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best in show design 2013/ conservation picture framing » the grand prize

“Champion of Conservation” The Grand Prize 2013

Trip to New York City – Generously sponsored by Tru Vue


Winning a professional competition is an honor. For many of us who love and live for great design, an award like this has great significance. Creating a new custom framing solution while following all conservation methods, and then being recognized, is quite uplifting.  I saw the grand prize, a trip for two to New York City, as a wonderful bonus.

 the grand prize, champion of conservation

The “Champion of Conservation” competition was organized and sponsored by Tru Vue and it took place at the West Coast Art and Frame Expo in Las Vegas, January 2013. Tru Vue is a world leader in production of the highest quality glazing products. They supply museums, conservators and custom picture framers with conservation grade acrylic and picture framing glass with highest UV protection.

My husband Greg is the co-owner of Oliver Brothers, the oldest fine art restoration firm in the nation, established in 1850. In addition to art restoration and conservation, we also offer custom picture framing. As an architect involved in many aspects of design since mid-1980’s   I expanded our traditional and contemporary style offerings while focusing on conservation custom framing methods and design. Both Greg and I have been around art our entire life. Each day we analyze and evaluate paintings, frames, objects, works on paper and textiles. We both enjoy art history and use any opportunity we have to learn more. Both of us have been in New York City many times and visited the MET countless times, but this trip was quite special and different from all other trips.


Waldorf Astoria Hotel- New York City


Waldorf Astoria Hotel NYC architecture   Entrancedetai, architecture, Waldorf AstoriaNYC

Entrance details

On Columbus Day weekend 2013, we had the pleasure of  taking the award trip to New York City. A weekend at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel coupled with a private tour of Metropolitan Museum of Art was truly a memorable experience.

New York City, one of the most historically and culturally renowned hubs of the design world, it is home to an array of not only America’s finest artistic and architectural achievements, but also influences from all around the globe.  As an architect I always appreciated seeing Art Deco buildings, but I never stayed in one for a longer period of time. Spending three days in the Waldorf Astoria gave me quite a bit of time to absorb, analyze and sincerely enjoy this beautiful example of Art Deco architecture.

Waldorf Astoria Hotel NYC     Elevator detail

Main entrance, detail/ Elevator door

From the outside, the hotel is a bit understated. The surprise comes upon entry. Grand spaces with perfectly proportional decorative ornamentation are simply stunning.  All public spaces are well preserved in their original form. The period furniture throughout the building is positioned carefully and tastefully. Each time I would look around, there would be more surprises, more details to see.  This impressive building is a living museum of architecture and one of the most significant Art Deco buildings in the world.   A masterpiece of design, it harmoniously combines many sculptural art objects, murals, paintings and mosaics. Clean lines and the influence of industrial design are perfectly intertwined with artwork fabricated of many different materials.  The building is elegant and functional.  The floor plan is simple, logical and inviting. Within the public spaces, the scale, proportions, and richness of the various materials are in perfect harmony. This historic landmark is truly a Queen of Art Deco.


Mail lobby, Waldorf Astoria New York

Waldorf Astoria- Main Lobby

 Metropolitan Museum of Art- New York City


Metropolitan Museum of Art NYC


The private tour of the Metropolitan Museum of Art was extraordinary.  Before the tour, we were advised to select two specific areas of interest, and we chose Impressionism and Islamic art. Upon arrival, my husband and I were approached by Mitra in the lobby. She holds PhD in Art History with focus on Modern and Islamic art.She is one of the city’s leading experts in the field. This unique experience, touring Metropolitan Museum with Mitra was outstanding.  It was fascinating to hear her talk about Impressionism. We truly enjoyed hearing many more details and analyzing impressionist art with her.


 Degas figure studies, MET

Edgar Degas, figure studies


Greg and Mitra in front of the “Wheat Field with Cypresses”, Vincent van Gogh

The second part of the MET tour focused on Islamic Art. Unlike Impressionism, we knew very little about Islamic art. It is one area of art history we felt we needed much more understanding and knowledge about.

Islamic Art, MET NYC

Islamic art, Metropolitan Museum of Art

China Southern Song Dynasty (12-13 century) /Iran Ilkhanid period 14th century

Ilkhanid- period potters in Iran imitated the range of green glazes of Imported

Chinese celadon wares.

Mitra explained different symbolism, pointed out important and special objects, and told us how other cultures influenced Islamic art. She helped us gain greater understanding and appreciation. It would be hard to imagine anyone else who would be able to give this tour with so much love, passion and knowledge of the topic.  An expected one hour visit ultimately turned into a three hour tour. The MET visit with Mitra will be one of the greatest gifts I have ever received.

Islamic art at the MET

The Koc family galleries, Simonetti carpet (ca. 1500)

One of the most famous Mamluc carpets of all

This was an incredible opportunity to enjoy Art Deco, Impressionism, and Islamic art; three very different but very stimulating areas. I would like to thank Tru Vue for organizing and sponsoring this award trip. I would like to thank Ms. Jane Boyce, the President of True Vue, as well as the entire Tru Vue’s marketing team, in particular Ms. Jen Gramm and Ms. Maureen O’Connor for their professionalism and exceptionally hard work in helping to make this trip happen.

Greg and I would like to thank Mitra for sharing her knowledge and for an amazing presentation at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. It was a museum tour taken to the highest professional level. As I stated before, touring MET with Mitra was truly one of the greatest gifts I have ever received. The day at the MET was so special, and unique, I will always remember it.

I would also like to thank all of you who took the time to vote. As it frequently happens, technology doesn’t always cooperate. However, many of you were persistent and didn’t give up voting. The difference in leaders and those who follow is always visible in willingness and dedication to resolve problems as soon as possible. Similar to the work ethics of Oliver Brothers, Tru Vue’s staff stepped up to the challenge and resolved the technical glitches immediately.

I would  also like to thank the many others who have worked on realizing and executing many aspects of this competition. In conclusion, I would like to express my gratitude to all who have made the “Champion of Conservation” competition and the resulting award an overwhelmingly positive and memorable experience.  Thank you to all!


Mira Bishop


PS. MoMA visit was a must! Designing Modern Women 1890–1990 exhibition is fantastic, 20th century design, shaped by creativity of women. The exhibit is located at the third floor and it will be up until October 1st, 2014.



MoMA visit was a must

Architecture and Design Galleries, third floor


the first display of a newly conserved kitchen by Charlotte Perriand with Le Corbusier (1952) from the Unité d’Habitation housing projec

MoMA- the first display of a newly conserved kitchen by Charlotte Perriand with Le Corbusier (1952) from the Unité d’Habitation housing project