Lynn Roberts: Artist
& Picture Frame Historian






An international frame conference

was held at

New York University


the Brooklyn Museum of Art

in March 2004








From Classicism to Expressionism:

A Synthetic Approach to the Frame - A Conference

The modern picture frame was born in the Renaissance. Prior to that, "in the tradition of Byzantine icons the earliest Italian panel paintings were carved with their frames from single pieces of wood."

This third NYU frame conference examined the spectrum of frame design: the dialectical tendency to veer from ordered, symmetrical, classical and restrained forms to more exuberant, asymmetrically embellished, and dramatic expressions.

The conference was attended by Paul Levy, much to everyone's delight.

The subjects covered included the relationship of frame, architecture & landscape; the historical manufacture and gilding of frames; Auricular frames; Renaissance looking-glasses; Medici craftsmen; Spanish frames; C18 stamped French frames; the frame designs of Degas, Nolde, Kirchner & Die Bruke; early C20 German frames; Renaissance influence on American frames; Aesthetic designs; British frames; the designs of Childe Hassam, and other US artists; the Tradescant frames in the Ashmolean; C17-C18 architect-designed frames in Britain; the framing of modern American paintings.

An expanded review of the conference and some of the individual papers presented there can be read on the National Portrait Gallery website.
Lutma frame: Collection Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam


Evening events at The Hispanic Society of America, the Brooklyn Museum of Art, and the Dahesh Museum complemented the formal sessions which took place at New York University and at the Brooklyn Museum of Art.


Courtesy, Morris-Jumel Mansion


The speakers included:

Philippe Avila, frame scholar, restorer and conservator of gilded and polychrome works of art and Associate Restorer at The Hispanic Society of America

Hubert Baija, senior conservator of frames, Department of Paintings, Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam, The Netherlands

Jared Bark, founder of and principal, Bark Frameworks

Giovanni Bucchi, master gilder; owner of Ennio Restorations

Peter Cannon-Brookes, Curator of the Tabley Collection and late editor of Museum Management & Curatorship

Elizabeth Easton, chair, Department of European Painting and Sculpture, Brooklyn Museum of Art


Richard Ford, conservator of frames, National Gallery of Art (NGA), Washington

Tracy Gill, frame scholar and consultant to museums and private collectors, and co-owner of Gill & Lagodich Fine Period Frames & Restoration

Marco Grassi, conservator, consultant, and dealer in the field of fine arts, particularly European Old Master Paintings

Michael D. Hall, sculptor, educator collector, and critic, who formed a collection of American scene paintings with his wife Pat Glascock which comprises a singular study of 20th-century regionalist frames

Edgar Harden, frame and furniture consultant and authority on French frames

Susan Larkin, independent art historian, who contributed an essay on Childe Hassam’s framing choices to the catalogue of the Hassam exhibition to open at The Metropolitan Museum of Art (2004)

Nannette V. Maciejunes, executive director and chief curator, Columbus Museum of Art, Ohio


C19th frame: Courtesy, Brooklyn Museum of Art
Leaf frame: Courtesy, Museo degli Argenti, Pitti Palace, Florence

Eva Mendgen, frame authority and author In Perfect Harmony: Picture + Frame 1850-1920 (1995)

Marilena Mosco, director, Museo degli Argenti and of the Museo delle Porcellane, Pitti Palace, Florence

Tessa Murdoch, deputy keeper, Department of Sculpture, Metalwork, Ceramics and Glass, Victoria & Albert Museum

Lynn Roberts, art historian, whose publications include FRAMEWORKS and A History of European Picture Frames (both with P. Mitchell, 1996)

Franco Sabatelli, researcher, consultant and dealer of antique frames and author of La Cornice Italiana dal Rinascimento al Neoclassic

Suzanne Smeaton, gallery director, Eli Wilner & Co., has been involved in the study of antique frames and framing works of art for over 26 years

Jonathan Thornton, professor, Art Conservation Department, State University College at Buffalo

Bartholomew Voorsanger, FAIA, principal, Voorsanger & Associates Architects, P.C.



Lisa Koenigsberg, director, programs in the arts, New York University/SCPS, organized the conference and spoke on the frame as a work of art.