On February 19, Guernsey’s will conduct an unprecedented auction of The Frame as Art: Eli Wilner’s Personal Collection, consisting of more than four hundred of the workshop’s finest frames made using old-world artisanship.
What do the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Smithsonian Museum, and the White House have in common? On the walls of each, one will find more than two dozen picture frames crafted at the workshops of Eli Wilner & Company, Master Framers. When The Met was searching for an intricately carved, stunning, and massive 14 by 23-foot gold-leafed frame to showcase its historic painting “Washington Crossing the Delaware,” the museum commissioned Eli Wilner for the coveted seven-figure assignment. And when Sotheby’s and Christie’s required the very finest frames to surround important works by Picasso, Van Gogh, Monet, O’Keeffe, Rockwell, and Magritte, they reached out to the Wilner studio.
Following the conclusion of prominent museum exhibitions or important art auctions, frames that the company loaned for those occasions were returned and became part of the Eli Wilner Classic Frame Collection. Each unique frame will include its exhibition history. The auction will include frames that surrounded works such as van Gogh’s “Paysage sous un Ciel Mouvementé” for $54 million, Rockwell’s “The Gossips” for $8 million, and Picasso’s “Le Peintre et son Modèle” for $13 million, all of which were sold at Sotheby’s.
In addition to “Washington Crossing the Delaware,” The Met framed John Singer Sargent’s famous “Madame X” in an exquisite Wilner work, while a visit to the White House would include sightings of Eli Wilner frames on Albert Bierstadt’s powerful “Storm Clouds” and, in the Oval Office, Childe Hassam’s “The Avenue in the Rain.”
Eli Wilner Frame, Charles Prendergast Design, American c. 1920 Style Frame
Based on an American c. 1920 Charles Prendergast style frame. *Gallery price: $12,000 – 15,000; Auction estimate: $7,000 – 9,000; Starting bid: $1,750. Provenance: This frame was loaned to Christie’s to present Maurice Brazil Prendergast’s (1859–1924) “Seascape” (c. 1907), which had a price realized of $68,500. The work is oil on canvas and was offered at Christie’s in Spring 2010. Photo credit: Guernsey’sInquiries about this unprecedented upcoming auction should be directed to Guernsey’s (212-794-2280, [email protected]), the New York–based auction house known for such events as the landmark Cold War auction of artwork from the Soviet Union, the Titanic sale, auctions of recovered collections of Holocaust-related art, and the John F. Kennedy auctions. Visit https://www.guernseys.com/v2/eli_wilner_collection.html for more information.