Framing Success: First-Time Winners

Before-and-after images of a frame restored by Eli Wilner & Company. Abraham Archibald Anderson, “Miss Caroline Welton,” oil on canvas, (c) Collection of the Mattatuck Museum, Photo Courtesy Eli Wilner & Company 2016

Earlier this year, Fine Art Today reported on a tantalizing new grant opportunity for museums.  Discover who recently doled out over $2 million to more than 50 deserving recipients. Details here!

Some argue that a frame is almost as important as the artwork itself. When used correctly, a good frame accentuates and showcases the image within its borders. Master framers Eli Wilner & Company recently opened a grant opportunity for frame conservation and have just announced the first round of winners.

Collectors and museums are often thrilled to learn that a painting’s frame is original to the work, but this feature can be both a blessing and a curse. Period frames were hand-carved and -gilded, making them unique works of art themselves that merit conservation and repair. Master framers Eli Wilner & Company are sponsoring the first full-funded frame-conservation grant.

The grant includes five different categories, based on the dates of the frames: 18th century, early 19th century, late 19th century, early 20th century, and mid-20th century. Eli Wilner adds, “In addition to frame restoration, the selected institutions will be entitled to a private tour of the Eli Wilner studio during the restoration process.”

With the introduction of the grant opportunity, the company writes, “As part of an ongoing commitment to period frames, Eli Wilner & Company will restore five important American frames in public collections at no cost whatsoever to the institutions. The five frames will be selected from eligible applications by a panel of distinguished jurors from the professional community. Applications will be accepted from museums, historic sites, and other nonprofit cultural institutions.

“Eli Wilner & Company has completed hundreds of complex frame restorations for private collectors and public institutions. Increasingly, curators, dealer, collectors, and aficionados embrace the aesthetic and historical value of period frames. With a 10,000 square foot studio, the Wilner expert carvers, gilders, and mold-makers are able to complete a remarkably wide range of projects, including those that smaller studios cannot accommodate.

“Completed projects from this program include: a replica of a carved and silver gilded early 20th Century American frame for Marsden Hartley’s ‘Alpspitze (Alpine Vista), Mittenwald Road from Gschwandtnerbauer,’ circa 1933, for the Wellin Museum of Art, a replica of a 19th century European frame, applied ornament and gilded, for William Henry Hunt’s ‘Portrait of Mary Bugden Hunt,’ 1827, for the Philadelphia Museum of Art, and a replica of a shaped and stained American frame for Isabel Bishop’s ‘Double Date Delayed,’ circa 1948, for the Munson-Williams-Proctor Art Institute.

“Other participants in the 2016 program include: the J.Paul Getty Museum, the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Birmingham Museum of Art, the RISD Museum, the New Britain Museum of Art, the Ringling Museum of Art, the Cincinnati Art Museum, the Josyln Art Museum, the Cleveland Museum of Art, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, the Seattle Art Museum, the New-York Historical Society, the Indianapolis Museum of Art, the Krannert Art Museum, and the Museum of the City of New York. The total value of donated frames is over $2,000,000.

“Wilner also recently announced the winners of their unique Museum Frame Restoration Grants, which were adjudicated by prominent art world scholars. These were awarded in five categories based on specific time periods to: the Colby College Museum of Art, the Fenimore Art Museum, the Georgia Museum of Art, the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, and the Columbia University Libraries.”

To learn more, visit Eli Wilner & Company.

This article was featured in Fine Art Today, a weekly e-newsletter from Fine Art Connoisseur magazine. To start receiving Fine Art Today for free, click here.

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Andrew Webster is the former Editor of Fine Art Today and worked as an editorial and creative marketing assistant for Streamline Publishing. Andrew graduated from The University of North Carolina at Asheville with a B.A. in Art History and Ceramics. He then moved on to the University of Oregon, where he completed an M.A. in Art History. Studying under scholar Kathleen Nicholson, he completed a thesis project that investigated the peculiar practice of embedded self-portraiture within Christian imagery during the 15th and early 16th centuries in Italy.


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