Link Between Artwork and Frames

Since the Middle-Ages professional picture framers reproduce traditional savoir-faire based on two main goals: preserve and enhance the artwork. Framing allows definition of the figurative space, clarifies the frame, and enhances the passage between the outside world and the work.

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La justice de l’Empereur Othon

Frames are often in and of themselves a real piece of art, creating harmony with the artwork. It can play a considerable role in the representation, changing the vision of the depth. In “La justice de l’Empereur Othon”, Dirk Bouts does not hesitate to place on the top of his picture two fine golden wooden blazing arcs, which create a more striking perspective effect.

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Portrait of Engelbert II (1451-1504)
1487, Rijksmuseum

We can find the same process in the Portrait of Engelbert II (1451-1504) (1487, Rijksmuseum). The protagonist seems to be at the window with his hand and his hawk’s tail which are painted on the frame. The interest of the artists for frames was strong at this time, and it was thus customary, to play with them and fully integrate them in the work. That is why recently antique frames are increasing in value, sometimes reaching the same value as the paired artwork.

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Fenêtres simultanées
1912-1913 Robert Delaunay

During 20th century, artists continued to link their works to the frames, experimenting with new materials, canvas, leather or metal, decorated sometimes with mirrors, still with the aim of sublimating the work. It is the case of “Fenêtres simultanées”, a set of paintings made between 1912 and 1913 by Robert Delaunay. The painter wants here to create a shading between both pieces to create a non common harmony for the time. Here, it is not anymore a question of playing with the frame as before but rather of making it integral part of the work.

The composition and form of a frame remains a crucial choice and will have a substantial impact on the work vision. During artistic periods, the materials have changed as well as the style of the frames, by adjusting itself constantly to the artistic and lifestyles evolutions. From Louis XIII to Louis XVI style, Restoration, Napoleon III, Art Nouveau, Art Deco, the Fifty and then Contemporary Art.

This is why currently, we see a significant shift towards simple modern frames, that are left their natural wood, or stained with one color. In the museum circuit, we see black and white frames most commonly. We at Frameworks Berlin produce the frames that are fitting to todays art scenes by providing a selection of modern minimalist frames from a wide selection of woods and stains. We also mobilize this ancestral know-how and artistic knowledge, producing increasingly interesting frames made from a range of recycled materials, in order to make of every frame a unique work.

If you’re looking for a custom frame for your artwork or large commercial framing project, call us at +49 (0) 30 5366 4996 or email Frameworks Berlin today!

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