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Framing Profile: Valley of the Hondo, New Mexico, 1930
The frames for Valley of the Hondo, New Mexico and Mountain Forms, New Mexico depart from the flat, square design seen on most of the artist’s works from the 1910s and 1920s. Instead, the profiles are comprised of an angular, flat section with astragals on the outer and inner edges; perhaps the mountains themselves inspired this slanting look. The frame is painted with ivory enamel, and the astragals are polished to create a glossy surface. The artist augmented the moldings by painting the angular inner section. As scholar Ruth Fine noted, “On several works from New Mexico there are original white frames that were modified either with blue-green or red-brown paint, roughly applied between two narrow, raised bands of the molding.” For Valley of the Hondo, the flat area was painted gray-blue, reflecting the tones used to create the menacing sky, distant mountains, and rocky terrain. The treatment is similar for Mountain Forms, where the frame was painted the characteristic ivory and the astragals given a glossy sheen. Marin then covered the angular, flat section with a reddish-brown that relates to the palette of the watercolor; on the edges of this part, he laid down a gray-blue that performs a similar function.
framing, technique, watercolor