Richard Green Fine Frame sale at Sotheby's
30 March 2023
They date from the 17th to the 20th century, with examples from the British Baroque, French Rococo, and a variety of Italian frames, suitable for paintings from Old Masters, to 19th century, Impressionist and Modern works.
On 30 March, Sotheby’s New Bond Street will unveil a selection of over 120 picture frames from the esteemed collection of the Richard Green Gallery. In a departure from their typical display, the frames will remain empty, as the auction marks the first dedicated frames sale by Sotheby’s in two decades - and the first-ever collaboration between Sotheby’s and Richard Green, one of London’s most prestigious galleries.
Works of art in their own right, frames were often carved by the most celebrated sculptors of the day, their popularity growing to the extent that by the 17th and 18th centuries framemakers were frequently able to charge more for their creations than the artists whose work they adorned. Many of the antique frames to be offered at Sotheby’s - some dating back three hundred years - are presented with their original gilding and dimensions, a rarity given the alterations that frames typically undergo during their lifetime. Spanning the 17th to the 20th centuries, examples of British Baroque, French Rococo, and a variety of Italian styles, as well as 19th century Impressionist and 20th century Modern frames are included, offering the opportunity for collectors to reunite ‘orphaned’ frames with the paintings they were originally intended for.
Richard Green, Chairman, Richard Green Fine Paintings, said:
“Ensuring that a painting is presented in a frame that is contemporary and sympathetic to the style and period of the artwork is hugely important in our field of work. We’re delighted to offer at Sotheby’s these highlights from our collection of frames, many of which we acquired almost thirty years ago. I hope that this sale inspires a deeper appreciation for frames in their own right, with many finding their ideal partner paintings, or perhaps even a new use.”
Georgina Hardy, Head of Evening Sale, Old Master Paintings, said,
“Although frames are often overlooked as simply a means to encase, protect, and hang a picture, they can offer so much more. Some are beautiful works of art in their own right, or have their own stories to tell as they have travelled through the centuries. Others, when chosen carefully, can greatly enhance, contextualise and draw the eye into a composition - something well-understood by artists from the Old Masters to the Impressionists. We are delighted to be engaging with the age-old tradition of framing and reframing through this sale.”