Last weekend I had a wonderful visit from my parents, which afforded me the opportunity to play tourist and go to a few museums- something I don't do often enough, despite the fact that Washington is a museum mecca! I have visited the National Gallery of Art on numerous occasions and find it spellbinding whether it is your first visit or your five hundredth.
This time, what struck me (in addition to the paintings themselves, obviously) were the equally breathtaking frames. Though they varied wildly from plain to terrifically ornate, all had one thing in common- they were perfectly and expertly selected to compliment the painting which they accompany. Many of them looked as old as the artwork itself. I'd love to know more about framing practices in the world of fine art; something tells me some of these frames have been paired with their respective works of art for decades, if not longer.
A few highlights are below. My apologies for my lack of art history expertise- there are a few paintings that, for the life of me, I cannot seem to identify now! If you know what they are please leave a comment!
Claude Monet, The Japanese Footbridge, 1899
Incidentally, after I took this picture, I saw a little boy go up to a neighboring Monet, lay his hand squarely on the middle of the painting for a good five seconds, and then give it a decisive push! The painting swung a bit on the wall. My jaw dropped....and worst of all, no security guard even noticed. Can you believe that???
Paul Guigou, Washerwomen on the Banks of the Durance, 1866
Vincent Van Gogh, The Baby Marcelle Roulin, 1888
[I cannot identify the painting below, but had to include it because the frame is so over the top!]
Camille Pissarro, Place du Carrousel, Paris, 1900
[I cannot identify this painting- please let me know if you can- but I loved the wide frame]
Coming back to earth for a moment- while we don't have the burden of worrying about what frame will best compliment our new Van Gogh, looking at these pictures definitely makes the case that a fab frame is worth pursuing! Sure, the sleek, basic gallery frames most of us are used to are affordable and modern, but if you have a special painting, why not spring for a grand frame to help it reach its fullest potential?
For purchasing reasonably priced frames online, check out pictureframes.com.