En plein air is a French expression which means "in the open air", and is particularly used to describe the act of painting outdoors, which is also called peinture sur le motif ("painting on the ground") in French. (source)
Early 20th C. plein air painters popularized this style of frame, the framemakers having grown out of the Arts and Crafts Movement, crafting these with wide flat panels and minimal ornamentation.
|plein air frame|
|original art in plein air frame|
Recently a client brought in two small still life oils and they were completely transformed by plein air frames.
See what I mean? These would be right at home in a museum. But I could totally see them elevating any space.
And I have been meaning to post about this amazing piece since forever:
Sorry about the image quality, but this is an original Gee's Bend quilt (omg) framed in my modern take on a plein air frame. It is actually two contemporary matte black gallery frames stacked together in such a way that creates the traditional plein air frame shape. Gee's Bend quilts are characterized by bold geometric, yet abstract freeform patterns which lend themselves perfectly to modern gallery style frames. But here the plein air style frame translates the signifcance of the art in its traditional shape.
Please, if you have never heard of Gee's Bend quilts and have any interest whatsoever in textile arts or folk art or American History or African American studies, check them out. Listen HERE. Read HERE.