October 29, 2015
By J. PEDER ZANE
New York Times
To appreciate one of the most provocative developments in art, museumgoers are shifting their gaze from the dance of shadow and light, color and texture that graces the canvas to consider the painting’s essential but often ignored partner: the frame.
The art world equivalent of Ginger Rogers — in the sense of making the main attraction look good — frames have long subtly shaped the viewer’s experience while being taken for granted.
But now frames are experiencing a renaissance of attention and respect from both museum curators and collectors. “I don’t remember a single discussion of frames in graduate school,” said Mark Cole, curator of American paintings and sculpture at the Cleveland Museum of Art. “Now frames are increasingly seen as rich areas of study and as precious historic objects that must be preserved.”
This interest is also driving up prices, especially for period frames, which are far rarer than old master paintings.
The new appreciation of frames — which celebrates the best as artworks in their own right, as evocative of the period of their creation as the paintings they embrace — represents a change in the relationship between artworks and their owners. Traditionally, paintings have been seen as possessions. Just as the wealthy clad their footmen in livery, collectors dressed their paintings in “livery frames.”
Credit: New York Times
Artwork by: Vincent Zambrano
Frame by: Frames and Stretchers