Framing is like dessert in a French restaurant – not exactly indispensable, but so nice to have… Even if some paintings look really good unframed, most of the time, a well-chosen frame really enhances the artwork.
A frame sets the picture in its own space, making it a small world on its own. Interestingly enough, there is never just one fit – a painting might look good in very different frames, depending of its future spot to hang in.
Since I not only have painted a lot of paintings over the years, but have also started to modestly collect other artist’s works, framing has been a regular preoccupation of mine. I have helped other collectors to frame their treasures as well and this is something I really enjoy doing.
Most of the time, I do not sell my own paintings framed, since everybody has a different taste. However, I am happy to help my collectors with finding the right frame for their purchase, should they wish me to do so.
My personal taste regarding frames verges a bit on the baroque – I love historic frames, carved wood and gilding. My first attraction was towards very large and very dark frames, a bit closer to Northern Renaissance styles. Luckily for me, they were out of my budget zone at the time, because otherwise my home would be a bit gloomy by now…
The more my own space developed into a giant salon hang, the more I learned to appreciate lighter colors and especially the value of a long-time classic – the gilded frame, which really adds light to a dense hang and is often a work of art in its own right. I had the chance to see a Florentine master woodcarver & gilder working on frames in his small workshop last year – a fascinating experience!
Another classic model I like is the so-called Cadre Montparnasse or Impressionist Frame. These ornate frames with often a chalky finish were (unsurprisingly) hugely popular with the Impressionists and then again in the 1940ies.
Something easily found in the USA are so-called Plein Air Frames – large, but rather flat profiles, either with gold or dark finishes. I have seen some online and find them really beautiful.
Amongst the more modern options I like are the most simple, slim and unfinished wooden frames, often used for exhibition purposes. These frames age beautifully, the wood darkening to a lovely honey tone after a couple of years. In a floater frame, the slim wooden profile works nicely with landscape studies for example.
Black or white versions of these simple frames work very well with modern paintings, too.
When framing works on paper, there are even more options, so I rather stop here;)…