1 of the upsides to currently being pals with artists is that at times they give you works of art.  Just one of the downsides to currently being good friends with artists is that these is effective are normally unframed.  You’re happy to acquire a operate, but, if it is unframed, you can’t cling it, and if you’re really don’t have the time or revenue to get it framed, the get the job done will finish up in a closet or below a bed.  You will subsequently uncover by yourself hesitating to invite your mate for supper, fearing she will recognize that the function is not on display.  Which she will. Our artist mate Excitement Spector, becoming a prince of a fellow, has permit that cup go from us by generating absolutely sure that each get the job done he has offered us more than the years has arrive framed.  As a outcome, Roberta and I are curators for what Buzz the moment explained as the country’s greatest permanent Buzz Spector exhibition.

Excitement Spector Upshaw”s Auden, 2001
Selection Reagan and Roberta Upshaw

Laying aside their functionality as protection for artwork, frames are important.  “A fantastic frame will make a gentleman out of a rascal,” art seller David Findlay once declared.  What constitutes a terrific body, although, is a issue of consistently shifting viewpoint.  I understood a frame seller who received his start 50 many years back at a time when there was a vogue for reframing Hudson River College paintings in tiny frames that had been “less gaudily Victorian.”  The vendor acquired some of his early stock by snatching discarded 19th century frames from trash established out on Park Avenue sidewalks.  He offered them for tidy sums decades later on, when collectors ended up all over again demanding period frames for their paintings.

In women’s fashion, there are selected types that are described as timeless.  These types obtain reputation once more and once again, even as their traces are tweaked by fashionable designers.  Other fashions obtain ridicule as memes on Facebook with captions like, “What on earth ended up they considering?”

Frames also have their fashions.  There are traditional variations, and there are fads. Paintings by Picasso or Botero are normally displayed in replicas of 17th century Spanish frames which set the paintings to edge and get in touch with to intellect their predecessors in the heritage of Spanish art.  On the other hand, gold strip moldings with burlap liners, preferred in the 1950’s, make the paintings they surround seem hopelessly out-of-date now.

When Roberta and I stop by museums, we typically commit as substantially time commenting on the frames as on the paintings, for they’re a package.  We recently went to the Philadelphia Museum of Artwork with our buddy Nina Foster, the daughter of artist Harold Weston, to look at a person of her father’s paintings, a charming Adirondack landscape.  Nina had donated money to the museum to have the portray reframed in a duplicate of the frames Weston experienced carved by hand for his paintings when he was preparing for his to start with New York exhibition in 1922.  The new frame made a great accompaniment to the portray, even though as curator Katharine Foster observed, it elevated a bit of a problem in the painting’s relation to functions hung close by that bore modest frames.  It’s like your neighbor repairing up his residence, Kathy remarked out of the blue yours appears to be like a little bit operate down.

Harold Weston (1894-1972), The Elm Tree, 1922
Assortment of the Philadelphia Museum of Artwork, Reward of Mrs. S. Emlen Stokes 1979-13-1.
Photograph courtesy Jessica Smith.

When you are in a museum, just take be aware of the frames as perfectly as the paintings.  What works?  What appears to be like inappropriate?  Why?  We were being not too long ago at the Brandywine Museum, enjoying a great exhibition of works by Wayne Thiebaud.  I was struck by the determination of the Wayne Thiebaud Basis, which owns quite a few of the functions on display, to body their oils generally as works on paper.

Wayne Thiebaud. Untitled (Rows of Glasses), 2000. Oil on linen. 
Wayne Thiebaud Foundation.

An oil on linen at least a couple of feet large has been framed as if it ended up a 10 x 8 inch drawing.  Was the linen mat essential?  To me it was distracting.  I desired the oils framed in a much more conventional way.

Wayne Thiebaud.  Boston Cremes, 1982.  Oil on canvas. 
Assortment Crocker Artwork Museum.

I identified Boston Crème’s framing much extra successful, strongly supporting the painting instead than distracting from it.

Perfectly, if it’s your collection, you can frame the works as you you should.  Talking of my have collection, I’m in the system of acquiring a frame for a significant portray that was offered to me a handful of yrs back by Vernon Fisher.  It was a generous present, and I have felt a twinge of conscience from time to time above its languishing unframed and unseen.  I’m energized at the prospect of getting it hanging in our dwelling.  Now the issue is wherever.  Do I group the partitions even extra, or do I deliver another person else’s portray to storage?  If we decide for the latter, Roberta and I will have to keep track of our dinner invites very carefully and be organized to make a switcheroo at shorter observe.  For the artist will discover his painting’s absence.  He normally does.