So much so that this was the first photo I took. I really loved the way the frames were neutral and unassuming and enabled eyes to focus purely on the painting.
|Oil paintings by Roger Dellar ROI|
red dots indicate two have sold
That's when I went round again - and this time I counted.
Now what follows is not scientific. Also, it of course takes no account of the quality of the painting or the reputation of the painter or why the paintings in question sold. Plus I didn't manage to track down every sale so I've got one or two gaps. It was also done relatively soon after the exhibition opened and there will be more sales by now.
However even I was surprised by the result.
Tomorrow I'll tell you about what I found about different types of frames while writing this post. You may well be very surprised!
First let me describe what I mean by my description of the frames - and what the results were of my count and analysis.
Different Types of Frames
I categorised the frames into four different categories
- traditional frames
- traditional with gilt
- contemporary wood
- contemporary painted
I counted frames which leaned towards traditional as contemporary if the profile was relatively simple and in all other respects conformed to the contemporary painted frame i.e. single colour which is NOT saying "look at me".
A complex profile for the frame which often uses liners. Very often it is typically more than one colour which may co-ordinate or contrast. This is the type of frame which, in the past, has been seen as the mark of 'proper painting'. I'd like to challenge that view and suggest that this perspective is now out of date and that the profile of the frame is no more than a fashion which has had its day - except in some contexts.
The only paintings which to my mind can carry traditional frames are very large ones - which need the weight of the frame. However a contemporary frame with weight would do the job equally well.
(PS I don't have a photo of a sold painting from this exhibition in this type of frame - I'll find one from another exhibition and include it here as an example)
Traditional with gilt
|Traditional Frame: complex profile includes gilt strip|
|Trad. Frame with complex profile|
plus double gilt strip
Gilt is associated with museums and auction rooms and people with lots of money - or so people think!
However if you go into any contemporary art gallery you would be hard pressed to find any gilt.
I came across some interesting examples of people trying to paint over gilt frames to try and make them look more interesting.
In one instance, somebody had taken metallic paint to try and knock back the 'gold' gilt look. I think maybe somebody had missed the point about needing to reduce the metal not increase it!
A wood frame that is clearly a wood frame.
It is usually treated i.e. it has been waxed or limed or stained - but is clearly wood (i.e. the grain shows through. It could be any profile so long as it was not overly complex.
|Contemporary: simple wood box frame|
|A wood frame which leans towards tradition|
but it has been stained one colour so it looks more contemporary
This tends to be the 'halfway house' adopted by some artists
who aren't sure what an art society might find acceptable
Painted wide flat frame
Simple painted narrow frame with liner
- both painted ivory/cream
(on £1,000+ Painting)
|Contemporary: Narrow painted frame|
painted white it disappears into the wall
and isolates the 'floated' painting
on the wall
The image at the top of this post provides an excellent example of this type of frame.
There is an enormous variation on 'simple' in terms of width and profile but the marked characteristic is that it draws attention to the painting rather than the frame. They tend not to use a spacer.
It's also a frame which can accommodate a painting which apparently floats.
Analysis: Types of frames on sold paintings by price range
So here are the results - followed by pictures of some of the different types of frames. The table below categorises sold paintings at the annual exhibition of the ROI on the afternoon of the 4th December into:
- type of frame
- range of sale price
Type of Frame
(complex / gilt)
(simple / wood or wood stain )
(simple profile / painted)
As you can see, contemporary painted frames come top in every price range and are top of the frames by a very long way.
- So what do you think about the results?
- Do you think the type of frame used helps to sell art?
- Will this make you think twice about what sort of frame you use in future?
A few more days to see the exhibition
The annual exhibition of the Royal Institute of Oil Painters continues until 1pm on Sunday 13th December at the Mall Galleries
Framing: more blog posts
- How to hang a painting - using mirror plates
- How to hang a large or heavy picture - using heavy duty hanging hardware
- How to hang a picture - using D Rings
- How much do you spend on exhibition frames on average? (Poll results)
Link: Roger Dellar's website is http://www.rogerdellar.com