Problem Solved.

In our studio on West 7th Street, we have 7,268 frame samples. It is the most in the southwest U.S., and the 3rd largest selection in the country. Amazing! I know…right? And, we accomplish this in a rather modestly-sized showroom. From floor to ceiling. Designs and finishes from many places on Earth: heavy, interesting byzantine designs from eastern Europe; middle-eastern designs from morocco; tribal patterns from Africa; historic Italian, French, German, English, and Spanish profiles worthy of kingly portraits and vast landscapes. And then…the American frames: White, Whistler, and others; Nouveau, Deco, Craftsman, Mid-century, Pop, Modern, tech. We have glitter frames and mirrored frames. Chunky rock frames and barnwood frames. It truly represents “jewelry for the walls”. Anyway, one day a few months ago, a regular client came in, asking if we could help unload a large painting from her suburban. It was unframed, old, a bit tattered, and almost too large for her vehicle. We managed to squeeze it out. Once inside and having set the painting on a large easel, the client and I stared at it in silence. It was a valuable painting, painted in the early 20th century by a noted artist…long dead. After that long silence, I simply said, “Umm, tell me about this painting.” She did. It had hung in her mother-in-laws home for 65 years; on the same wall; never having been moved. Her mother-in-law had recently passed away, and my clients husband was an only child. He cherished this painting. And, while it was lovely, my client did not care for it. Her husband had incredibly fond memories of many happy times spent under its gaze in the room where it hung. Since my client and her husband were already older and had established themselves very comfortably in their own homes during their lives, and raised children, they did not want, or need any of the remarkably grand possessions of the deceased mother. So, the husband arranged for an estate firm to take control and liquidate all of the personal property of his mother. Of course, he was eager to save the huge number of family photos that his parents had collected over the years. One day, he arrived home from work, having stopped by his mothers house to meet with the estate firm. He was very excited; almost giddy. He was never a giddy man. But, he was today. And why was he so jovial? She very quickly discovered why. He presented her with “the” painting. Over the many years of their marriage, in and out of his mothers house for holidays, special occasions, dinners, parties, etc., he had often mentioned to his wife how much he loved that painting….year after year, on the way home, the same comment: “I remember so many great times sitting in that room under that painting.” And, of course, she agreed, strongly. He didn’t exclaim over things much; it wasn’t his personality. So, of course if she, over the years, had gone a bit overboard herself about the extraordinary qualities of “the” painting, she could be excused for just wanting to support the only thing in her memory that ever seemed to elicit this lovely response from her husband. So, she encouraged his adoration. So what. Well, now here it was. A painting that practically everyone she knew would love to have. And now, after having cooed with him over it for 45 years of marriage, she couldn’t really say that she didn’t want it. She was stuck. Oh, AND, he insisted that it be hung in their foyer to be seen every time someone entered the house, or went up or down the stairs. A place of honor. So, after having explained all of this to me, she said, “you have got to make me love this painting!” She then left. It took me three weeks. Making selections. Then, changing my mind. Finally, I made a choice. The frame I chose was really over the top. Huge. Not traditional. Not contemporary. But a very visually demanding frame. It had a pattern, and undulation in it that somehow complemented the movement in the painted surface. Without ruining any inherent qualities of this very fine painting, this frame gave it a sort of modern appeal. I called her to come look at it and approve before we made the frame. She said she trusted me, and to do it. We did it. I called her when it was finished. She made an appointment to arrive the next day. It was now so large that we had to deliver and install it. But, she wanted to see it first. The afternoon she arrived was a bright and clear day. I opened all of the blinds in the front showroom, knowing that her foyer was light-filled. She walked in the door, stopped suddenly. Eyes wide-opened, she stared for a long time. Then she actually began to tear a bit, and I thought she might cry. She wiped the corner of her eyes and exclaimed, “Oh my god….I Love it!” She beamed with excitement and apologized for her emotion. She and her husband had just had a huge quarrel the night before, had spoken little at breakfast because of the tension. But she knew now that when he came home from work, his favorite painting from childhood would be hanging exactly where he wanted it. She would meet him at the door with a glass of wine. They would ‘both’, ‘truthfully’ squeal with joy, and their terrible argument would be smothered by the presence of this object he loved so much. And, that she now, equally, loved too.

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