as shown above and below. It's like a second "inner frame."

Typically made of wood, a fillet may be gilded,

painted, or stained depending on the style of frame chosen.

Classically fillets are used with watercolors to bring a bit of weight to something delicate, or to literally add depth. But the decision to use one is rather subjective; some eyes prefer to rest on a cleaner, more minimal picture. In the example of Hollyhock's framed Regency-era needlework shown at the top, a decision was made to go all out. The diminutive piece is anchored with a gilt fillet, hand-painted matting, and a gilt frame.

Double matting, in contrast, is the layering of two mats commonly made with paper, linen, or silk. Some drawings, documents, paintings, and prints are triple matted.

Credits: image one via Hollyhock and 1stdibs; photo four was taken by Amanda Talley, and all others are mine. Painting in image two by Vicky Molinelli.