Frisian Chip Carved Frame with Folk Art Pen & Ink/ Watercolor

heart folk art painting-3-1957 x 2497-jpg.JPG

This very large frame is from the northern province of Friesland in The Netherlands and was chip carved circa 1900. This type of carving was done in the wintertime, when little fishing or farming was done. The variety of geometric patterns and the skill with which it is carved is extraordinary. The art of chip carving went hand in hand with the art of Hindeloopen, a style of Dutch floral folk painting (and also the name of a village in Friesland).

Both the carving and the painting were adopted by the neighboring Germans, and those who emigrated to America brought the decorating styles with them. They are called “Pennsylvania Dutch,” for their folk art and because they spoke only “Deutsch” (German) as their native tongue.

This pen and ink and watercolor painting is so reminiscent of Pennsylvania Dutch works. The stylized motifs of tulips, trumpet vines and birds surround the boy and girl with their nosegays and fancy clothes. There’s a caged bird between them and a large heart beneath. The painting is signed lower right by a man named Don Tesla (or something similar…we’ve not been able to identify this artist). It bears a real similarity, whether or not intentional, to painted items by folk artist Peter Ompir (1908-1979).

We’re unsure if the painting is original to the frame, as there is evidence of a prior backing that was removed at some point in the past. The present backing is an old panel of wood and because it is causing foxing on the painting, we would strongly recommend that it be backed with archival, acid free materials (this is inexpensive to do and will prolong the life of the painting.) We of course have left it in its original “as found” state. The frame measures approximately 16 inches by 21 inches, with the rabbeted opening measuring 12 by 17, and there is an old screw eye on the back for hanging. The glass is intact and unscratched.

The frame is in wonderful condition, with no damage whatsoever and just slight separating of the upper and lower left corners. The painting, as we mentioned above, has some foxing but despite that, it is lovely.

This is a wonderful one of a kind piece of folk art for the discerning collector.
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PYH 3815