Julia McCune Flory

Author and artist, Julia McCune Flory (1882-1971) was one of the first women to attend the Art Student’s League of New York. While her book illustrations are mildly lyrical, her oil paintings and prints often make dramatic use of sweeping curvilinear forms, indicative of Art Nouveau style. Flory used these dynamic lines to generate powerful visual movement. Even this small, peaceful print (Beneficent Being, 4x6 inches, 1931) invokes a vast dynamism that extends beyond the borders of the paper.

Julia McCune Flory Water-gilded Frame.jpg

The image shows signs of fugitive pigments – the colors used are not lightfast and must be preserved from further fading with UV protective glass.

We selected a small drawing profile with the proper amount of movement to suit the piece. The frame is a double-gilded 23K gold leaf over custom-made brown clay, the choice of which we keyed off the sepia tone seen throughout the piece.

Along with this piece, we framed an academic portrait of Flory posing for classmates while at the Art Student’s League, the signature of the piece seems to read “H.B. Moam”.  

Portrait of Julia McCune Flory.jpg

(Note: The cropping of this photo distorts the outer edge of the frame -- the profile is actually uniform in appearance).

The paper very much resembles a contemporary charcoal drawing paper, “Ingres”, by Fabriano, an Italian paper mill that has been in production for centuries. However, no watermark is discernible: the piece was at some point fixed to a type of cardboard. Likely due to acids in the substrate, both board and paper are now quite brittle, with corners crumbling to dust.

This custom milled profile was oil-gilded with silver leaf, gently rubbed through then sealed and warmed with shellac and given an antiquing of umber pigment with a loose application to better compliment the strong gestural marks of the drawing.