Robb Design Portfolio: The Finest Frames

Connoisseurs know that selecting a frame from the place and period of an artwork’s origin is rather like pairing the right wine with your favorite species of meat. it will either embellish or detract from the overall experience.

Imagine the painful embarrassment of matching an early 17th-century Dutch frame with an 18th-century English portrait. Or confusing French Baroque with its German counterpart. And even when the right frame is envisioned, where does one acquire it? Indeed, dealers in original antique frames are as few in number as the frames themselves. Then there is the matter of dimension; no collector of sound mind would ever cut down an antique frame.

Fortunately, there exist master framers who produce contemporary replicas of period frames. The best among them are the “silent partners” of museums, collectors, conservators, and dealers who seek superior frames to showcase their collections.

French frames are known for their opulence. A classic Louis XIV frame with low relief and brocade-like patterns is contrasted with an English interpretation of a Louis XV–period oak frame. The austere Dutch Slant was popular in 17th-century northern Europe. Spain, distant from the classical antiquity of Italy, developed unique frames under the influence of Moorish and Middle Eastern cultures. For a twist, imagine this 18th-century example framing a Picasso from the 1930s.

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