The relationship between an object (be it an artwork, artifact, photograph, or document) and its frame directly impacts our understanding of its meaning. Although viewers typically look ‘through’ the frame when analyzing an object, it is important to consider the frame as an artifact with its own history.
An object’s ‘first’ frame is often understood as the ‘original’ frame, which is assumed to have been made in the same period as the object held within it. In this case, the frame upholds the historical meaning and contributes to the value of the framed object. However, the frame could have been assigned to the object under a number of circumstances. The sculpturally carved and gilded frames on display here represent a shift in function and form – from a perfunctory hanging device to a highly aesthetic framing device – that influences the meaning of the object and reflects the preference of the collector, as well as decor trends of the day.
Curated by Carolyn Hickey
December 7th 2018 - February 21st 2019