Reverse painted frame - is it art deco? : LUSENET : Art Deco Society of Washington : One Thread

We have several photo frames we are told are art deco. This is a new term to us. They are both approx. 8 x 10, have a tin or steel frame with details, and the glass is reverse painted black about 1 inch all around the frame area. The back side is velvet. It is old, that is for sure, but we are trying to date it. Does it sound art deco? Any place to find info on this type of frame would be helpful.

Thank you.


-- John Evers (, September 30, 2002


Hi John These sound like they're from the right period. I have a number of these frames. Often the black borders had mirrored designs of concentric squares or geometric patterns. As in most items of the period, the jazzier designs are generally earlier, probably from the late 192O's. The 193O's designs I have are usually simpler, and come in paler colors-grays, or ivory--often with asymmetrical or streamlined motifs indicative of the latter half of the decade. But not always. Just this weekend I saw an example in blue and clear mirror glass, with wheelcut and enameled border designs that had an Eastlake or maybe Anglo-Japonesque flavor. This must have been manufactured after the 193O's interest in Victorian design had trickled down-market, but it was unmarked so I have no idea where it came from. All I can say is that the piece would have made a perfect transition between a Victorian cabinet photograph and the modern world of streamlined chrome and blue mirrors in which it was meant to be displayed. Or, at any rate, that's what its designer must have intended. In reality, despite its quality workmanship, the thing with its weird combination of Moderne materials and Victorian design had a freaky time-warp quality, kind of like Ann Baxter's hairdo in "The Ten Commandments." Regards, Magnaverde.

-- Bart Swindall (Bartswindall, September 30, 2002.

I feel the same way as you do John. I mean it sounds really nice to know that I'm not in this situation alone. Maybe we could hook up sometime a talk more about this. My number is (217)239-4893 Hey call me. I would really like to talk to you more.

Robin Dillion (

-- Robin Victoria Dillion (, October 21, 2003.

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