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picture frame conservation_Original_Article

Picture frame conservation

Marjan de Visser restoration studio specializes in the restoration of paintings. Unfortunately, we are NOT specialized in frame restoration. But when a painting with a frame comes into the studio, we certainly assess both. After all, they belong together. That is why we also discuss the list with the client in the restoration plan. And if the list also needs treatment, we assess how and who carries it out. Small restorations are possible in our workshop. However, with serious treatments, a frame restorer and/or wood restorer will be asked to carry out this for us. We work together with Brigitte Taal, Aldo Manzo, Tamara Venema en Josien van der Werf.

The topics are: the duo frame & painting; cleaning painting frame; restore ornaments list; Handmade frame by Brigitte Taal; restoration of moldings and climate moldings

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The duo frame and painting

There are many good examples of a beautiful duo frame & painting. Especially from artists who make frames for the paintings themselves. A good example is artist  Dirk Smorenberg. He not only made the painting, but also a matching frame. Each list is unique.Picture frame conservation Dirk Smorenberg Other artists wanted a very simple list of their works. The Cobra painters and The Ploeg painters for example.

picture frame conservation Jan Altink picture frame conservation Jan Altink

Clean the painting frame

The frames are often just as dirty as the paintings. That is why cleaning tests are carried out on both the frames and the paintings. Naturally, the finishing layers are completely different. So we take this into account in Restauratieatelier Marjan de Visser Sometimes frames from the 1930s but also in the 1970s were made with a chalk layer. For this, we have devised a nice technique and method for cleaning.

Picture frame conservation

before picture frame conservation

Picture frame conservation

after picture frame conservation

Picture frame conservation

picture frame conservation A short impression of how an intern from Sint Lucas College cleans a frame (December 2019).

Restore ornaments list

Ornament frames often show damage to the ornaments. Chipped pieces, worn finishes. These ornaments can be copied with another ornament. Because we make a mold from it and cast a new ornament. This piece can then be added and colored. Unfortunately, the small flowers on the frame of a painting by Raaphorst had broken off. Fortunately, we were able to place it back. The frame will thus form a beautiful whole with the restored painting.

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Clean list

It is wonderful to be able to clean a beautifully made frame from nicotine, dirt, insect secretion, soot. Of course, just as with paintings, the first research is done into the layers present. Because they must be preserved. With ‘The MCP’ we can not only clean paintings but also the frames. A beautiful example is this beautifully made ornamental frame with silver metal with a brown patina. The patina has been cleaned. Then the frame was put in beeswax.


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Handmade frame by Brigitte Taal

A customer wanted a white oak frame for a painting by Jannes de Vries. He had seen this frame at the Avant-Garde exhibition in Groningen about the Ploeg painters in the Groninger Museum. With the help of photos, wood, and furniture restorer Brigitte Taal has milled the desired shape from a solid piece of oak. Then she took the exact measurements of the painting and put the frame together. Finally, the frame is mounted around the artwork. A very accurate job. The customer was very satisfied and happy to make his wish come true.

handgemaakte lijst handgemaakte lijstRestoration of frames

Restoring a gold-plated frame is a specialist job. This requires knowledge of the structure of the layers. The conservator must also know whether it concerns a polymer or oil gilding. In addition, there are many different colors of gold for sale. Multiple types of carat gold leaf, or just hammered metal? Gilding with gold leaf is not for everyone. That is why we leave the restoration of gilded frames to the specialist. In 2017 a beautiful boy portrait came into the studio, with a gilded frame. This list had undergone many changes. She had been resized twice and had all kinds of fillers and overpaint on it. Josien van der Werf restored this lily frame for us and gilded the damaged spots again with Moon gold!

Microclimate picture frames 

Aldo Manzo provides microclimate picture frames  specialy for us. These frames have a completely closed interior. In this way, vulnerable objects remain better protected against climate changes. Think of transport. But also in areas where a stable climate cannot be guaranteed. For example, we have provided a climate list for a vulnerable panel for the Muiderslot. Even meters have been installed. Namely in the frame and just outside the frame on the wall. This way we can monitor climate changes. We do this with digital meters that work with an app on the phone. They are very small meters and the brand is called Sensor Push.

Picture frame conservation

microclimate frame

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