Welcome to the Chubby Chatterbox Newsletter, where I’ll be posting favorites from the Chubby Chatterbox archives. In addition, my complete thriller Return of the Mary Celeste will soon be serialized here for those who have asked for something beyond a regular post.

My novel is based on a true event, arguably the greatest maritime mystery of all time. In 1872 the crew and passengers of Boston brigantine Mary Celeste abandoned their seaworthy ship and its valuable cargo, vanishing in the middle of the Atlantic. Speculation over their fate has never abated. History records that after the Mary Celeste tragedy no one from that fateful voyage was ever seen again. History is about to be rewritten…

Return of the Mary Celeste

Prologue

Tragedy struck the brigantine Mary Celeste on the morning of November 25, 1872. The hourly log was later recovered from the deserted vessel; At 8 a.m. the last notation was made. By 9 a.m. no one remained aboard to chalk the next entry.

Something had terrified Captain Benjamin Briggs and his crew, prompting the seasoned skipper to make a decision certain to affect not only himself, his ship and crew, but his family as well—his wife and two year old daughter were aboard Mary Celeste. Much ink has been spilled in fanciful and scientific attempts to explain the calamity that engulfed this perfectly seaworthy ship, yet all that is known for certain is this: in a matter of minutes Captain Briggs became convinced that the only way to save their lives was by ordering everyone into a hastily launched lifeboat. By giving the order to abandon ship, he also launched the greatest of all maritime mysteries.

On December 5, 1872, a month after leaving New York Harbor, Mary Celeste was found drifting on a calm and empty sea. The ship was in fine condition, perfectly intact with valuable cargo safely stored in her hold, but the crew and passengers had vanished. None were ever seen again.

Until now….

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Framed

November 16, 2016
Durand-Ruel
Durand-Ruel

If record-breaking auction sales are any indication, Impressionist paintings are more popular than ever, yet we might never have heard of the Impressionists were it not for one individual, someone who wasn’t even an artist. His name was Paul Durand-Ruel, the son of a picture-seller who became Paris’ premier art dealer.

 

During the Franco-Prussian War (1870-71) Durand-Ruel left Paris and escaped to London where he met Monet, also in England to escape the war. When peace was achieved, Durand-Ruel returned to Paris with a new passion for Monet and other artists who would later be known as The Impressionists.

 

Durand-Ruel held numerous shows, but the French public considered these new paintings sloppy and unprofessional; no one was buying. Durand-Ruel had purchased hundreds of Impressionist paintings and was facing bankruptcy, but one day he was afforded an opportunity to buy a storehouse of antique Baroque frames, more suitable for works by Rubens and Van Dyke. Baroque is a French word derived from the Portuguese “barroco,” or Spanish “barrueco,” both meaning a rough or uneven pearl. In art, Baroque works are characterized by exaggerated motion to produce drama, tension, and exuberance. The style began around 1600 in Rome and Italy, and spread to most of Europe.

 

 

 

Monets being hung

 

 

 

 

Framed Renoir portrait

 

 

With little to lose, Durand-Ruel inserted the Impressionist paintings gathering dust in his gallery into the Baroque frames…and they began to sell, first in London and New York and eventually in Paris. To this day, museums frame Impressionist paintings in Baroque frames.

 

There are no rules to framing a painting but I have certain preferences, which I exercised while framing my “giveaway” painting. If you live like Donald Trump, you adore gaudy things; I’ve seen photos of Baroque-type frames in his penthouse, but I don’t expect the winner of my giveaway to be mega-rich so I looked for a frame with broader appeal.

 

A painting needs space to breathe and many people make the mistake, particularly with landscapes, of cramping the picture with a frame. The one I selected allows my painting to breathe, and the crimson liner reinforces the warm tones without pulling the eye away from the canvas. I picked a simple frame that, I believe, will complement most decor.  

 

 

 

Giveaway painting

 

 

Only three weeks remain until the conclusion of my holiday giveaway so hopefully you’ve signed up, details found (here). Remember, the winner must be a follower on my Blogger Follower widget, and so far only a handful have added their name to the widget so your chances of winning are excellent.

 

******************************

 

Note: Thanks to all of you who left comments on my last post. Yes, if found I would have had that veneer sterilized and placed back in my mouth because I’m a cheap bastard and a thousand bucks is a lot to spend on a new one. But you’ve convinced me to throw out our strainer and purchase a new one, even though I’m the only one to have used it in decades.

 

 

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Comments

20 Comments
So were people buying Impressionist paintings for the painting or the frame? But I guess it's like how a good cover can help a book sell.
By: PT Dilloway on November 16, 2016
You are as good at choosing frames as you are at so many other things. Interesting story about the Impressionists.
By: messymimi on November 16, 2016
I am with you- I think over the top gaudy frames detract from the art work it surrounds.
By: Kathe W. on November 16, 2016
Beautiful
By: Tabor on November 16, 2016
I think you've framed it perfectly. Smart to throw out the strainer.
By: Alex J. Cavanaugh on November 16, 2016
I love the Baroque style frames. I love frames and have ALOT of them (but for photos). I am sure that you recall chewing gum for my mom to repair a used frame that she purchased. It's so funny because EVERYBODY who participated remembers chewing the gum and she did a darn good job scupting the gum to look like the rest of the frame! I would love to be the owner of your painting, but I have no where to hang it so will let someone else have the chance to win it ! GOOD LUCK!
By: Linda Morris on November 16, 2016
As always a very interesting and informative post!
By: John Gibson on November 16, 2016
You FRAMED her! Beautifully.
By: Catalyst on November 16, 2016
Your "art history" course continues to be a wonderful gift. Truly appreciate seeing your work and learning from you as well. Just marvelously fascinating! Thanks.
By: Tom Cochrun on November 16, 2016
I like your choice of frame. I'm not into the outlandish or even garrish looking things that Trump likes...all gold and swirled wood...and carvings and little details. It's just too much, too busy. I think I prefer things much simpler.
By: Michael Offutt on November 16, 2016
That is the perfect frame for your painting. Interesting how the frames "sold" the impressionist paintings for Durand-Ruel. Kind of like curb appeal for a house.
By: Arkansas Patti on November 16, 2016
I guess art collectors are no different from other people -- they like change, but only when it seems familiar. I like your giveaway painting (and the frame) but I'm not entering b/c the last thing we need after having downsized is something else to hang on the wall. So I give my chance to someone more deserving -- and will kick myself if it ever turns out to be worth as much as a Monet.
By: Tom Sightings on November 16, 2016
I knew frames were an important part of a painting. I had kids do matting on a project. It was interesting to learn the basics of matting.
By: RED Kline on November 16, 2016
That frame goes with your painting like gas station chicken goes with a 44 oz Diet Coke. For a moment there at the end...I was afraid you were going to throw in the strainer with the painting, as a bonus gift!
By: Val on November 16, 2016
I had never thought about how a frame can change an attitude or feeling for a picture, but your story makes sense to me. Good thinking about throwing out the strainer. No need to purchase a new one if you were the only one who had used it in decades. Well, unless you expect your next veneer to...you know.
By: Pixel Peeper on November 16, 2016
That frame looks very nice - and of course it does because that's part of your expertise :) I wanted to clarify that I am not entering your giveaway - only because we are trying to downsize, and our walls are full. We panicked last year when our son graduated and we needed to find a place for his grad photo! Thank you anyway for the chance to enter.
By: jenny_o on November 16, 2016
I learn so much from your blog! In all my art history classes, I never once learned (or maybe never absorbed) what baroque literally meant!
By: Mitchell is Moving on November 17, 2016
funny about the frames and the impressionist paintings.
By: Ellen Abbott on November 17, 2016
You selected a beautiful frame to adorn your painting. Don't strain yourself in replacing the shamed strainer... odds are you won't get the correct one. ;-)
By: Daniel LaFrance on November 17, 2016
It's amazing how people are and have never really changed. Stick a baroque frame and the pictures suddenly sell. Today, everyone likes using simple black frames for their own pictures and i am bored with that. I think your frame on your painting is perfect because the burgundy does pick up on the painting. I like baroque and even Rococo but Trump's penthouse shows how some good things are done in very bad taste
By: Birgit on November 18, 2016

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