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A painter, sculptor, etcher, and craftsman, Frederick Harer was best known as a gifted frame maker. He learned to craft wood while working for his father, a successful furniture maker. He crafted various exquisite pieces of furniture, as well as sculptures of wood and stone which reflect a great sensitivity for woodland animal life. Harer's work as a frame maker was influenced by his extensive travels, especially to Spain and the West Indies. Harer used extraordinarily creative techniques and methods to produce his frames. He designed the frame surface by punching patterns onto it with nails, and also by using stencils, incising, and matte. Finally, he gilded and burnished the surfaces. Harer produced frames for many artists of the New Hope School, including Edward Redfield and Daniel Garber. His frames subsequently inspired the work of Ben Badura and Francis Coll.
Photograph of Frederick Harer by De Witt Portrait. Image courtesy of Pedersen Gallery, Lambertville, New Jersey.
Education and Training
Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 1900-1903 and 1908-1910
Studied in Spain and the West Indies
Worked with his father, a cabinetmaker, in Blossburg, Pennsylvania
Teachers and Influences
Student of Thomas Anshutz and William Merritt Chase at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Philadelphia
Connection to Bucks County
Frederick Harer moved to Uhlerstown in 1934 from Philadelphia. From 1940 to 1943 he lived in Frenchtown, New Jersey according to exhibition records, but he returned to Uhlerstown in 1944. Harer became known as a framemaker for many of the artists of the New Hope School, including Edward Redfield and Daniel Garber. Harer's frames were inspirational for later framers such as Ben Badura, Cullen Yates, and Francis Coll. Harer was also associated with the Independents, a group of New Hope modernist painters.
Colleagues and Affiliations
Harer's wife, Natalie, was a commercial artist in New York before their marriage in 1941. She also painted and did ceramics. Harer made most of Daniel Garber's frames. The painter and frame maker, Ben Badura, came to Uhlerstown in 1924 to work with Harer. He lived in the Harer home for a year. Harer was also associated with the New Hope modernist group known as the Independents, whose members included Peter Keenan, Robert Hogue, R. A.D. Miller, Charles Evans, Henry Baker, Ralston Crawford and C. F. Ramsey.
Major Group Exhibitions
Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Annual Exhibits, 1911-1948
The New Group Exhibit, New Hope Gallery, New Hope, Pennsylvania, 1930
Independents Exhibit, New Hope, Pennsylvania, 1933
Phillips Mill Community Association Annual, New Hope, Pennsylvania, 1933
Philadelphia Museum of Art, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 1940
National Academy of Design, New York, New York, 1942 to 1945, 1947
The Art of the Frame, Eli Wilner & Co., New York, New York, 1988
Carved, Incised, Gilded and Burnished: The Bucks County Framemaking Tradition, James A. Michener Art Museum, Doylestown, Pennsylvania, 2000-2001
An Evolving Legacy: Twenty Years of Collecting at the James A. Michener Art Museum, Doylestown, Pennsylvania, 2009 - 2010
Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Reading Museum of Art, Reading, Pennsylvania
Prize, Baltimore Watercolor Club, 1921
Prize, National Academy of Design, for sculpture Chinese Gander, 1945