Courtly Frames in Munich

Posted in books, catalogues, exhibitions by Editor on January 26, 2010

From The Art Newspaper:

The Art of the Frame: Exploring the Holdings of the Alte Pinakothek
Alte Pinakothek, Munich, 28 January — 18 April 2010

Johann Christian Sperling, "Markgraf Karl Wilhelm Friedrich von Brandenburg-Ansbach as a 13-year-old Boy," 1726, frame by Cuvilliés, 1755

The Alte Pinakothek was a pioneer in exhibitions devoted to picture frames and framing when it showed Italian Frames from the 14th to the 18th Centuries in 1976. Now the museum resumes its investigations with this more closely focused exhibition that presents ‘court’ frames dating from between 1600 and 1850. In the baroque period, frames were made by cabinetmakers rather than woodcarvers or sculptors as was the case elsewhere.

The majority of frames were made of ebony or ebonised wood with wave and ripple ornaments referred to as flamm­leisten—flame moulding—al­lud­ing to the effect caused by the flickerings of candlelight on the broad, black surfaces. The most significant change came with the return of the Elector Maximilian II Emanuel from exile in the Netherlands and France in 1715, with his architect Joseph Effner. Vast, three-dimensional sculptural frames with a range of gold leaf were used for the display of ceremonial scenes, portraits and old masters.

Effner was succeeded as court architect by François de Cuvilliés, the central figure in Munich of the pan-German enthusiasm for the rococo, the taste for which lasted up to 1780 (shown here, Johann Christian Sperling, Markgraf Karl Wilhelm Friedrich von Brandenburg-Ansbach as a 13-year-old Boy, 1726; frame by Cuvilliés, 1755).

In 1779 Carl Albert von Lespilliez was commissioned to frame the Electoral picture collection in the Hofgarten Galerie which he did using the up-to-date neo-classical frame, with leaf, frieze, beading and scotia. The Napoleonic wars spelled the end of the craftsman-made frame along with other luxury items, and the Industrial Revolution ushered in the period of mass-produced products. . .

For the full article click here»

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As noted in a press release for the exhibition, there is an accompanying catalogue, edited by the show’s curator, Helge Siefert, Rahmenkunst: Auf Spurensuche in der Alten Pinakothek (Munich: Prestel, 2010), ISBN: 9783775726061

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