Frame Survey

Conservator Joseph Godla (center) with Colin B. Bailey, Deputy Director and Peter Jay Sharp Chief Curator of The Frick Collection (right), consulting with Cynthia Moyer, the frame conservator at the Metropolitan Museum of Art (examining frame).

Detail of frame for a Meyndert Hobbema painting in The Frick Collection (1902.1.73).

Annotations about condition and fabrication. 

Information entered into a frame database.

Thanks to a generous grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services, the Conservation Department conducted a survey of all the picture frames in the collection in 2008–2009. These sometimes overlooked yet spectacularly crafted objects were carefully studied and documented. Conservator Joseph Godla and Associate Curator Charlotte Vignon worked with specialists from The Metropolitan Museum of Art to obtain basic cataloguing information and record the condition, materials, technical data, and construction techniques for each frame. Met conservator and frame expert George Bisacca provided historical context and examined the structural issues, and Cynthia Moyer, the Met's frame conservator, inspected the gilded surface.

Notes on condition and fabrication along with information pertaining to each frame's history have been entered into a database. The front and back of each frame were photographed and annotated with condition notes, and its profile was carefully measured and recorded with a full-scale sectional drawing.

The project has provided us with a much better understanding of the frames in the collection and their conservation needs. It also gives us insight into the choices that Henry Clay Frick was making for how his prized collection of paintings should be presented. The database, photography, and profile drawings are also a first step in cataloguing the frames and will allow for easier comparison with similar pieces in other collections.