In Perfect Harmony. Picture and Frame

Artists’ frames

My Art History dissertation – “Künstler rahmen ihre Bilder” (Bonn University, 1991) – was devoted to the discovery, evaluation, interpretation and preservation of frames made by artists. Eleven case studies – Lenbach, Böcklin, Stuck and Klimt; Hunt, Rossetti and Whistler; Degas, Pissaro, Seurat and Van Gogh – are based on 123 examples of “picture-and-frame-compositions”. They are derived from research in museums, private collections, libraries and archives, from the antique and the art trade and in guilders’ and restorers’ studios.

Artists and craftsmen had worked hand in hand for centuries. With the 19th century and the age of industrialization, everything changed: painters increasingly viewed framing as unimportant and left the decisions to artisans, dealers and end users. Furthermore, only gold-framed pictures were admitted to official exhibitions, a rule in force from Paris to London, from Moscow to New York, enforced in the forever multiplying exhibitions of an expanding art industry.

Soon the poverty of design and craftsmanship and the interchangeability of the commercialized easel painting led to a quest for quality and uniqueness. In this context the artist’s framed painting became a manifesto against conformity and mass production.

Critics took offence at the mixing of disciplines, at the artists’ wish to give their paintings a distinctive aura and to unite them with a specific site. But these new frames were an important vehicle of mediation, as new aesthetic principles and ideals needed to be represented and communicated. In this context the frame became a kind of “third item”, an experimental intersection between painting and interior design, architecture, spectator and public space. Frames became a matter of principle, an obligatory gesture. The academic doctrine had been abandoned, individual frame concepts were developed, which can be seen right up to the present day, e.g. in the work of artists as diverse as Georg Baselitz or Barnett Newman. Working on frames and their constant re-adjustment by the artist often at different stages – is by no means a private luxury, but necessary for the optimum viewing of the painting. Thus, artists who care about the frame, are part of a long tradition: from time immemorial, innovative artists have created frames that matched their pictures in terms of aesthetics, concept and materials.

In Perfect Harmony, Exhibitions

From this foundation research, two internationally acclaimed exhibitions emerged in 1995: In Perfect Harmony. Picture + Frame 1850 – 1920 (Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam) and In Perfect Harmony. Picture and Frame in Modernism from Van Gogh to Dalì (Kunstforum der Bank Austria Vienna).  Here, the works of important representatives of Classicism, Victorian art, Art Nouveau, Impressionism and Modernism of the 20th century were exhibited for the first time in frames designed by the artists; a “feast for the eye”, as the press wrote at the time. Praise was given to the first-class selection, the importance and fascination of the theme, the all-encompassing concept and the cooperation of art historians and restorers. The catalog books published in 1995 remain important reference works to this day. The methodological aspects represented are more valid than ever in the age of digital reproductions of artworks, the tailor-made designs of Piet Rozen, the constant reproduction of the artworks in their frames; thus, the overall aesthetic impact of the publications are still exemplary, important and extremely relevant.

 

Franz von Stuck, Exhibitions

This frame design topic has been further developed and applied to specific areas. Thus, it was applied in greater depth to Franz von Stucks’ frame and overall communication concept.  He was considered in the 1900s as one of the best painters, sculptors and draftsmen. The publication, Franz von Stuck – Die Kunst der Verführung, das Markenzeichen Franz von Stuck: Eine künstlerische Erfolgsstrategie / Franz von Stuck – The Art of Persuasion, the Trade Mark of Franz von Stuck – a successful artistic strategy (2002) was the basis for five exhibitions (Franz von Stuck Birthplace, Tettenweis / Museum Villa Stuck, Munich / Erwin Scharff Museum, Neu-Ulm / Museum of Modern Art, Passau / Museum Wernigerode Castle). Stuck demonstrated not only an individual artistic style, but also a complete style of communication that goes far beyond his time. On behalf of the von Stuck estate, both a scientific analysis of the graphic work was completed, as well as a re-evaluation of the complete works. The “brilliant design” of the book is credited, with thanks, to Claude Wall (FAZ 10.12.2002).

Publications

In addition to the above, more than 50 publications (books, book contributions, journal articles) have been written and printed, and, in addition, received a scholarship from the Center for Advanced Studies in Visual Arts, National Gallery of Art Washington D.C. (joint Fellowship “German Expressionist frames”).

Invitations to collaborate on publications such as The art of the frame in the context of Expressionist masterpieces and to speak at lectures and symposia in Germany and abroad; most recently at the exhibition Franz von Stuck in Vienna at the Belvedere Vienna and a symposium at the Australian Institute for Conservation of Cultural Material (AICCM) with the theme FRAME: Concept, History and Conservation in the National Gallery of Victoria.

Bibliography (selection)

Franz von Stuck – Rahmenkunst zwischen Akademie und Sezession / Franz von Stuck – the art of the frame. Between Academy and Secession, in: Sünde und Secession. Franz von Stuck in Wien / Sin and Secession. Franz von Stuck in Vienna, Ausstellungskatalog Belvedere Wien, Alexander Klee (Hg.), Wien 2016, S.67 – 81

„Seascapes“, in: Earthly Paradises – Masterpieces from the Kasser/Mochary Collection, exhibition catalogue, Kunstsammlungen und Museen Augsburg, München 2009, S. 35 – 47

„Ramar I äldre stil tili moderna mälningar / Old-Style Frames for Modem Paintings”, in: Paul Raymond Gregory Ur Tolkincs värld / From the World of Tolkien, Ausstellungskatalog Waldemarsudde 2007, S.73 – 77

„Klassisch modern – neue Kunst, alte Rahmen”, in: Maler des „Blauen Reiter”, Schlossmuseum Murnau, Ausstellungskatalog Murnau 2006, S.151 — 153

Rahmenkunst am Beispiel expressionistischer Meisterwerke, Hartung-Gorre Verlag, Konstanz 2006

„Rahmen schmücken Bilder”, in: Weltkunst, Heft 12, 2005, S.48 – 50
„Eros und Satire — Künstler im Dialog der Jahrhunderte: Franz von Stuck und Fritz Klier”, in: Eros und Satire, Ausstellungskatalog Stadtgalerie Dillingen, Dillingen 2005

Franz von Stuck – Die Kunst der Verführung, das Markenzeichen Franz von Stuck: Eine künstlerische Erfolgsstrategie / Franz von Stuck – The Art of Persuasion, the Trade Mark of Franz von Stuck – a successful artistic strategy, (Hg. /Ed. Eva Mendgen, Förderkreis Franz von Stuck Tettenweis (Eigenverlag), 2002

„Franz von Stuck – eine künstlerische Erfolgsstrategie / The art of persuasion – a succcssful artistic strategy”, in: Franz von Stuck – Die Kunst der Verführung, Förderkreis Franz von Stuck, Tettenweis 2002, S.16 – 18

„Gewinnbringende Allianzen / Profitable Alliances”, in: The Art of Persuasion – a successful artistic strategy”, in: Franz von Stuck — Die Kunst der Verführung, Förderkreis Franz von Stuck, Tettenweis 2002, S.22 – 58

„Plakate für die Münchner Secession / The Munich Secession Posters”, in: Franz von Stuck – Die Kunst der Verführung, Förderkreis Franz von Stuck, Tettenweis 2002, S.92 – 97

„„Mit wenigen Worten alles zu sagen…”: Er und Sie / „Saying it all in Just a Few Words…”: He and She”, in: Franz von Stuck – Die Kunst der Verführung, Förderkreis Franz von Stuck, Tettenweis 2002, S.103 – 110

„Neun Tableaux”, in: Claude Wall Ciao Novecento – Auf Wiedersehen Zwanzigstes Jahrhundert, Fellbach 2001, S-21 – 28

„German Epressionist frames”, gemeinsam mit Richard Ford, in: Center 20, Reccord of Activities and Research Reports, CASVA, Washington D.C 2000, S.124 – 127
„Wiener Secession und Wiener Werkstätte”, in: ArtProfil Heft 2.jg, 1997, Heft 2,
S.14-16

„Meditation über den Goldrahmen – Zur Ästhetik und Kritik des Goldrahmens”, in: ArtProfil, Heft 1, 1997, S.4 – 8

„Die Fabrikation der Goldleisten”, in: ArtProfil, Heft 1, 1997, S.19 – 20

,,MAK — Österreichisches Museum für Angewandte Kunst: Künstlerische Interventionen”, in: ArtProfil, Heft 1,1996, S.42 – 44

„Framing in the Golden Age”, in: Apollo, June 1996, S.62 – 64

„Het Kunstig Kader, 500 Jaar Lijstenmakers”, mit Duco Wildeboer, in: Art + Value, Nr.1,1996, S.68-74

„Verheven boven het banale, de kunstenaarslijst in de 19de eeuw”, in: Kunstschrift, Nr. 2, 1995, S.22 – 29

„’In Perfect Harmony’: Picture + Frame, 1850 – 1920″, in: Journal of Museum Management and Curatorship, Nr.2, 1995, S. 197-205

„Schildcrij + Lijst”, in: Kunstwerk, Nr.2, 1995

„Kunst door kunst ornlijst. De presentatie van schilderijen”, in: Antiek, maart 1995

„In Perfect Harmony, Schilderij + lijst 1850-1920″, in: Van Gogh Bulletin, Nr. 1, 1995,S.3-7

„Franz von Stuck — de totaalkunstenaar en marketeer avant-la-lcttre exposeert in het Van Goghmuseum”, in: Art + Value, Nr. 3, 1995, S.67-71

In Perfect Harmony. Picture + Frame 1850 – 1920, Ausstellungskatalog Van Gogh Museum Amsterdam, Waanders Editors 1995: Ed. Eva Mendgen.

In Perfect Harmony. Bild und Rahmen 1859 – 1920, Ausstellungskatalog Van Gogh Museum Amsterdam, Waanders Verlag 1995: Hg. Eva Mendgen.

„In Perfect Harmony – Einleitung”, in: In Perfect Harmony. Bild + Rahmen 1850 – 1920, (Hrsg. / Redaktion Eva Mendgen) Waanders Verlag, Zwolle, 1995, 3. 9 – 10

„Glanzgold oder Patina — Bild und Rahmen im Werk von Franz von Lenbach und Arnold Böcklin”, in: In Perfect Harmony. Bild + Rahmen 1850 – 1920, Hrsg. Eva Mendgen, Waanders Verlag, Zwolle, 1995, S. 29 – 56

„James McNcill Whistler – „.. .carrying on the particular harmony throughout””, in: In Perfect Harmony. Bild + Rahmen 1850 – 1920, (Hrsg. Eva Mendgen) Waanders Verlag,
Zwolle, 1995, S.87-96

„Kunst oder Dekoration – Bild und Rahmen im Werk von Franz von Stuck und Gustav Klimt”, in : In Perfect Harmony. Bild + Rahmen 1850 – 1920, (Hrsg. Eva Mendgen) Waanders Verlag, Zwolle, 1995, S.97 – 128

Franz von Stuck – ein Fürst im Reich der Kunst, Benedikt Taschen Verlag, Köln, 1994

Franz von Stuck – Prince of Art, Benedikt Taschen Verlag, Köln, 1994

Franz von Stuck – Un prince au royaume de 1’art, Benedikt Taschen Verlag, Köln, 1994

„Gold, Rot, Gelb und Weiß: Die Bildpräsentation im Konflikt zwischen Akademie und Sezession”, in Zeitschrift für Kunsttechnologic und Konservierung, Jg. 7, 1993, S.379 – 387

„Künstler rahmen ihre Bilder: Zur Bedeutung von Original- und Künstlerrahmen”, in: Der Kunsthandel, Heft 4, 1992, S.12 – 15

„ Der Bilderrahmen im Kontext von Zentrum und Peripherie”, in: Der Kunsthandel, Heft 1, 1992, S.40 – 42

Künstler rahmen ihre Bilder-Rahmungskonzepte zwischen Akademie und Sezession (Inauguraldissertation), Hartung-Gorre Verlag, Konstanz 1992 (1.+2. Aufl.1992)

„The History of the Picture Frames”, in: Der Kunsthandel / Journal for Pictures and Frames Europe, S.36 – 41, Sonderausgabe Frankfurter Kunstmesse, 1991

„Wilhelm Knoll”, in: 125 Jahre Knoll — vier Generationen Sitzmöbel-Design, (Hrsg. Institut für Möbelkunde, Staatliche Akademie der Bildenden Künste Stuttgart), Verlag Karl Krämer Stuttgart und Zürich, 1990

„Daniel Burens Rahmenkonzeption”, in: Der Kunsthandel, Heft 10, 1990, S.24 -29

„Rahmen im Chicago Art Institute”, in: Der Kunsthandel, Heft 10, 1990, S.30 -37

„Bild und Rahmen im 19. Jahrhundert – Massenproduktion und Künstlerrahmen”, in: Der Kunsthandel, Heft 8, 1989, S.84 -94

„Betrachtung zum Thema „Bilderrahmen” in der zweiten Hälfte des 19, Jahrhunderts“, in: Das 19. Jahrhundert und die Restaurierung, Beiträge zur Malerei, Maltechnik und Konservierung, (Hrsg. Heinz Althöfer), München, 1987, S. 88 – 9.3