It is said that a picture speaks more than a thousand words. However, the importance of a painting’s frame is often underestimated, as it can greatly enhance or diminish the beauty of the artwork.
Everyone one of us has an artistic side, or this is what we choose to believe. However, taste is never to be discussed- a simple piece of art can uncover the deepest part of our soul. What is often underestimated, until done wrong, is the importance of a frame.
Even though that every time you think of world’s most famous paintings you will hardly remember the frame, especially since books and magazines act as if they don’t exist by simply cropping them out, there are artist who found them so integral to their masterpiece that if wouldn’t be far to say that the wrong chosen frame could leave them turning in their grave.
Frame is just as important as the picture that it holds and protects, its function of protection and presentation should not be ignored, as it can greatly influence how will the audience perceive the picture in question.
Matisse for example, felt very strongly about this, as he described the four sides of a frame as “the most important parts of a picture”.
Even major living artists such as David Hockney and Howard Hodgkin believe frames serve a purpose beyond the purely practical. “They’re where the picture stops and the world begins,” Hodgkin says.
The widely known fact remains that a well-chosen frame can magnify the beauty of an artistic masterpiece, whereas a poor choice can diminish its beauty.
Luckily, there is some basic advice that can help when deciding upon a frame.
First of all, not every piece might require a frame, such as contemporary pieces or gallery-wrapped paintings, which have canvas wrapped around their thick stretcher bars and pinned to the back instead of the sides, leaving the surface smooth and clean.
For other types which require frames, there are many ways of thinking which one can consider when deciding upon a suitable frame.
Many art admirers believe that only the artwork should be considered when choosing the right frame.
The style and era of the painting are a crucial element as classics tend to fit best within traditional and stylish frames. One such timeless option could be a gold leaf frame as gold is a truly classical framing option, especially for those looking to make a statement with their piece of art.
On the other hand, modern and abstract pieces that are lighter in nature tend to be seen in a framelessness state, as this is believed to amplify the message of the piece. Some lovely contemporary fashion styles in silver, whether polished, matt or glazed, work brilliantly with modern design-led interiors.
The same principle applies to the paintings that are a mix of both, transitional style frames which combine modern and classics tend to suit them best.
However, there are exemptions proving that even “incongruous juxtapositions” can work, such as one pointed out by Michael Gregory, managing director of Arnold Wiggins, a leading British frame dealer. Gregory points out that his firm has supplied antique gilt frames for a number of Picassos.
Bailey also shakes in disagreement at the thought of Van Gogh’s unpretentious painting of clogs as it is framed by one of the most gorgeous Louis XV frames ever made – a gossamer and rich frame. They’re both fantastic items separately, but they have nothing in common. Gregory finds that “when the lights go down, they must have the most tremendous arguments and try to get as far from one another as possible.”
Simply put, each artwork is a universe in itself and taste is something that should not be discussed.
The benefit of choosing the right frame is that it enables the painting to be placed literally anywhere. But, temptations should be avoided in matching it with other existing frames in the given area. A contemporary piece can fit a room with traditional paintings, but simply not in a traditional frame.
Another common advice is that size should follow size: larger paintings look best in larger frames. However, if size is the issue, there are many custom options that could also work to suit your taste.
The most important thing to have in mind when choosing is that the frame’s role is to do justice to the piece, and this is the criteria upon which the choice should be made.
“A good frame maker makes this process and framing choice simple due to a large range of frames in a range of finishes and sizes that could be a perfect finishing touch for your artwork.” says BestForFrames specialists in readymade picture frames
After all, the frame’s job is to focus the audience’s attention to the painting,
“The frame is not just a pretty border that protects the canvas, it is a mediator between viewer and painting”, says William Bailey, a framer-turned-lecturer and consultant to New York’s Museum of Modern Art. He adds that the design should ease the transition from the existing physical location into the illusionistic world of the painting, as graciously as possible.
Therefore, it can be said that the frame can even enhance the beauty of the artwork it protects, it prepares the eye and mind of the viewer to accept and embrace the message the painting entails on its own terms, and this is why this choice should not be made lightly.